Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 – Accountability Framework

Commitments and Accountability

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Introduction

The Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 reaffirms the government’s commitment to official languages. The new investments provided for in the Action Plan will contribute to achieving the short-, medium- and long-term objectives for strengthening Canada’s two official languages. In addition to existing programs, these investments bring the total permanent funding to $2.7 billion over five years (2018–2023).

This evidence-based and results-oriented framework describes the methods used to track the new initiatives in the 2018–2023 Action Plan, the related accountability and the reporting commitments.

The Action Plan in brief

On March 28, 2018, the Prime Minister of Canada unveiled a new Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 (Action Plan). Effective April 1, 2018, the Action Plan injects new federal investments totalling $410 million in many areas, including education in official language minority communities, second language learning, immigration, health care, early childhood and justice.

The Action Plan addresses, in a targeted manner, worrying trends in official languages that were brought to light in recent research. Language Projections for Canada, 2011 to 2036Footnote 1, noted a decline in the relative weight of Francophones across the country, particularly in Francophone minority communities (from 3.9% in 2011 to between 3% and 3.6% in 2036, compared with 6.1% in 1971). Moreover, the projected increase in French-English bilingualism in Canada will be largely attributable to Francophones in Quebec (from 43% in 2011 to approximately 52% in 2036), whereas bilingualism in Canada outside Quebec is expected to decrease from 9.8% in 2011 to between 8.9% and 9.2% in 2036.

Through these new investments of $410 million over five years, the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 supports 27 initiatives across seven departments and agencies, including 12 new activities and enhancements to 15 current activities.

Canadian Heritage, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Justice Canada and Statistics Canada will all contribute, through their efforts, to supporting the vitality of official language minority communities, encouraging immigration to minority communities, and promoting both of our official languages as well as second official language learning.

The $410 million in new investments is allocated as follows:

These new investments are in addition to the approximately $90 million over five years announced in 2017, predominantly dedicated to official language minority communities, as well as the permanent funding for the many existing programs launched through the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008–2013, the Roadmap for Official Languages 2013–2018 and the Action Plan for Official Languages 2003–2008, or those programs that were part of an existing base prior to 2003. This brings the federal government’s investment in official languages to a total of $2.7 billion over five years.

Tables 1 to 8 present the breakdown, by department and agency, of the new investments planned under the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023, while Appendix A provides a detailed list of the Government of Canada’s investments in official languages for the same period.

Table 1. Canadian Heritage – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 57.37
Enhancement of the Community Cultural Action Fund 11.16
Funding for Quebec English-speaking communities 5.28
Strengthening community media and radio 14.53
Support for community spaces – infrastructure 67.25
Strengthening strategic investment capacity 10.00
Support to Civic Community School Initiative 5.25
Recruitment of teachers for minority community schools 31.29
Mobile application for learning French and English as a second language 16.50
Enhanced support for Explore language bursaries 21.00
Enhanced support for Odyssey official-language monitors 17.50
Bursaries for post-secondary education in French as a second language 12.60
Recruitment of teachers for French immersion schools 31.29
Total 301.02
Table 2. Employment and Social Development Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 4.50
Support for early childhood development 20.00
Total 24.50
Table 3. Health Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 4.40
Enhancement of the Official Languages Health Contribution Program 12.50
Total 16.90
Table 4. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Francophone integration pathway 36.56
Cooperation and Accountability 4.20
Total 40.76
Table 5. Justice Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund 10.00
Core funding to justice organizations 3.75
Total 13.75
Table 6. Public Health Agency of Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Enhanced early childhood health promotion programming 10.00
Total 10.00
Table 7. Statistics Canada – New fundingFootnote 2
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional, continued support to the language statistics section 3.00
Total 3.00
Table 8. Total of new investments planned under the Action PlanFootnote 2
Total of new investments planned under the Action Plan 409.93

Reflection of stakeholder perspectives

The development of the Action Plan took into account Canadians’ perspectives and points of view. On June 17, 2016, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (then Minister of Canadian Heritage), launched cross-country consultations on official languages. These consultations were a first and important first step toward meeting one of the mandate commitments, namely, to develop a new multi-year action plan for official languages.

The consultations relied on a variety of methods and approaches, including a strong public component involving interested Canadians and stakeholders. Within that context, 22 round tables were held across the country from June to November 2016, bringing together 352 participants. Media representatives attended each event as observers, and six of the events were broadcast live on the Web.

An online questionnaire also provided all Canadians with an opportunity to express their views on official languages. When the questionnaire response period ended on December 8, 2016, 6,375 people had participated. In addition, Canadian Heritage received and analyzed more than 100 submissions from interested individuals and organizations.

On December 8, 2016, the Minister and her parliamentary secretary chaired a working day in Ottawa to present the initial findings of these consultations to the heads of networks of representative organizations working in minority communities and working to promote linguistic duality.

Implementation of the Action Plan following the March 28, 2018 announcement was based on collaboration with community stakeholders and other levels of government. From June 2018 to March 2019, a number of dialogue sessions were held to set the parameters for implementing approximately ten measures from the Action Plan. The “by and for” approach, which places communities at the heart of decision-making and the management of programs and initiatives essential to their development and vitality, was the key focus of these discussions.

An approach centred on achieving measurable objectives

The Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 explicitly aims to achieve measurable short-, medium- and long-term objectives, using evidence-based research and focusing on the vitality of official language minority communities and the bilingualism of Canadians.

Short term: The years 2018–2019 and 2019–2020 bring the initial results, namely, the launch and implementation of the Action Plan’s 27 activities (new or enhanced).

Medium term: In 2027, halfway between 2018 and 2036, federal institutions will take stock of their progress. Since the current Action Plan is a five-year plan, partners will be asked to complete an interim update on their progress by 2023 and be given the opportunity to adjust their focus as required.

Long term: The 2036 horizon for Statistics Canada’s demolinguistic projections will serve as the long-term baseline.

Thus, the 27 activities of the Action Plan collectively contribute to the following four long-term shared outcomes:

Data sources

The data used to measure the shared outcome and specific outcome indicators for the various activities will come from a variety of existing sources, including censuses, administrative data and annual reports.

In order to improve the data available to measure the medium- and long-term outcomes of the implementation of Canadian Heritage’s Official Languages Support Programs, for instance, the Official Languages Branch of Canadian Heritage will also conduct a longitudinal impact study of its programs on community development and linguistic duality promotion.

In addition, data associated with some of the indicators will be collected through

Table 9 presents, for the 27 activities of the Action Plan, the four shared outcomes as well as their indicators, targets and respective data sources.

Table 9. Shared Outcomes (long-term: 2036)
Shared Outcomes Performance Indicator(s) Target(s) Data Strategy

1. Francophones Outside Quebec

The relative weight of Francophones outside Quebec is restored and maintained over the long term

  • Percentage of Francophones outside Quebec (Census)
  • Restore from 3.8% to 4% and maintain at 4% by 2036
  • Census data (every five years)

2. English-Speakers In Quebec

The vitality of English-speaking communities in Quebec, particularly in the regions, is supported

  • Percentage of English-speakers in Quebec who report that, in the last five years, they have seen an improvement in access to services offered in their language in their communityFootnote 3
  • Baseline and target to be established in 2020 following the release of the first edition of the survey of official language minority communities, conducted in 2019Footnote 3
  • Data from the survey of official language minority communities conducted by Canadian Heritage (every five years)

3. Bilingualism

The rate of bilingualism of English-speakers outside Quebec has increased

  • Rate of bilingualism of English-speakers outside Quebec (Census)
  • 6.8% to 9% by 2036
  • Census data (every five years)

4. Research

The official languages research capacity of the federal public service is stronger

  • Through the following objective: Statistics Canada produces more analytical documents and articles on official languages and those who use them, as well as on official language minorities in Canada.
  • Number of initiatives (statistical information products and research activities).
  • Number of products consulted on the website.
  • Satisfaction of clients regarding the statistical information produced and consulting services provided.
  • 22 initiatives each year (compared to 10 in 2017−2018).
  • Baselines and targets will need to be elaborated further, both for the number of consultations and for satisfaction.
  • Number of initiatives annually
  • Number of Web visits
  • Client survey

The following diagram of outcomes illustrates the connections between the three outcome levels.

Figure 1. Diagram of Outcomes from the Action Plan 2018-2023

Description of Figure 1. Diagram of Outcomes from the Action Plan 2018-2023
  • In the short term, support for immigration will contribute to immigration and thus strengthen Francophone communities outside Quebec. In the medium term, immigration will contribute to Outcome 1, which aims to ensure that the relative weight of Francophones outside Quebec is restored and maintained in the long term.
  • In the short term, support for early learning and childcare, as well as support for access to minority-language education, will contribute to the transmission of the language, thus ensuring that Francophone communities outside Quebec are better equipped to transmit their language to their children. In the medium term, the transmission of the language will contribute to Outcome 1, which aims to ensure that the relative weight of Francophones outside Quebec is restored and maintained in the long term.
  • In the short term, support for access to justice, support for access to health services, support for communities to be heard, and support for culture and community gathering places will contribute to increase the ability of official language minorities to live in their language in their communities, and thus to retention. In the medium term, retention will contribute to Outcome 1, which aims to ensure that the relative weight of Francophones outside Quebec is restored and maintained in the long term, as well as to Outcome 2, which aims to ensure that the vitality of Quebec's English-speaking communities, particularly in the regions, is sustained in the long term.
  • In the short term, an online tool, support for youth and support for second-language learning will help ensure that English-speaking Canadians outside Quebec have greater access to opportunities to learn and improve their French. In the medium term, greater access to opportunities to learn and improve French will contribute to Outcome 3, which aims to increase the rate of bilingualism among English-speaking Canadians outside Quebec.
  • In the short term, support to Statistics Canada's language statistics section will help Statistics Canada produce a greater number of articles and analytical papers on official languages and those who use them, as well as on official language minorities in Canada. In the medium term, an increased number of articles and analytical papers will contribute to Outcome 4, which aims to strengthen the official languages research capacity of the public service.

Government action that contributes to complex social change

Each of the long-term outcomes is the result of a complex interplay of factors, most of which are beyond the control of the federal government. The Action Plan activities contribute to these outcomes, but are but one of many variables affecting their long-term achievement.

The relative weight of the Francophone population outside Quebec, for example, depends not only on Francophone immigration, the retention of Francophones in official language minority communities and the intergenerational transmission of French, but also on factors such as the relative growth of the English-speaking population and the economic factors affecting national immigration rates and interprovincial migration rates. These latter factors, however, fall outside the scope of the Action Plan.

The complex interplay of factors external to the Action Plan highlights the challenge of measuring its impacts. Government action in the area of official languages is intended to contribute to the desired social changes as a whole. Under no circumstances can government action claim sole responsibility for achieving the social goals expressed here as long-term outcomes. The adoption of a contribution logic for the activities of the Action Plan is therefore necessary: it situates government action not only in the social context resulting from the interplay of multiple factors, but also in light of individual choices.

Lastly, it may be difficult to distinguish the specific outcomes of the Action Plan from other official languages activities carried out by the federal government. However, each of the activities included in the overall government action is evaluated regularly, and these activities are being improved continuously to increase their effectiveness.

Governance structure of the Action Plan

Canadian Heritage is responsible for the interdepartmental coordination of the Action Plan.

Under Part VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act), Canadian Heritage, in consultation with other federal institutions, is responsible for encouraging and promoting a coordinated approach to the implementation of commitments regarding the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities and fostering the full recognition of both English and French.

Canadian Heritage is also responsible for the interdepartmental coordination of official languages, taking on a role in strategic monitoring and the development and coordination of the government’s five-year official languages strategies, such as the Action Plan.

A number of existing structures, including the Committee of Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages (CADMOL) and the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions, support interdepartmental coordination efforts.

CADMOL, which brings together representatives of a number of federal institutions, has a mandate to support and monitor the development of official languages programs and policies. Like the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions, CADMOL contributes to fostering coordinated government action on official languages and related outcomes for Canadians. CADMOL focuses its leadership on three main priorities: the language of work in the federal public service, the five-year federal strategies on official languages (the current Action Plan) and the management of other issues of interest in relation to the Act. CADMOL has tasked the Steering Committee on Federal Horizontal Strategies with monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan. This committee, made up of the directors general responsible for Action Plan initiatives, meets regularly and reports to CADMOL on the implementation of the Action Plan.

Monitoring and reporting

Although the reporting commitments set out in the 2018–2023 Action Plan are based on broader objectives, annual reporting on the government’s current actions in relation to official languages will continue. This exercise will rest on three mechanisms:

This annual reporting, included in the Annual Report on Official Languages and on the Canadian Heritage website, will enable the Department, which coordinates the implementation of the five-year strategies and the commitments declared in Part VII of the Act, to account for this ongoing funding. The follow-ups to the 2018–2023 Action Plan are in addition to a reporting practice well established since 2013, through which the results achieved by federal institutions and the best practices for implementing commitments to support minority communities and promote English and French will continue to be reflected in the Canadian Heritage Annual Report on Official Languages.

In addition to tracking the objectives and targets of the Action Plan, Canadian Heritage will report annually on the total investments in official languages, specifically, $2.7 billion over five years.

Likewise, all federal institutions that have official languages programs and initiatives will continue to be accountable through their reporting tools and mechanisms, including their departmental results reports and program evaluations.Footnote 5

These practices will make it possible for Canadians to track all government actions in official languages and assess their results.

Horizontal evaluation of the Action Plan

In addition to the reporting mechanisms described in the previous section, the Action Plan will be subject to a horizontal evaluation conducted by the Evaluation Services Directorate (ESD) of Canadian Heritage, in compliance with the Treasury Board Policy on Results.Footnote 5 The evaluation is anticipated in 2021–2022.

The horizontal evaluation will measure the general relevance and overall performance of Action Plan initiatives and provide decision-makers with findings and recommendations that are useful in their review of the relevance and terms of a future federal strategy on official languages, beyond 2022–2023. This exercise will benefit the deputy heads of Action Plan partner departments and agencies, CADMOL and, ultimately, the decision-makers. Once completed, the horizontal evaluation will be published on the Canadian Heritage website.Footnote 6

Accountability of Action Plan partners and all federal institutions

All federal institutions, regardless of whether they are Action Plan partners, have responsibilities and must take measures to comply with the various provisions of the Act. The Action Plan in no way changes the official languages obligations and responsibilities of the government and federal institutions. On the contrary, it seeks to further promote official languages, without, however, changing the obligation of each federal institution to take positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities in Canada and to support and assist their development in accordance with Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

All federal institutions, including Action Plan partners, must take into account their official languages obligations in developing and implementing their policies and programs and, ultimately, must promote official languages. Furthermore, each Action Plan partner institution is responsible for the implementation of its activities, the performance measurement strategy associated with those activities, and the achievement of the expected outcomes.

Appendix A: Government of Canada Investments In Official Languages 2018-2023Footnote 7

Table 10. Canadian Heritage, Development of Official-Language Minority Communities Program – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Minority-language education (federal-provincial-territorial agreements) 805.10
Cooperation with the non-governmental sector (minority-language organizations) 8.75
Intergovernmental Cooperation on Minority-Languages Services (federal-provincial-territorial agreements) 81.00
Cooperation with the community sector (minority-language organizations) 159.50
Strategic funds 22.50
Community Cultural Action Fund 10.00
Total 1086.85
Table 11. Canadian Heritage, Development of Official-Language Minority Communities Program – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 57.37
Enhancement of the Community Cultural Action Fund 11.16
Funding for Quebec English-speaking communities 5.28
Strengthening community media and radio 14.53
Support for community spaces – infrastructure 67.25
Strengthening strategic investment capacity 10.00
Support to Civic Community School Initiative 5.25
Recruitment of teachers for minority community schools 31.29
Enhanced support for French-language services in the territories (2017) 60.00
Support for educational community infrastructure ($80 million over 10 years) (2017) 28.00
Total 290.13
Table 12. Canadian Heritage, Enhancement of Official Languages Program – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Support for second-language learning (federal-provincial-territorial agreements) 448.00
Cooperation with the non-governmental sector (second-language organizations) 4.85
Summer language bursaries (Explore, Destination Clic) 84.50
Official-language monitors (Odyssey) 35.50
Promotion of linguistic duality (appreciation and rapprochement) 18.50
Promotion of bilingual services in the voluntary sector 1.10
Support for interpretation and translation 2.50
Young Canada Works in Both Official Languages 18.63
Total 613.58
Table 13. Canadian Heritage, Enhancement of Official Languages Program – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Mobile application for learning French and English as a second language 16.50
Enhanced support for Explore language bursaries 21.00
Enhanced support for Odyssey official-language monitors 17.50
Bursaries for post-secondary education in French as a second language 12.60
Recruitment of teachers for French immersion schools 31.29
Additional support for Young Canada Works in Both Official Languages (2017) 1.20
Total 100.09
Table 14. Canadian Heritage, other programs – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Exchanges Canada (official-language initiative) 11.25
Music Showcases Program for Artists from official-language minority communities 5.75
National Translation Program for Book Publishing 4.00
Total 21.00
Table 15. Employment and Social Development Canada – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Social Partnership Initiative in official-language minority communities (OLMCs) 4.00
OLMC Literacy and Essential Skills Initiative 7.50
Enabling fund for OLMCs (employability and economic development) 69.00
Total 80.50
Table 16. Employment and Social Development Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 4.50
Support for early childhood development 20.00
Total 24.50
Table 17. Health Canada – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Official Languages Health Contribution Program (Networks, Training and Access to Health Services) 174.30
Total 174.30
Table 18. Health Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for community organizations 4.40
Enhancement of the Official Languages Health Contribution Program 12.50
Total 16.90
Table 19. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Immigration to official-language minority communities 29.50
Total 29.50
Table 20. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Francophone integration pathway 36.56
Cooperation and Accountability 4.20
Total 40.76
Table 21. Justice Canada – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Networks, Training and Access to Justice Services 40.20
Contraventions Act Fund 49.60
Total 89.80
Table 22. Justice Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional funding for Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund 10.00
Core funding to justice organizations 3.75
Total 13.75
Table 23. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (coordination) 1.60
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 6.20
Canada Economic Development For Quebec Regions 10.20
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) 0.40
Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario 4.45
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario 4.45
Western Economic Diversification Canada 3.20
Total 30.50
Table 24. Public Health Agency of Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Enhanced early childhood health promotion programming 10.00
Total 10.00
Table 25. Canada Council for the Arts – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Market Access Strategy for Artists from official-language minority communities 2.75
Total 2.75
Table 26. National Research Council – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Strengthening language industries and technologies 10.00
Total 10.00
Table 27. Public Services and Procurement Canada (Translation Bureau) – Current funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Language Portal of Canada 16.00
Total 16.00
Table 28. Statistics Canada – New funding
Name of program/initiative Total funding 2018-2023 (million dollars)
Additional, continued support to the language statistics section 3.00
Total 3.00
Table 29. Total – Government Programs and Initiatives Promoting Official Languages
Total – Government programs and initiatives promoting official languages 2653.91

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2020

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