Key questions to facilitate decision-making that may impact on the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act
Federal institutions are called upon to make many strategic decisions concerning, for example:
- the adoption or revision of a policy
- the creation or abolition of a program
- the establishment or elimination of a point of service
But what impact could these decisions have on the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act, that is, on their obligation to official language minority communities and on the advancement of English and French in Canadian society?
The following are some key questions for federal institutions to consider when making such decisions.
Notice to readers
This tool is one of the administrative tools proposed to federal institutions by the Department of Canadian Heritage to promote and encourage concrete positive measures.
This tool suggests an approach and presents good practices that go beyond what is prescribed by section 41 of the Official Languages Act.
For any questions regarding the legal scope and interpretation of Part VII of the Official Languages Act, federal institutions may contact the Department of Justice.
All federal institutions
- To determine impacts on official language minority communities and the promotion of English and French, from the initial development of policies through to their implementation, including the devolution of services.
- To consult interested parties as required, especially representatives of official language minority communities.
- To describe the actions and demonstrate that your institution has taken into consideration the needs of these communities or the requirements for promotion of both official languages.
- If there are impacts, to plan activities accordingly, prepare results evaluation mechanisms and present expected results.
Strategic planning and development of policies and programs
- At first glance, what impacts could the initiative have on official language minority communities, and on fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society?
- How do you validate this assessment?
- Should research activities be undertaken?
- Should official language minority communities be consulted?
- Does the initiative reflect the results of the research and consultations undertaken?
- Do the implementation principles take the impacts into account?
- In case of a negative impact, are disadvantages corrected?
- Have the expected results and performance measurement indicators been identified?
- Are the selected approaches well described and documented?
Implementation of policies and programs
- Does the initiative ensure that obligations regarding official language minority communities and the promotion of both official languages are taken into account during the whole process of its implementation?
- For example, by maintaining contact with these communities?
- Will the initiative involve a third party?
- If yes, what actions are taken to ensure the third party's commitment to foster the development of official language minority communities and the promotion of both official languages?
- What are the immediate, intermediate and final results obtained concerning the implementation of the federal commitment towards the development of official language minority communities and the promotion of both official languages?
- Does the evaluation reveal that adjustments are necessary?
- Are existing mechanisms concerning the measurement of results and accountability satisfactory?
- Do the strategies and communication plans take official language minority communities into account?
- What communication tools are used to communicate with these communities?
- Among others, are existing media in the language of minority communities being used?
- Part VII: Advancement of English and French – Official Languages Act
- Guide on Part VII of the Official Languages Act: Support to communities and promotion of English and French
- Reflection tool for the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act
- Canadian Heritage's annual reports on official languages
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2019
Catalogue Number: CH14-44/2019E-PDF, ISSN: 978-0-660-32299-z
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