DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Abbreviations
  3. Policy Direction
  4. Consequences
  5. Authorities
  6. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1998-01-30

Date of Last Modification: 2024-02-13

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession: CFAO 2-15, Official Languages

Approval Authorities:

Enquiries: Director Official Languages (DOL)

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2. Abbreviations

Abbreviation Complete Word or Phrase


Chief of the Defence Staff


Canadian Heritage


Deputy Minister

L1 level one advisor
OL official language
OLA Official Languages Act
TB Treasury Board

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3. Policy Direction


3.1 The OLA provides that English and French are the OLs of Canada and confirms their equal status within federal institutions.

3.2 TB has responsibility under the OLA for the general direction and coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada relating to specific Parts of the OLA. CH has a specific mandate under the OLA to take appropriate measures to advance the equality of English and French in Canadian society. TB and CH policies and directives are the primary sources for the DND and CAF Official Languages Program (OL Program), which consists of a strategy and action plan to implement the OLA. The goal of the DND and CAF OL Program is to contribute to a healthy and productive workforce in the DND and the CAF that represents and respects the core Canadian value of linguistic duality.

3.3 The OLA applies to the DND and the CAF. While all TB OL policies and directives apply to the DND and other federal institutions for which TB is the employer, this does not include the CAF. It is therefore necessary to provide additional OL policies and instructions in respect of the CAF.

Policy Statement

3.4 To facilitate compliance with the OLA and ensure its effective implementation, the DND and the CAF are committed to fulfilling OL obligations in accordance with the regulations, policies and directives of TB and CH. As a best practice and whenever operational imperatives permit, the CAF will conform to TB OL policies and directives that do not explicitly apply to the CAF. Additional policies and instructions must be issued as necessary for CAF members and their families.


3.5 Based upon the OLA and TB and CH policies and directives, the DND and the CAF must ensure that:

  1. the public can communicate with and receive services from the DND and the CAF in either OL, where such an obligation exists;
  2. the work environment, in bilingual organizations and units, is conducive to the effective use of both OLs and accommodates the use of either OL. This affects senior management, supervision, meetings, correspondence and work instruments, and the provision of personal services, central services, training and professional development;
  3. English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians have equal opportunities for employment and career advancement within the DND and the CAF;
  4. the DND and the CAF workforce tends to reflect the existence of the two OL communities in Canada;
  5. the vitality of official language minority communities is promoted by supporting their development;
  6. the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society is fostered; and
  7. the language requirements of all DND and CAF positions are determined objectively based on the functions to be performed.

Note – For purposes of this DAOD, and consistent with the Treasury Board Policy on Official Languages, “personal services” are services that affect a DND employee or a CAF member on a personal level, such as pay and benefits, personal development, performance appraisal, career counselling and career management services. Similarly, “central services” are services that are essential for a DND employee or a CAF member to perform their duties, such as services in respect of information systems and transportation.

3.6 In addition, the DND and the CAF must ensure that:

  1. CAF members receive personal services and can submit grievances in the OL of their choice, irrespective of the language of work (i.e. the language designation) of the unit or other element in which they work; and
  2. CAF family members receive specified services in accordance with DAOD 5044-1, Families, in the OL of their choice, irrespective of the language of work of the unit or other element of the CAF member.

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4. Consequences


4.1 Should clarification of the policy statement, requirements or authorities set out in this DAOD be required, DND employees and CAF members may seek direction through their channel of communication or chain of command, as appropriate. The anticipated results set out in the policy statement may not be achieved by the DND and the CAF if the requirements specified in this DAOD are not properly implemented. Not achieving the anticipated results could affect the ability of the DND and the CAF to ensure that the CAF is prepared to undertake missions for the protection of Canada and Canadians and the maintenance of international peace and stability.

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5. Authorities

Authority Table

5.1 The following table identifies the authorities associated with this DAOD:

The …
has or have the authority to …

DM and the CDS

  • approve the strategy and action plan that establish the DND and CAF OL Program; and
  • approve annual reports to Parliament, TB and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages on DND and CAF OL performance.

CPCC and ADM(HR-Civ)

  • issue OL policies, instructions and directives; and
  • govern the implementation of the DND and CAF OL Program.


  • implement the DND and CAF OL Program within their respective organizations.
  • develop OL policies, instructions and directives, and the strategy and action plan that establish the DND and CAF OL Program;
  • liaise with external agencies regarding DND and CAF OL responsibilities;
  • monitor the DND and CAF OL Program and the OL obligations of the DND and the CAF;
  • measure compliance with targets established by the DND and the CAF in respect of the OLA, TB policies and directives, and CH guidance;
  • advise L1s on OL performance shortfalls;
  • lead the corporate OL awareness program;
  • oversee the OL complaints process; and
  • investigate and determine the validity of internal OL complaints.
managers and commanding officers
  • implement the DND and CAF OL Program within their respective organizations and units.

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6. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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