Annual Report on Official Languages 2020–21

Table of contents

Message from the President of the Treasury Board

The Honourable Mona Fortier

The Honourable Mona Fortier
President of the Treasury Board

I am pleased to present the 33rd Annual Report on Official Languages for fiscal year 2020-21. This report describes the measures that federal institutions have taken to meet their obligations to serve the public in English and French, and to strengthen their use as the languages of work in the federal public administration.

Along with Indigenous languages, English and French are at the heart of Canada's history and identity. Official languages reinforce the values of diversity and inclusion and contribute to our social cohesion and resilience. However, Canadians expect us to do more to strengthen French across the country and to ensure the continued vitality of official language minority communities. The Official Languages Act came into effect over 50 years ago and it has been more than 30 years since its last major reform. Our world has changed dramatically since that time. Social media has emerged as a powerful force impacting language and culture. Immigration has accelerated, making Canada more dynamic and diverse, but we need to do more to ensure immigration also benefits francophone minority communities. To respond to these new realities, the government tabled the bill for the substantive equality of Canada’s official languages last March. The bill proposes a number of significant improvements to modernize the Official Languages Act, ensuring it continues to serve Canadians in the 21st century.

This annual report also identifies where federal institutions can do better. The federal government must be exemplary in its use of English and French, both in its communications with the public and within its institutions. To ensure this, I have asked my officials to implement the administrative measures described in the document “English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada”. These measures will help strengthen linguistic duality within federal institutions, enhancing service delivery to citizens in the official language of their choice, and improving accountability for the performance of institutions as to their compliance with the Official Languages Act.

I invite you to read this report to learn how federal institutions are delivering on their responsibilities and putting into practice the government’s commitment to Canada’s official languages.

Original signed by:
The Honourable Mona Fortier
President of the Treasury Board

Introduction

The Official Languages Act (the Act) states that the Treasury Board is responsible for the general direction and coordination of the policies and programs relating to the implementation of Parts IV, V and VI of the Act in federal institutions. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS), is responsible for establishing and assessing the extent to which these policies and programs were applied and what impacts they have had.

Concretely, TBS assists some 200 federal institutions (meaning institutions in the core public administration, Crown corporations, privatized organizations, separate agencies and public institutions subject to the Act) in meeting their linguistic obligations.

These obligations fall into four main categories. Both under normal and emergency situations, federal institutions must:

  1. serve members of the public and communicate with them in both official languages
  2. establish a bilingual workplace in regions designated bilingual
  3. contribute to maintaining a public service whose workforce tends to reflect Canada’s demographic composition in terms of official languages
  4. ensure that official languages issues are suitably managed

This 33rd Annual Report describes the extent to which federal institutions have been successful in meeting the above-mentioned objectives over the past three years, including the 2020–21 fiscal year. This report also provides examples of the activities that institutions have undertaken to meet their responsibilities in the area of bilingualism.

To conduct its analysis, TBS requires federal institutions to submit an official languages review at least once every three years.Footnote 1 In order to cover all institutions subject to the Act, TBS took into account the results of the most recent reviews that federal institutions provided to TBS for fiscal years 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 (Appendix A of this report presents the specific methodology used to conduct this analysis).

The data presented in this report, unlike those presented in previous reports, cover a three-year cycle and all federal institutions, rather than a single fiscal year (for example, 2020–21) and only those institutions required to submit a review in that year. In some cases,Footnote 2 the data can be compared with the data gathered by TBS for the 2015–18 cycle to determine whether a particular situation (such as the use of both official languages in meetings in federal institutions) has improved, remained stable or deteriorated.

TBS’s analysis of the last cycle’s reviews has led to a number of findings. As can be seen in Chapter 1, which deals with communications with and services to the public, two issues are among those that institutions should seek to address most vigorously in the years to come:

  • active offer in person
  • in contracts and agreements with third parties acting on behalf of an institution, the inclusion of clauses that clearly set out the language requirements that the third parties must comply with (for example, the screening officers at boarding areas in the airports are subcontractors of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority)

Chapter 2 shows that federal institutions focus on actions that will promote, within bilingual regions, a work environment that is truly conducive to the use of English and French. In particular, greater leadership is required to make federal employees feel comfortable using the language of their choice when writing or attending meetings. In a slightly different vein, institutions should focus on developing the second language skills that their employees would like to achieve.

Chapter 3 deals with Francophone and Anglophone representation in the federal public service. Here, we can conclude that the federal workforce, as a whole, accurately reflects the linguistic composition of the Canadian population, particularly because of the targeted actions taken by many institutions.

Chapter 4, which deals with official languages governance, highlights the need for institutions to use the tools available to them to make sure that the language designation of positions is appropriately identified.

Chapter 5 shows that more organizations would benefit from taking official languages into account when developing plans for emergency or crisis situations.

Finally, Chapter 6 describes some of the measures taken in 2020–21 by TBS to promote overall compliance with the Act across the federal system.

Chapter 1: Communications with and services to the public

In this section
Text version below:
Text version below:
Figure - Text version

Proportion of designated bilingual offices and service points across all institutions: 34.5%, a trend on the rise

Within the core public administration, 42% of positions are assigned to service the public in both official languages, a trend on the rise

97% of incumbents meet the language requirements of their position, a trend on the rise

Within other institutions subject to the Act, 33% of positions are assigned to serve the public in both official languages, a trend on the decline

Percentage of institution which indicated they “nearly always“ apply established best practices in their designated bilingual offices:

Oral communications occur in the official language chosen by the public: this cycle, 87%; previous cycle, 87%

Written communications occur in the official language chosen by the public: this cycle, 91%; previous cycle, 93%

The public is greeted in its official language of choice: this cycle, 83%; previous cycle, 79%

The English and French versions of websites are simultaneously posted in full and are of equal quality: this cycle, 93%; previous cycle, 84%

All communications material is produced and distributed simultaneously and in full in both official languages: this cycle 83%; previous cycle, 83%

The public is served in both official languages by phone, including voicemail message: this year: 84%

The public is served in the language of its choice through end-to-end automated service transactions: this year, 90%

Contracts and agreements with third parties contain clauses setting out the office’s or facility’s linguistic obligations with which the third parties must comply: this cycle, 76%; previous cycle, 75%

The institution respects the principle of substantive equality in its communications and services to the public, as well as in the development and assessment of policies and programs: 78%

1.1. Offices and service locations

The network of public offices and service locations operated by the federal government spans all provinces and territories, and extends to Canadian offices internationally. This network provides service in person; over the telephone; aboard aircraft, ferries and trains; and through interactive kiosks.

As of March 31, 2021, institutions had 11,164 offices and service locations,Footnote 3 of which 3,847 (34.5%) were required to provide services to and communicate with the public in both official languages (see Appendix F for a map of the network of offices and service locations).

1.2 Oral and written communications

As shown in Figure 1, 91% and 87% of institutions, respectively, said in their last review that when communicating with the public in writing (particularly through press releases and public notices) or orally (at press conferences, in public speeches, in videos), they do so “nearly always“ in the official language chosen by the public.

Figure 1: Proportion of federal institutions that report nearly always applying best practice in communications with the public, 2018–21
Proportion of federal institutions that report nearly always applying best practice in communications with the public, 2018–21. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

Written communications with the public in the official language of its choice: 91%; oral communications with the public in the official language of its choice: 87%; in-person active offer: 83%; active offer by telephone: 84%; active offer by voicemail: 90%, with a target of 90%

Although federal institutions meet the target set by TBS for written communications,Footnote 4 they miss the target for oral communications by three percentage points, as they did in the 2015–‍18 cycle.

Showcasing best practice

This document contains passages highlighted to showcase best practices that all federal institutions should seek to emulate.

Best practice

The Bank of Canada is one of the institutions that indicated that they communicated with the public “nearly always“ in the official language of its choice. Key speeches by Bank officials are made in both official languages, and any observer is invited to speak in English or French. The Bank also receives requests from organizations that wish to invite the Bank to make a speech. Bank officials then give their speech in the language chosen by the host organization while ensuring to include content in the other official language. Speeches made in public by the Bank’s spokespersons are available on the Web in English and French.

Best practice

Public Safety Canada receives over 4,500 media and public inquiries annually. All responses from the institution are provided in the official language in which the inquiry was made unless the inquirer instructed otherwise.

The above results are largely explained by the fact that federal institutions have the ability to provide services in both languages. As of March 31, 2021, 45,830 (41.1%) of the 111,542 incumbents of positions that provided service to the public in the core public administration were required to offer services in both English and French. Of these 45,830 incumbents, 96.9% met the language requirements of their position. A similar situation existed in institutions subject to the Act that are not part of the core public administration. Accordingly, 21,763 employees out of the 66,076 (32.9%) that provided service to the public were able to do so in both official languages in the offices of these institutions.Footnote 5

1.3 Active offer

In bilingual offices, federal institutions are required to take measures to ensure an active offer of services to the public in both official languages. According to the Policy on Official Languages, active offer means to “clearly indicate visually and verbally that members of the public can communicate with and obtain services from a designated office in either English or French.“ It is important for institutions and their staff to practise the active offer, as research has shown that it strongly encouragesFootnote 6 the public to use their own official language when communicating with or seeking services from the government.

Among all institutions that have submitted a review in the past three years, 83% indicate that they nearly always take appropriate measures to use both official languages to greet members of the public who visit their offices in person, an increase of four percentage points since 2015–‍18 (Figure 1).

The telephone is the preferred means for many citizens to contact federal institutions. Reviews gathered by TBS for the 2020–21 fiscal year show that 84% of federal institutions nearly always practise active offer over the telephone, including in their recorded messages. Lastly, reviews now take into account the fact that citizens can sometimes get the information or federal services they are seeking without human interaction. According to the reviews, 90% of federal institutions nearly always implement measures so that the active offer is provided on the digital devices they use.Footnote 7

Some federal institutions react quickly when they realize that their staff are not practising the active offer the way they should.

Best practice

For example, during the pandemic, Transport Canada was informed that some of the French‑language greetings from its toll-free automated line were unsuitable. The Department reported in its 2020–21 review that, once it was notified of the problem, the team responsible made sure to fix it.

1.4 Outreach

Over time, the Web has become the primary means of outreach used by federal institutions. Federal institutions’ websites, like www.canada.ca, must be consistently accessible in both official languages.

This is currently the case for most federal websites. In fact, 93% of institutions indicated in their last review that the English and French content on their website is nearly always posted simultaneously (there is no significant time lag between the time the French and English versions are posted online) and published in full (for example, the French version is not a mere summary of the English version). This is a major leap of nine percentage points since the 2015–18 cycle.

Best practice

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are among the institutions that are taking strong action to ensure linguistic duality on the Web. The publishing software of these institutions is designed to ensure that only webpages containing both English and French content can be posted on www.canada.ca. Moreover, a number of their organizational units have robust translation and editing processes in place to ensure that English and French content is of equal quality. The Agency also continuously monitors the online dissemination practises of its various branches.

While the Web is becoming increasingly important in our society, it is still important that federal institutions continue to communicate effectively with citizens through other means. In this regard, 83% of institutions stated in their latest review that communication materialsFootnote 8 released from their designated bilingual offices are nearly always produced and disseminated simultaneously and in full in both English and French.Footnote 9

Best practice

Institutions that claimed to follow this practice include the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (Elections Canada). Elections Canada’s plans and strategies include measures to ensure that its communications materials are disseminated in both official languages in full and simultaneously. During an election, Elections Canada also monitors whether these bilingual materials are, in fact, available. Finally, follow-ups are conducted with all returning officers to inform them of the results of this monitoring exercise and to encourage them to correct any problems that arise.

1.5 Contracts and agreements with third parties

The Act provides that federal institutions must ensure that the information or services provided by a third party on their behalf to members of the public are indeed provided in the official language preferred by members of the public. Federal institutions do not always do so. In fact, only 76% ensure that contracts and agreements with third parties acting on behalf of bilingual offices nearly always include clauses that set out the language obligations that these third parties must meet. This situation has remained virtually unchanged since 2015–18, when the proportion was 75%.

Best practice

The contracts that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada signs with third parties include a provision on bilingualism. In the summary of these agreements, a mandatory section specifies the official languages in which the work will be performed and the products or deliverables will be submitted. Project managers from the Department are responsible for ensuring that the language obligations set out in these contracts are met. For example, the Digital Literacy Exchange Program targets underrepresented groups in the digital economy, including members of official language minority communities. The Department is closely monitoring the six recipients of this program in 2020–21 for compliance with the language clauses contained in the contribution agreements between them and the government.

1.6 Upholding the principle of substantive equality

“Substantive equality is achieved when one takes into account, where necessary, the differences in characteristics and circumstances of minority communities and provides services with distinct content or using a different method of delivery to ensure that the minority receives services of the same quality as the majority. This approach is the norm in Canadian law.“Footnote 10

According to the reviews submitted in the past three years, 78% of federal institutions nearly always respect the principle of substantive equality when communicating with or providing services to the public. This leaves room for improvement.

To ensure that substantively equal services are provided in both English and French, federal institutions use the Analytical Grid for Analysing Federal Services and Programs in Light of the Principle of Substantive Equality. The grid includes a series of questions to help federal institutions consider the impact of new initiatives on official languages issues. The questions relate to Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act and will ensure that official languages duties and considerations are taken into account early in the process of developing a Treasury Board submission.

During the 2020–21 fiscal year, TBS undertook a review of its Guidance for Drafters of Treasury Board Submissions, including the official languages impact analysis. TBS consulted with the community of practice on the draft of the new version of the guide. The guide was released in June 2021. The Department of Canadian Heritage also drafted a new guide to facilitate the analysis of official languages when preparing a Memorandum to Cabinet. Its title is Guide for Drafting Memoranda to Cabinet — Official Languages Impact Analysis. TBS promoted it in its April 2021 OL Connection newsletter for the official languages community of practice.

1.7 Conclusion

The reviews submitted to TBS over the past three years show that many federal institutions are complying with obligations under Part IV of the Official Languages Act or are adopting certain practices deemed to be best practice. As a result, written communications and government websites are at a high level of compliance.

However, there is still room for improvement in some areas.

In particular, many federal institutions have shortcomings when it comes to in-person active offer, which could make some members of the public (particularly those belonging to minority language communities) feel less secure. This insecurity can result in Canadians or travellers not daring to ask to be served in the official language of their choice, even though they should be able to exercise this right.

The omission by some institutions of language clauses in agreements with third parties is also an issue that needs to be addressed, since, in the absence of such clauses, some third parties may not offer the services in English or French that members of the public expect. Federal institutions must respect the same language obligation whether they provide a service directly or through a partner.

Chapter 2: Language of work

In this section
Text version below:
Text version below:
Figure - Text version

Within the core public administration, 96% of incumbents in bilingual supervisory positions met the language requirements of their position, a trend on the rise

62% of supervisory positions required Level C proficiency in oral interaction, a trend on the rise

96% of incumbents that offer personal and central services meet the language requirements of their position, a trend on the rise

37% of bilingual positions that offer personal and central services require Level C proficiency in oral interaction

Percentage of institution which indicated they “nearly always“ apply established best practices in designated bilingual regions:

Employees can draft documents in the official language of their choice: this cycle, 59%; previous cycle, 51%

Meetings are conducted in both official languages, and employees may use the official language of their choice: this cycle, 42%, previous cycle: 45%

Incumbents in bilingual or either/or positions are supervised in the official langue of their choice: this cycle, 72%; previous cycle, 74%.

Personal and central services are provided to employees in the official language of their choice: this cycle, 87%; previous cycle, 85%

The institution offers training to employees in the official language of their choice: this cycle, 75%; previous cycle: 73%

Senior management communicates in both official languages with employees on a regular basis: this year, 63%

Documentation and regularly and widely used work instruments and electronic systems are available to employees in the official language of their choice: this cycle, 77%; previous cycle, 81%

In unilingual regions, regularly and widely used work instruments are available in both official languages for employees who are responsible for providing bilingual services to the public or to employees in bilingual regions: this cycle, 83%; previous cycle, 86%

Part V of the Act defines the language rights of federal employees. Its key objective is to foster the full recognition of English and French in the federal public service. It is also intended to ensure that public servants have the opportunity to use either language in designated bilingual regions for language-of-work purposes.

Based on the reviews submitted by federal institutions from 2018 to 2021, there remains room for improvement to ensure that employees in designated bilingual regions for language-of-work purposes can truly work in the official language of their choice.

Follow-up of the Borbey-Mendelsohn report

In 2017, the Clerk of the Privy Council mandated the Committee of Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Borbey-Mendelsohn report titled The next level: Normalizing a culture of inclusive linguistic duality in the Federal Public Service workplace. Since 2018, the Language Portal of Canada has provided a dashboard to measure progress in implementing the 14 categories of recommendations contained in the Borbey-Mendelsohn report. And significant progress has been made in implementing these recommendations. However, the most complex recommendations (for example, language training and raising the linguistic profile of supervisory positions) were incorporated into a broader language of work strategy and into administrative proposals as part of the modernization of the Official Languages Act. Going forward, TBS will report on the progress made to strengthen bilingualism in the public service.

2.1 Language of writing

According to Figure 2, only 59% of federal institutions (up from 51% in 2015–18) reported in their last review that their staff are “nearly always“ able to draft documents in the official language of their choice.

Best practice

Natural Resources Canada is one of the organizations that works to respect the right of public servants to draft documents in their language of choice. In its action plan for official languages, the Department focuses on measures to raise their employees’ awareness of their right to work in English or French. In fact, in a message to all employees, the deputy minister encouraged them to work in the language of their choice when preparing briefing notes and documents. Natural Resources Canada has also installed bilingual automatic correction software on all of its staff’s workstations following a recommendation from the Borbey‑Mendelsohn report.

2.2 Languages at meetings

Figure 2 also shows that only 42% of federal institutions reported in their last review that meetings in designated bilingual regions are nearly always conducted in both official languages. This is a decrease of three percentage points from 2015–18. Most federal institutions must do more to respect the right of public servants to use English or French in face‑to-face or virtual meetings.

Best practice

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada posted an infographic on its intranet on the specific topic of official languages and teleworking. The infographic tells public servants about their rights and the practices they should observe when organizing or participating in virtual meetings. The Office also created special backgrounds that employees can install when they are on video conferencing to indicate that everyone should feel comfortable using either English or French.

Figure 2: Proportion of federal institutions that report nearly always applying best practice when it comes to bilingualism in the workplace, 2018–21
Proportion of federal institutions that report nearly always applying best practice when it comes to bilingualism in the workplace, 2018–21. Text version below:
Figure 2 - Text version

Employees can draft documents in the official language of their choice, 59%; meetings are conducted in both official languages, 42%; employees are supervised in the official language of their choice, 72%; personal and central services are provided to employees in the official language of their choice, 87%; employees can access both professional and language training in the official language of their choice, 75%; work instruments are available in the official language of an employee’s choice, 77%; senior management promotes bilingualism in the workplace, 63%, with a target of 90%.

2.3 Language of employee supervision

In accordance with the Directive on Official Languages for People Management, managers and supervisors are required to supervise “employees located in bilingual regions in the official language of the employee’s choice when they occupy bilingual or either/or positionsFootnote 11 and in the language of the position when they occupy unilingual positions.“

However, only 72% of federal institutions indicated in their last review that incumbents of bilingual or either/or positions are nearly always supervised in the official language of their choice (Figure 2).

These results do not appear to be due to the supervisors having poor language skills. As of March 31, 2021, 96.1% of the incumbents of the 28,811 bilingual supervisory positions in the core public administrationFootnote 12 met the language requirements of their position — these are high requirements, since 62% of bilingual supervisory positions require a C level for oral interaction, which is the highest standard.

Best practice

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada has, among other things, made it a priority to respect the right of its employees to be supervised in the official language of their choice. In June 2021, the Centre will initiate its own official languages policy, which will make it mandatory for incumbents of supervisory positions in a bilingual region to have a CBC level.

2.4 Personal and central services

As shown in Figure 2, 87% of institutions that have submitted a review in the past three years reported that the personal and central services they provide to employees in designated bilingual regions are nearly always in their preferred official language. This means, for example, that employees who want help to resolve a problem with their pay or computer can do so in either English or French.

As of March 31, 2021, 96.4% of the 68,581 incumbents of bilingual positions who provide personal and central services within the core public administration met the linguistic requirements of their position, and 37.1% of these incumbents had a Level C proficiency for oral interaction.

2.5 Training and professional development

In bilingual regions, institutions must provide training and professional development services in the official language preferred by the employee. Three quarters (75%) of large federal institutions,Footnote 13 the only ones required to address this particular issue in the review, indicated that they nearly always did so (Figure 2).

Best practice

Some institutions look elsewhere than the Canada School of Public Service for courses in both official languages. For example, employees of Employment and Social Development Canada have access to the courses of the College, a training centre created by that department. The College oversaw the creation of 481 bilingual courses to train employees across the country on issues prioritized by the institution. Over 100 courses in English and French were also created by the Atlantic Regional Office for employees in that region. Part-time and full-time individual or group training is also provided to staff to improve their second language skills.

2.6 Work tools

Employees located in bilingual regions and employees who are required to provide services to the public in both official languages in a unilingual region have the right to access regularly and widely used work instruments, work tools and information systems (such as a spreadsheet or a collaborative cloud-based application) in the official language of their choice. Based on the reviews examined by TBS for this cycle, 77% of federal institutions, a decrease of 4 percentage points since 2015–18 (Figure 2), believe that their staff are nearly always able to exercise this right, which is of particular importance in this era of remote work.

However, the data from the 2020 Public Service Employee SurveyFootnote 14 , somewhat qualify this result. In fact, 94% of public servants responded affirmatively in 2020 to the statement: “The material and tools provided for my work, including software and other automated tools, are available in the official language of my choice.“

Figure 3: Perception of public servants concerning the availability of materials and work tools in the language of their choice in regions designated bilingual for the purpose of language of workFootnote 15
Perception of public servants concerning the availability of materials and work tools in the language of their choice in regions designated bilingual for the purpose of language of work. Text version below:
Figure 3 - Text version

In the National Capital Region, 89% of Francophones provided positive answers; 5%, neutral answers; and 6%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 90% of Francophones provided positive answers; 5%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 94% of Francophones provided positive answers; 2%, neutral answers; and 4%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 91% of Francophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 93% of Francophones provided positive answers; 3%, neutral answers; and 4%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 92% of Francophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 4%, negative answers.

In the National Capital Region, 96% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 2%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 92% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 3%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 96% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 2%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 93% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 2%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 96% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 1%, neutral answers; and 3%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 95% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 3%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers.

Best practice

Public Safety Canada is one of the institutions that is making a particular effort to provide their public servants with work tools in their preferred official language. In 2020, it created a working group to ensure that information technologies acquired by the organization are in compliance with current policies on official languages, accessibility and security. The following questions are included in the technology approval form: “Will this tool be used by employees located in designated bilingual regions for language of work purposes? If so, the tool should be available to them in the official language of their choice.“ and “Is this tool required to enable employees to communicate with or provide services to the public or employees in both English and French? If so, the tool should be available in both official languages.“

2.7 Leadership

The Policy on Official Languages emphasizes that, in designated bilingual regions, it is the responsibility of the deputy head to set the appropriate tone in terms of respecting both English and French. While only 63% of institutions stated in their review that senior management nearly always exercises the leadership necessary to foster a workplace conducive to the effective use of both official languages (Figure 2), 80% of federal employees in designated bilingual regions for language-of-work purposes stated in the 2020 Public Service Employee Survey that “senior executives in their department or agency use both official languages in their interactions with employees.“

Figure 4: Perception of public servants concerning their senior managers and their use of both official languages when they interact with employees, in regions designated bilingual for the purpose of language of work
Perception of public servants concerning their senior managers and their use of both official languages when they interact with employees, in regions designated bilingual for the purpose of language of work. Text version below:
Figure 4 - Text version

In the National Capital Region, 73% of Francophones provided positive answers; 16%, neutral answers; and 11%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 78% of Francophones provided positive answers; 11%, neutral answers; and 11%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 74% of Francophones provided positive answers; 16%, neutral answers; and 10%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 82% of Francophones provided positive answers; 12%, neutral answers; and 6%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 81% of Francophones provided positive answers; 13%, neutral answers; and 6%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 86% of Francophones provided positive answers; 9%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers.

In the National Capital Region, 83% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 13%, neutral answers; and 4%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 75% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 13%, neutral answers; and 12%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 84% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 10%, neutral answers; and 6%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 81% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 12%, neutral answers; and 7%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 62% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 26%, neutral answers; and 12%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 86% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 9%, neutral answers; and 5%, negative answers.

2.8 Conclusion

To create truly bilingual workplaces more work is needed in many institutions. Two shortcomings stand out. Nearly five years after the Borbey-Mendelsohn report was tabled, too many public servants are not given the opportunity to draft documents in the official language of their choice or to participate in English or French in meetings. Institutions are doing better, though, in terms of providing bilingual personal and central services to employees.

As shown in Chapter 6, TBS took various steps in 2020–21 to encourage federal institutions to address these issues.

TBS will increase the number of interventions in the years to come in order to bring about a significant improvement in terms of drafting documents in the language of choice and bilingual meetings.

Chapter 3: Federal institutions and the participation of English‑speaking and French-speaking Canadians

In this section
Linguistic representation within the federal public service. Text version below:
Figure - Text version

Linguistic representation within the federal public service:  Anglophones in the Canadian population in 2016: 75.4%, Francophones, 22.8%; Anglophones in the core public administration: 69.2%, a trend on the rise, and Francophones, 30.8%, a trend on a decline; Anglophones in institutions that are not part of the core public administration: 77.5%, a trend on a decline, and Francophones, 22.3%, a trend on the rise; Anglophones in all the institutions, 73.8%, a trend on a decline, and Francophones, 25.9%, a trend on the rise. Sources:  Census 2016; Positions and Classification Information System and Official Languages Information System as of March 31, 2021. Trends are compared to previous year’s data. 90% of the institutions have taken steps to ensure that the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the composition of the two official language communities in Canada.

3.1 Analysis

While providing that the merit principle should guide the federal government’s human resources approaches, Part VI of the Act states that the federal government must ensure that “English‑speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians . . . have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement in federal institutions.“ The government must also ensure that “the composition of the workforce of federal institutions tends to reflect the presence of both the official language communities of Canada, taking into account the characteristics of individual institutions, including their mandates, the public they serve and their location.“

Ninety percent of large institutions reported that they took steps during the 2018–21 cycle to ensure that their workforce tended to reflect the composition of the two official language communities in Canada, based on their mandate, target audience and the location of their offices.

For example, federal institutions reported taking part in job fairs at postsecondary institutions frequented by members of official language minority communities. Some institutions ensure that job advertisements appear in Anglophone and Francophone community media, and others use social media and recruitment platforms in both languages to reach all potential candidates across the country.

Best practice

Despite the pandemic, Correctional Service Canada’s recruitment and outreach team continued to promote career opportunities in the Department by using social media, placing ads on billboards and websites, and participating in virtual job fairs open to all, including members of official language communities. At these fairs, the recruitment and outreach team made presentations in English and French, and the bilingual recruiters spoke to participants in their preferred official language.

As of March 31, 2021, in the core public administration, the participation rate was 69.2% for AnglophonesFootnote 16 and 30.8% for Francophones. In all institutions subject to the Act, Anglophones accounted for 73.9% of the workforce and Francophones for 25.9% (an increase of 0.3% in one year).

These percentages are in line with those of the 2016 census, which indicated that 75.4% spoke English as their first official language and 22.8% spoke French.

Anglophones and Francophones are well represented in all federal institutions and offices across Canada’s provinces and territories. Nonetheless, English-speaking Quebecers outside the National Capital Region make up only 11.4% of the employees of the core public administration, despite representing 13.7% of the Quebec population.

Best practice

Recruitment of Anglophone employees in Quebec is an issue for Public Services and Procurement Canada. To increase representation, the Department conducted two recruitment events at English post-secondary institutions in Quebec that resulted in the hiring of new Anglophone employees.

3.2 Conclusion

While continual awareness regarding the representation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians in federal institutions will always be required, current indicators are generally satisfactory, except in the core public administration in Quebec, where Anglophones are underrepresented.

In addition, the reviews show that a large percentage of institutions take targeted measures every year to ensure that Anglophones and Francophones are adequately represented.

Chapter 4: Institutions and management of the official languages file

In this section
Text version below:
Text version below:
Figure - Text version

Language training is nearly always provided for career advancement: this cycle, 58%; previous cycle, 50%

Bilingual positions are nearly always staffed by candidates who are bilingual upon appointment: this cycle, 76%; previous cycle, 82%

The language requirements of bilingual positions are nearly always established objectively. The linguistic profiles reflect the duties of employees or their work units as well as the obligations with respect to service to the public and language of work: this cycle, 83%; previous cycle, 86%.

Measures are regularly taken to ensure that employees are aware of the federal government’s obligations related to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the Act: this cycle, 89%; previous cycle, 89%

The champion (and/or co-champion) and the person or persons responsible for Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the Act regularly meet to discuss the official languages file: this cycle, 71%; previous cycle, 89%

Taking into consideration the institution’s size and mandate, performance agreements include performance objectives related to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the Act, as appropriate: this cycle, 60%; previous cycle, 56%

Activities are conducted throughout the year to measure the availability and quality of the services offered in both official languages (Part IV): this cycle, 71%; previous cycle, 74%

Activities are conducted to periodically measure whether employees can use their official language of choice in the workplace (Part V): this cycle, 77%; previous cycle, 75 %

Mechanisms are en place to determine and document the impact of the institution’s decisions on the implementation of Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the Act: this cycle, 68%; previous cycle, 73%

Compliance with the Act depends on establishing rigorous official languages management processes. This section discusses the actions that institutions have taken to create and implement these processes.

4.1 Human resources management

The Policy on Official Languages states that federal institutions shall adopt a variety of human resources management practices to ensure that they are fully able to provide quality services in both English and French to the public and their employees.

After examining the reviews, TBS found that, in 2018–21, only 68% of large institutions nearly always had the necessary human resources to meet their language obligations to members of the public and to their employees. In other words, they had enough bilingual staff to communicate with, supervise and assess employees in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, offer employees internal services in the official language of their choice and have sufficient qualified personnel in each of the two official languages to provide services to the public in the language of their choice in full compliance with the Act.

Figure 5 shows the various means used by federal institutions, according to their latest review, to ensure that they can rely on employees who are able to respect their colleagues’ and the public’s language rights. To start, it shows that as few as 58% of large institutions indicated that they nearly always allow their employees to take French or English courses to advance their careers.

Figure 5: Proportion of federal institutions that reported some human resources management practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018‑21
Proportion of federal institutions that reported some human resources management practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018‑21. Text version below:
Figure 5 - Text version

Measures are regularly taken to ensure that employees are aware of their linguistic obligations: 94%; bilingual positions are nearly always staffed by candidates who are bilingual upon appointment: 74%; the evaluation of a position’s language requirements is nearly always conducted objectively: 83%; employees can nearly always access language training in English or French for career advancement: 58%, with a target of 90%.

Best practice

For example, the Canada Border Services Agency has its own language school. The staff’s access is based on factors such as employee demand or the needs for a particular service. For example, the Agency’s Information, Science and Technology Branch can count on five full-time instructors to teach employees French. The Branch is particularly committed to helping early-career public servants strengthen their second language so that nothing will hinder their progress.

Best practice

Another example is Public Safety Canada’s 2020–23 Action Plan for Official Languages, which states that one of the main activities of the Department’s official languages champion is to encourage employees to either acquire new second language skills, maintain those they already have or improve them. The Department has three standing offers with second-language training schools for individual or group training and uses the services of schools under Public Services and Procurement Canada’s standing offers.

Best practice

At the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the second-language training program that used to be held in a classroom was adapted to the reality of working from home. At the beginning of the pandemic, training was done by telephone. As soon as possible, classroom training resumed but virtually, using a videoconference application. Classes allow the Office’s employees to maintain or improve their skills and achieve the desired skill level. The Official Languages Promotion Committee resumed lunch-and-learn sessions. These are now being held virtually.

Best practice

Air Canada offers various language training programs to help employees who may not have the level of proficiency necessary for providing service in both official languages, for maintaining their language qualifications, or for improving oral or written language skills. Tools are also available to employees, such as:

  • an internally developed online training module accessible from different platforms, such as tablets and smartphones
  • an airline vocabulary
  • a quick reference card
  • a booklet containing terminology specific to employee tasks
  • examples of responses to use

Virtual courses were offered during the pandemic.

Best practice

Lastly, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Official Languages Discussion Network has organized various activities to encourage employees to use their second official language on a daily basis. Among other things, it sent emails on the topic, challenged employees and pursued its mentoring program.

Conducting an objective assessment of the language requirements associated with a position, as set out in section 91 of the Act, is another step that institutions must take to ensure that their staff are fully able to use both English and French at the required level. A study of the latest reviews of federal institutions shows that 83% of them nearly always implement this practice (Figure 5).

Best practice

Several federal institutions reported using the tool developed by TBS to objectively determine the linguistic profile of bilingual positions. Others use the one created by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to establish the linguistic identification of positions. They use it, for example, to determine whether a vacant position should be bilingual or not.

Best practice

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada reviewed the linguistic profiles of all of its supervisory positions to see if they had been objectively established. The Department has developed a plan to increase the linguistic profiles of these positions to the CBC level in bilingual regions. This plan will be implemented by 2024.

The hiring of candidates who are already bilingual to fill bilingual positions is another key human resources management measure. Of all the institutions that submitted a review and that have bilingual positions, 76% nearly always recruit candidates for those positions who are already bilingual at the time of their appointment (Figure 5). For example, in 2020–21, 366 out of 368 bilingual positions were filled in this manner by Public Safety Canada.

Finally, much of the strengthening of official bilingualism depends on the awareness and training of employees, who need to know what is expected of them. Of all the institutions that submitted a review, 89% stated that they regularly take measures to ensure that employees are aware of obligations related to various parts of the Act.

Best practice

For example, the letters of offer sent by the Bank of Canada indicate that the recruits will work in a bilingual workplace. These letters also indicate the level of bilingualism required for the position that each recruit will occupy. New employees are informed of the Bank’s Bilingualism Policy and the Bank’s obligations under the Act during an information session that they are invited to upon arrival. Finally, staff are periodically reminded of their official languages obligations during the year.

4.2 Governance of official languages

The Policy on Official Languages requires that each federal institution have an official languages unit, a person responsible for official languages and a champion of official languages. It is thanks in large part to these teams and individuals that institutions are able to meet their official languages obligations.

An analysis of the reviews submitted over the past three years reveals that the champion (or co‑champion) and the persons responsible for Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act meet regularly to discuss language issues (Figure 6) in 71% of large institutions.

An internal official languages committee or network is another mechanism that many institutions use to foster coordinated awareness of their official languages program (Figure 4). Based on the reviews received from 2018 to 2021, 75% of large institutions have such a committee or network. And 61% of institutions that have one ensure that it meets regularly.

Figure 6: Proportion of federal institutions that report some governance practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018–21
Proportion of federal institutions that report some governance practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018–21. Text version below:
Figure 6 - Text version

Champions and persons responsible for official languages meet regularly: 71%; internal official languages committees or networks are established: 75%; linguistic obligations are on the senior management committee’s agenda: 61%; executive performance agreements include official languages performance objectives: 60%.

Best practice

For example, Veterans Affairs Canada has created an official languages advisory committee whose membership reflects the structure of the Department and the geographic distribution of its offices. Through its leadership, actions and consultations, this committee helps the institution improve its official languages capacity. It identifies the language issues and challenges to be addressed, develops and implements strategies, and speaks up on official languages within the Department. Meetings of the advisory committee are held every two months by teleconference in the presence of the official languages champion and the departmental official languages advisor.

Senior management leadership is crucial in official languages matters. It is important that language issues regularly be placed on the agenda of management committee meetings. According to the latest reviews received by TBS, this is the case in 61% of large institutions (Figure 6).

Best practice

For example, at the Public Health Agency of Canada, language obligations are regularly discussed at meetings of its departmental executive committee and the executive committees of its various branches. During these meetings, the Agency’s leaders address issues such as:

  • deliverables and planned strategies for official languages
  • planning and promoting special events, such as Linguistic Duality Day
  • tracking the Agency’s and branches’ official languages action plans

Setting performance targets is another key component of the governance structure that institutions must establish. These objectives often involve executives and sometimes managers and supervisors. Of the institutions that filed a review between 2018 and 2021, 60% have performance agreements that set targets for executives to implement Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act (Figure 6). Since an amendment to the Directive on Performance and Talent Management for Executives was adopted, these targets have included maintaining the second language skills of executives.

Best practice

Since 2017–18, Parks Canada has required in the performance agreements of its senior management that they demonstrate how they have taken measures that promote bilingualism. Parks Canada has tools that allow managers and directors to add specific official languages items in the Agency’s employee performance agreements.

Best practice

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has created an Official Languages Guide for Performance Agreements that is available on its intranet. In 2020–21, the Department’s senior managers’ agreements included the performance measure “Encouraging the use of both official languages.“

4.3 Monitoring

In official languages, as in other areas, establishing monitoring mechanisms allows institutions to take note of their progress (or their setbacks), report on them and, ultimately, strengthen their achievements or correct their shortcomings.

Based on the reviews of the 2018–21 cycle, 71% of federal institutions conducted activities to measure the availability and quality of services offered to the public in English and French (Figure 7). These activities include conducting informal assessments (49%), spot checks by supervisors (52%) and client surveys (20%).

Figure 7: Proportion of federal institutions that report monitoring practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018–21
Proportion of federal institutions that report monitoring practices that promote the advancement of official languages, 2018–21. Text version below:
Figure 7 - Text version

The deputy head is informed of the results of monitoring activities related to bilingualism: 94%; audits or evaluations related to official languages are conducted: 66%; mechanisms are in place to determine the nature and impact of decisions on official languages: 68%; activities are undertaken to measure the availability and quality of services offered in French and English: 74%

In addition, one third of institutions use the results of surveys of federal public servants to measure the level of use of official languages in the workplace. Others use other measures to do this, such as informal assessments, spot checks, monitoring activities and internal surveys.

Best practice

For example, every year, every employee of the Business Development Bank of Canada is invited to complete an omnibus survey that includes specific questions on official languages, such as whether they feel comfortable using English or French.

Based on the reviews received by TBS, 68% of institutions have also established mechanisms to determine the nature and extent to which their decisions have an impact on official languages, when those decisions relate to the adoption or revision of a policy, the creation or abolition of a program, or the establishment or elimination of an office (Figure 7). These mechanisms may include consulting the Treasury Board’s Official Languages Requirements and Checklist.

Best practice

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is one of the institutions that implement such mechanisms. When a policy is adopted or a program is created, the Department’s official languages team is systematically consulted to assist public servants in conducting an impact assessment called the “Official Languages AgriFilter.“ Its questionnaire is used to determine whether the proposed initiatives could impact the Department’s level of compliance with the Act. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also uses a specific tool to “consider official languages when reviewing spending decisions“ and another tool on “what managers must consider“ during a “workforce adjustment.“

Two other monitoring mechanisms that institutions may also use are audits and evaluations. Based on the reviews received by TBS, 59% of institutions used either approach during the three-year cycle — through their internal audit unit or through other units — to measure the level of compliance with their official languages obligations (Figure 7).

Best practice

Public Services and Procurement Canada ensures annually that positions bear the appropriate language designation and that problems are corrected. The Department also regularly reviews complaints received and irregularities in the payment of the bilingualism bonus.

Finally, it is the responsibility of deputy heads to implement official languages policies. Federal institutions should have processes in place to ensure that their leadership is informed promptly of any challenges. According to the reviews, almost all institutions, or 91% of them, indicate that their deputy head is informed of the results of monitoring activities regarding bilingualism in a timely manner.

Best practice

For example, the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada appears before the Executive Committee twice a year to provide an update on issues, including the issue of official languages. Among the issues addressed in these presentations were the official languages results of the Public Service Employee Survey.

4.4 Conclusion

Many mechanisms or processes that promote the Government of Canada’s compliance with the Official Languages Act are already in place in a high proportion of federal institutions. For example, it is encouraging to see that three quarters of federal institutions undertake a variety of activities to establish the level of availability and quality, both in English and French, of the services they provide to the public. Indeed, as the saying goes, what is not measured cannot be improved.

However, some official languages management practices should be more generalized than they currently are in order to produce the expected results for members of the public and federal employees. Employee access to training in English or French, for example, should be improved; meetings between official languages officials should be more frequent; and language issues should be more prominent on the agenda of meetings held by senior management.

What is notable, though, is that institutions conduct awareness activities so that employees know their official languages rights and obligations and they include official languages objectives in performance agreements.

Chapter 5: Official languages and COVID‑19

In this section

Federal institutions have an obligation to comply with the provisions of the Act during crises and under normal circumstances. Marked by the pandemic, 2020–21 was a crisis year in which official languages created challenges for some institutions, not least because there was a spike in the demand for their digital or telephone services and because remote work and virtual meetings became the norm.

5.1 Crisis planning

Most institutions, or 73%, had endeavoured to be prepared for the COVID‑19 crisis by ensuring that official languages were taken into account in their emergency planning and crisis management plans.Footnote 17

Best practice

Elections Canada is one of the organizations that sought to anticipate and mitigate the potential effects of the COVID‑19 crisis on its ability to meet its language obligations. It therefore began the development of a new operational plan to ensure that, despite the pandemic, elections can be held in a manner that ensures safety and respect for the rights of English- and French-speaking Canadians. The Publications Service provided express editing and translation services to staff to help them respond adequately to urgent requests where needed. The agency also produced communications guidelines that staff were to follow.

Best practice

Official languages are also taken into account in the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s emergency and crisis management plan. The Commission established standard procedures to ensure that, even in exceptional circumstances, its communications to the public fully comply with the Act. An agreement allows any staff member to access the services of the Translation Bureau within Public Services and Procurement Canada. The Commission’s official languages specialists are part of its emergency management team to ensure that the rights of Anglophones and Francophones are fully respected.

5.2 Measures taken during the COVID‑19 pandemic

Many of the organizations that submitted a review in 2020–21 described the steps they took during the pandemic to ensure that their obligations in terms of communications with and services to the public as well as in terms of language of work were met.

Best practice

Measures put in place by the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure that its language of work obligations were met include the Canada-wide distribution of a virtual background that promotes the use of both official languages during remote meetings. The Agency also provided information on virtual workplace language rights and obligations for employees on its intranet.

Best practice

Shared Services Canada provided staff with its protocol for urgent and out-of-office translation services. It also established a process by which bilingual employees help to rapidly review translations.

Best practice

To respond adequately to the crisis, Health Canada branches have ensured that they develop their ability to communicate with and provide services to the public in both English and French. They conducted significant recruitment efforts in 2020–21, and hiring managers worked with the persons responsible for official languages so that the positions to be filled have the appropriate language designation. Branches also ensured that language training is provided to employees who serve the public.

Overall, federal public servants are satisfied with the measures taken by their employer to inform them during the COVID‑19 crisis. According to a question in the 2020 Public Service Employee Survey, 95% of Anglophones and 94% of Francophones in designated bilingual regions for language-of-work purposes feel that the information on the pandemic was properly received in both official languages.

Figure 8: Perception of public servants concerning the availability of information on the COVID‑19 pandemic in both official languages in regions designated bilingual for language-of-work purposes
Perception of public servants concerning the availability of information on the COVID‑19 pandemic in both official languages in regions designated bilingual for language-of-work purposes. Text version below:
Figure 8 - Text version

In the National Capital Region, 94% of Francophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 91% of Francophones provided positive answers; 6%, neutral answers; and 3%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 93% of Francophones provided positive answers; 5%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 94% of Francophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 93% of Francophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 3%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 96% of Francophones provided positive answers; 2%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers.

In the National Capital Region, 96% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 3%, neutral answers; and 1%, negative answers. In Eastern Ontario, 91% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 7%, neutral answers; and 2%, negative answers. In Northern Ontario, 93% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 6%, neutral answers; and 1%, negative answers. In the Montréal region, 93% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 4%, neutral answers; and 3%, negative answers. In other Quebec bilingual regions, 94% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 3%, neutral answers; and 3%, negative answers. In New Brunswick, 93% of Anglophones provided positive answers; 6%, neutral answers; and 1%, negative answers.

5.3 Crisis and Emergency Communications Working Group

In October 2020, the Commissioner of Official Languages released a special report, A Matter of Respect and Safety: The Impact of Emergency Situations on Official Languages, that discusses shortcomings at press conferences, in alert messages, during communications from government agencies, and when communicating with federal employees in bilingual regions. The report recommends that TBS review and amend emergency communication plans and procedures, train public servants who collaborate on emergency communications and assess the effectiveness of the measures taken.

In early 2020–21, TBS created an interdepartmental working group on bilingual communications in emergency or crisis situations with the mandate of examining the Commissioner’s recommendations, identifying practices and challenges in federal institutions, and developing a strategy and an action plan. The working group includes representatives from TBS, the Privy Council Office, Canadian Heritage, Public Safety Canada and the Translation Bureau.

The group has developed a strategy for 2022–24 that will:

  • improve governance by:
    • strengthening governance tools used to address language obligations in emergency/crisis communications
    • strengthening leadership and accountability for communications in emergencies/crises
    • enhancing the bilingualism of positions involved in emergency/crisis communications
  • equip and empower federal institutions to help them meet their official languages obligations in crisis or emergency situations by:
    • strengthening the role and capacity of the Translation Bureau to provide translation and interpretation services during emergency or crisis situations
    • increasing the effective use of both official languages within the federal government by strengthening language security and modernizing the language training framework
    • developing, promoting and sharing best practice in emergency communications
  • strengthen accountability and oversight by optimizing existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms and the use of self-diagnosis tools to effectively integrate official languages in strategic priority planning

5.4 Conclusion

2020–21 was a year unlike any other, including for federal institutions. For the most part, institutions coped well with the official languages challenges brought on by the pandemic. Going forward, it is clear that strong planning and implementation measures will be required to ensure that both in normal and crisis times institutions fully comply with the Act and fully meet the expectations of the public and federal employees.

Chapter 6: Official languages and TBS

In this section

In 2020–21, TBS fully assumed its role in developing federal policies and programs for the application of Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act in federal institutions and in coordinating and monitoring activities to implement these policies and programs. It also contributed to efforts to modernize and strengthen the Official Languages Act.

6.1 Application of the official languages program and policies

In 2020–21, as in each fiscal year, TBS took steps to strengthen the place of English and French in the sectors under its responsibility. In particular, it has endeavoured, through its actions, to remedy some of the shortcomings identified in the preceding pages.

Much of TBS’s efforts have focused on helping institutions deal with the pandemic, as it became clear that it would lead to accelerated workplace transformation and increased use of information technology.

From the beginning of the crisis, TBS worked closely with federal institutions to help them adjust to the new realities of work while fully complying with their official languages obligations. A particular focus was on the use of both English and French in virtual meetings. There was also a need to ensure that the language skills of staff were maintained in order to promote good human resources management.

As a result, shortly after pandemic health measures were imposed, TBS held a virtual meeting with official languages experts to discuss two issues: government communications in crisis situations and adaptations of the Public Service Commission of Canada’s measures on language testing and the validity of second language evaluation results.

It is also in this context that, at the start of the pandemic, TBS made available information to public servants on bilingualism in the remote workplace, reminding them via a Web‑based publication of the rules to follow when holding meetings at a distance. TBS also used a dedicated wiki page and a newsletter to inform federal institutions about respecting official languages rights and obligations in a virtual workplace. In October 2020, TBS issued a toolkit on bilingualism in meetings.

In addition, TBS worked with many stakeholders in 2020–21 to adapt its policies and ensure that they are better aligned with the government’s intention to create a diverse and inclusive public service and foster reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Among other things, these changes now allow qualified public servants who have a disability affecting their ability to learn a second official language to hold executive positions at the EX-02 to EX-05 levels. This approach, which already exists for all other levels, aims to increase the representation of persons with disabilities without eroding linguistic duality. Institutions that appoint these individuals to executive positions must put in place administrative measures to ensure that their duties can be carried out in both official languages.

In 2020–21, TBS also continued its efforts to engage with federal institutions to prepare for the implementation of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations (Regulations) that were amended in 2019. This engagement strategy includes developing policy tools, training sessions for official languages experts in federal institutions and simulations to show how provisions of the new Regulations are applied in federal offices. TBS also started discussions with stakeholder groups to update the Directive on the Implementation of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.

To address concerns about the equitable participation of English-speaking Quebecers in federal institutions in Quebec in accordance with Part ;VI of the Act, TBS will work with the Quebec Community Groups Network, other stakeholders and federal institutions to develop a strategy to increase the recruitment of English-speaking Quebecers in federal institutions located in Quebec.

6.2 Support to federal institutions and knowledge sharing

In 2020–21, TBS intensified its work with federal institutions to help them comply with the Act. Specifically, it:

  • provided over 229 interpretations
  • organized 20 meetings and events with communities of practice on official languages
  • participated in 46 meetings with federal institutions
  • published 8 newsletters

In addition, TBS analysts reviewed over 400 Treasury Board submissions with a particular focus on Parts IV, V and VI of the Act.

The numerous meetings organized or co-organized by TBS to discuss official languages issues (Appendix E) brought together some 1,100 people to discuss:

  • the legislative obligations of institutions
  • their application of official languages policies
  • maintenance of second language skills
  • language training
  • the potential impacts of artificial intelligence on linguistic duality
  • the future of work
  • leadership
  • the challenges of implementing the section of the Act that requires that language requirements of positions be established objectively (section 91)
  • the linguistic insecurity of public servants, who often hesitate to use their first or second official language in the workplace
  • the modernization the Act
  • changes to the Regulations
  • new approaches, practices and tools to better support official languages in institutions

In particular, TBS organized 30 training sessions to help persons responsible for official languages increase their knowledge of legislative and practical aspects of the Act and of Treasury Board policy instruments. These learning activities were intended to give officials the tools that will allow them to fully carry out their role as coordinators for official languages program implementation within their institution.

Finally, TBS coordinated efforts across the public service to address a variety of horizontal issues related to observations by the Commissioner of Official Languages and to find solutions to new realities. The issues of leadership, linguistic insecurity and communication protocols between officials from different regions headlined the Best Practice Forum on Official Languages held in March 2021.

TBS held meetings with federal institutions to address issues associated with the shift to open government, especially with launching or strengthening initiatives, such as open science. TBS also created a working group to examine a series of tools that will help reduce linguistic insecurity. Specifically, it started to adapt for public servants a linguistic risk-taking passport created by the University of Ottawa. It also created coaching circles and conducted video interviews with exemplary leaders to better understand and explain how authentic leadership promotes sustained risk-taking in a second language and has a positive effect on organizations.

6.3 Modernization of the Act  

The September 23, 2020, Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to modernize and strengthen the Official Languages Act. On January 15, 2021, the Prime Minister mandated the President of the Treasury Board to assist the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages in modernizing the Act and, in particular, to work to improve the government-wide oversight and coordination of the work aimed at implementing the Act within the federal government.

After extensive consultation with Canadians, the Government of Canada outlined its vision for the reform of the language regime in Canada in “English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada,“ a public document released in February 2021. The government’s vision was based on three priorities:

  • improving the official languages compliance of federal institutions
  • strengthening Part VII of the Act
  • engaging Canadians across the country to make the Act a key tool in helping the country meet the challenges of tomorrow

In March 2022, the government tabled a bill for the substantive equality of Canada’s official languages, the first major modernization the Official Languages Act in 30 years.

In order to strengthen bilingualism in the public service, the government proposed to develop a new second language-training framework for the public service, which would ensure quality, accessible and adapted French and English training for all learners, including Indigenous people and persons with disabilities.

Conclusion of the report

This annual report demonstrates that, based on the 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 reviews, institutions are making great strides towards full compliance but that certain areas of improvement remain.

Ensuring that, under both normal and crisis situations, full equality of English and French in communications with and services to the public or in terms of language of work is achieved is one such area.

Institutions will have to ensure that their employees are aware of their official languages rights and obligations, that access to language training is improved, that the second language skills of public servants are maintained and that preparations are made for the effects of the amendments to the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.

The COVID‑19 pandemic quickened the government’s transition to greater use of technology, more flexible work organization, and a more dispersed workforce across the country. A more dispersed workforce will allow us to attract a more diverse pool of bilingual candidates with the skills and abilities the government needs.

If public servants can work in a hybrid fashion, they can also learn English or French at their own pace thanks to a growing number of online learning tools, such as the Mauril, a mobile app developed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and available free of charge to all Canadians.

TBS fully supports institutions’ efforts to improve their performance in terms of official bilingualism. TBS envisions language training moving towards a mix of self‑directed learning, instructor-led training and cooperative or peer learning. All employees will need to be equipped to ensure that they have the skills they need, including second language skills, to contribute to the public service. By supporting federal institutions, TBS will continue to build and maintain the public service that Canada deserves and that Canadians depend upon.

Appendix A: Methodology for reporting on the status of official languages programs

Federal institutions must submit a review on official languages to TBS at least once every three years. This fiscal year marks the third year of the three-year cycle (2018-21).Footnote 18 Sixty-eight (68) organizationsFootnote 19 had to complete a questionnaire on elements pertaining to the application of Parts IV, V and VI of the Act in 2020–21.

Institutions were required to report on the following elements:

  • communications with and services to the public in both official languages
  • language of work
  • human resources management
  • governance
  • monitoring of official languages programs

These five elements were evaluated mainly by using multiple-choice questions. To reduce the administrative burden on small institutions,Footnote 20 , they were asked fewer questions than large institutions. Deputy heads were responsible for ensuring that their institution’s responses were supported by facts and evidence. The following table describes the response scales used in the review on official languages for 2020–21.

Table 1
Response scales used in the review on official languages
Nearly always In 90% or more of cases
Very often Between 70% and 89% of cases
Often Between 50% and 69% of cases
Sometimes Between 25% and 49% of cases
Almost never In fewer than 25% of cases
Yes Completely agree with the statement
No Completely disagree with the statement
Regularly With some regularity
Sometimes From time to time, but not regularly
Almost never Rarely
N/A Does not apply to the institution

The previous sections outline the status of official languages programs in the 68 institutions that submitted a review this year or, as the case may be, the most recent results from the 168 institutions that submitted a review over the 2018–21 cycle. The statistical tables in Appendix D of this report outline the resultsFootnote 21 for all federal institutions.

Appendix B: Federal institutions required to submit a review for the fiscal year 2020–21

Sixty-eight federal institutions submitted a review for the fiscal year 2020–21. The distinction between small institutions and large institutions is based on size. Large institutions were required to respond to a longer questionnaire. Small institutions have fewer than 500 employees. The lists of federal institutions that submitted a review over the two precedent fiscal years of the three-year cycle are available in the appendices B of the Annual Report on Official Languages 201819 and the Annual Report on Official Languages 201920.

Large institutions

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Air Canada
  • Bank of Canada
  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canada Lands Company Limited
  • Canada Post
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Courts Administration Service
  • Defence Construction Canada
  • Employment and Social Development Canada
  • Export Development Canada
  • Farm Credit Canada
  • Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • National Arts Centre Corporation
  • National Defence
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada
  • Parks Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mint
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Shared Services Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
  • VIA Rail Canada Inc.

Small institutions

  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
  • Belledune Port Authority
  • Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Canada Energy Regulator
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
  • Canadian Grain Commission
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Farm Products Council of Canada
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
  • Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation
  • Halifax Port Authority
  • Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
  • Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Parole Board of Canada
  • Port Alberni Port Authority
  • Prince Rupert Port Authority
  • RCMP External Review Committee
  • Saint John Port Authority
  • Sept-Îles Port Authority
  • St. John’s Port Authority
  • Thunder Bay Port Authority
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada
  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

Appendix C: Definitions

“Anglophone“
refers to employees whose first official language is English.
“Bilingual position“
is a position in which all or part of the duties must be performed in both English and French.
“First official language“
is the language declared by the employee as the one that they primarily identify with.
“Francophone“
refers to employees whose first official language is French.
“Incomplete record“
means a position for which data on language requirements are incorrect or missing.
“Position“
means a position filled for an indeterminate period or a determinate period of three months or more, according to the information in the Position and Classification Information System (PCIS).
“Resources“
refers to the resources required to meet obligations on a regular basis, according to the information available in the Official Languages Information System II (OLIS II). Resources can consist of a combination of full-time and part-time employees, as well as contract resources. Some cases involve automated functions, hence the need to use the term “resources“ in this report.
“Reversible“ or “either/or position“
is a position in which all the duties can be performed in English or French, depending on the employee’s preference.

Appendix D: Statistical tables

In this section

There are four main sources of statistical data:

  • Burolis is the official inventory that indicates whether offices have an obligation to communicate with the public in both official languages
  • The Position and Classification Information System (PCIS) covers the names and positions of employees working within institutions that are part of the core public administration
  • The Official Languages Information System II (OLIS II) provides information on the resources of institutions that are not part of the core public administration (in other words, Crown corporations and separate agencies)
  • The Employment Equity Data Bank (EEDB) provides data based on voluntary declarations by employment equity groups and, for women, the Pay System

March 31 is the reference date of the data in the statistical tables and in the data systems (the Pay System, Burolis, the PCIS, OLIS II and EEDB).

Notes

Percentage totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

The data in this report relating to positions in the core public administration are compiled from the PCIS, except for tables 15 to 18, which also use the EEDB. Because the data related to official languages are based on the PCIS, they do not match those posted in the Annual Report on Employment Equity in the Federal Public Service. The sum of the designated groups in employment does not equal the total of all employees because employees may have chosen to self-identify in more than one group and because the men were added to the total.

It is possible that the percentages of incumbents of bilingual positions who meet the language requirements of their position in tables 4, 6, 9 and 11 are higher in reality because the Public Service Commission of Canada temporarily suspended evaluations of second language competencies during the pandemic. Despite the assessments of candidates administered by the institutions during this period, only the Commission can update the PCIS from its own evaluations. The results will be updated as the Commission formally evaluates the recruits and the promoted employees, within 12 months of their appointments being made.

Pursuant to the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order, incumbents may not meet the language requirements of their position for two reasons:

  • they are exempted
  • they have two years to meet the language requirements

The linguistic profile of a bilingual position is based on three levels of second language proficiency:

  • Level A: minimum proficiency
  • Level B: intermediate proficiency
  • Level C: superior proficiency

Table 1
Bilingual positions and pool of bilingual employees in the core public administration as of March 31

As of March 31, 2021, the percentages of bilingual positions and bilingual employees in the core public administration had decreased slightly, by 0.5% and 2.7%, respectively, to 41.9% and 40.7% compared to March 31, 2020.

Text version below:
Year Bilingual positions Superior proficiency Intermediate proficiency Minimum proficiency Pool of bilingual employees
2000 35% 21% 11% 3% 35%
2010 41% 27% 12% 2% 41%
2020 42% 26% 15% 2% 43%
2021 42% 25% 14% 2% 41%

Table 2
Language requirements of positions in the core public administration as of March 31

In the fiscal year 2020–21, the number of bilingual positions in the core public administration increased by 5.1%, but the number of bilingual positions as a percentage of the total number of positions decreased slightly, by 0.5%, compared to the fiscal year 2019–20.

Year Bilingual positions English essential positions French essential positions English or French essential positions Incomplete records Total positions
2000 50,535 35.3% 75,552 52.8% 8,355 5.8% 7,132 5.0% 1,478 1.0% 143,052
2010 82,985 41.0% 102,484 50.6% 7,827 3.9% 8,791 4.3% 450 0.2% 202,537
2020 89,632 42.4% 105,062 49.7% 7,191 3.4% 9,334 4.4% 50 0.0% 211,269
2021 94,210 41.9% 112,513 50.0% 8,258 3.7% 9,989 4.4% 34 0.0% 225,004

Table 3
Language requirements of positions in the core public administration, by province, territory or region as of March 31, 2021

Of the 225,004 positions in the core public administration in the fiscal year 2020–21, 94,210 were bilingual positions. Most of the bilingual positions were in Quebec (excluding the National Capital Region) (where 65.4% of positions are bilingual), the National Capital Region (63.4% of positions) and New Brunswick (51.7% of positions).

Unilingual positions
Province, territory or region Bilingual positions English essential French essential English or French essential Incomplete records Total positions
British Columbia 545 2.9% 18,221 96.6% 1 0.0% 98 0.5% 0 0.0% 18,865
Alberta 437 3.9% 10,853 95.7% 0 0.0% 52 0.5% 1 0.0% 11,343
Saskatchewan 118 2.4% 4,848 97.3% 0 0.0% 18 0.4% 1 0.0% 4,985
Manitoba 566 7.7% 6,718 91.4% 2 0.0% 62 0.8% 1 0.0% 7,349
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 2,730 10.1% 24,165 89.0% 12 0.0% 236 0.9% 3 0.0% 27,146
National Capital Region (NCR) 66,695 63.4% 29,149 27.7% 377 0.4% 8,947 8.5% 17 0.0% 105,185
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 15,454 65.4% 213 0.9% 7,656 32.4% 297 1.3% 0 0.0% 23,620
New Brunswick 4,570 51.7% 3,925 44.4% 194 2.2% 148 1.7% 4 0.0% 8,841
Prince Edward Island 552 24.3% 1,706 75.2% 2 0.1% 10 0.4% 0 0.0% 2,270
Nova Scotia 1,005 11.0% 8,027 87.9% 14 0.2% 83 0.9% 5 0.1% 9,134
Newfoundland and Labrador 103 2.7% 3,652 96.4% 0 0.0% 34 0.9% 1 0.0% 3,790
Yukon 11 3.2% 328 96.5% 0 0.0% 1 0.3% 0 0.0% 340
Northwest Territories 14 3.1% 441 96.9% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 455
Nunavut 8 2.9% 263 96.3% 0 0.0% 2 0.7% 0 0.0% 273
Outside Canada 1,402 99.6% 4 0.3% 0 0.0% 1 0.1% 1 0.1% 1,408
Total 94,210 41.9% 112,513 50.0% 8,258 3.7% 9,989 4.4% 34 0.0% 225,004

Table 4
Bilingual positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents as of March 31

In the fiscal year 2020–21, the percentage of employees in bilingual positions in the core public administration who met the language requirements of their position slightly increased by 0.9% compared to the fiscal year 2019–20.

Incumbents do not meet requirements
Year Incumbents meet requirements Exempted Must meet Incomplete records Total employees
2000 41,832 82.8% 5,030 10.0% 968 1.9% 2,705 5.4% 50,535
2010 77,331 93.2% 3,625 4.4% 831 1.0% 1,198 1.4% 82,985
2020 85,676 95.6% 3,297 3.7% 35 0.0% 624 0.7% 89,632
2021 90,893 96.5% 2,297 2.4% 50 0.1% 970 1.0% 94,210

Table 5
Bilingual positions in the core public administration and level of second language proficiency required (oral interaction) as of March 31Footnote 22

The percentage of bilingual positions in the core public administration that require Level C proficiency for oral interaction rose 0.9% from the fiscal year 2019–20 to the fiscal year 2020–21.

Year Level C Level B Level A Other Total positions
2000 12,836 25.4% 34,677 68.6% 1,085 2.1% 1,937 3.8% 50,535
2010 26,738 32.2% 53,659 64.7% 724 0.9% 1,864 2.2% 82,985
2020 32,435 36.2% 55,471 61.9% 335 0.4% 1,391 1.6% 89,632
2021 34,964 37.1% 57,648 61.2% 333 0.4% 1,265 1.3% 94,210

Table 6
Service to the public: bilingual positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents as of March 31

From the fiscal year 2019–20 to the fiscal year 2020–21, the percentage of employees in the core public administration who provided services to the public in both English and French and who met the language requirements of their position increased by 1.3%.

Incumbents do not meet requirements
Year Incumbents meet requirements Exempted Must meet Incomplete records Total employees
2000 26,766 82.3% 3,429 10.5% 690 2.1% 1,631 5.0% 32,516
2010 46,413 93.0% 2,217 4.4% 555 1.1% 746 1.5% 49,931
2020 42,839 95.8% 1,468 3.3% 14 0.0% 378 0.8% 44,699
2021 44,405 96.9% 870 1.9% 20 0.0% 535 1.2% 45,830

Table 7
Service to the public: bilingual positions in the core public administration and level of second language proficiency required (oral interaction) as of March 31Footnote 23

The number of bilingual positions in the core public administration has increased since the fiscal year 2019–20. The percentage of bilingual positions that offer services to the public and require Level C proficiency for oral interaction increased 0.4% to 42.0% in the fiscal year 2020–21.

Year Level C Level B Level A Other Total positions
2000 9,088 27.9% 22,421 69.0% 587 1.8% 420 1.3% 32,516
2010 17,645 35.3% 31,780 63.6% 340 0.7% 166 0.3% 49,931
2020 18,599 41.6% 25,872 57.9% 99 0.2% 129 0.3% 44,699
2021 19,261 42.0% 26,402 57.6% 101 0.2% 66 0.1% 45,830

Table 8
Service to the public: positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents, by province, territory or region as of March 31, 2021

In the fiscal year 2020–21, of the 111,542 positions in the core public administration that provide services to the public, 45,830 provide services in both English and French. There were 44,405 incumbents in the 45,830 bilingual positions who met the language requirements of their position.

Bilingual positions Unilingual positions
Province, territory or region Incumbents meet requirements Incumbents do not meet requirements Incomplete records English essential French essential English or French essential Total employees
Exempted Must meet
Western and Northern Canada 1,000 38 0 45 26,303 2 68 27,456
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 1,526 43 0 52 14,315 2 57 15,995
National Capital Region (NCR) 27,652 571 19 167 9,389 145 2,119 40,062
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 9,025 114 0 137 71 3,819 114 13,280
New Brunswick 3,093 54 0 23 2,487 180 36 5,873
Other Atlantic provinces 955 41 1 11 6,558 9 37 7,612
Outside Canada 1,154 9 0 100 1 0 0 1,264
All regions 44,405 870 20 535 59,124 4,157 2,431 111,542

Table 9
Personal and central services: bilingual positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents as of March 31

In the fiscal year 2020–21, 96.4% of incumbents in the 68,581 bilingual positions in the core public administration that offer personal and central services met the language requirements of their position, which is an increase of 0.9% compared to the fiscal year 2019–20.

Incumbents do not meet requirements
Year Incumbents meet requirements Exempted Must meet Incomplete records Total employees
2020 61,915 95.5% 2,385 3.7% 18 0.0% 545 0.8% 64,863
2021 66,106 96.4% 1,664 2.4% 16 0.0% 795 1.2% 68,581

Table 10
Personal and central services: bilingual positions in the core public administration and level of second language proficiency required (oral interaction) as of March 31Footnote 24

In the fiscal year 2020–21, 37.1% of the 68,561 bilingual positions in the core public administration that offer personal and central services required Level C proficiency in oral interaction, which is an increase of 0.6% compared to the fiscal year 2019–20.

Year Level C Level B Level A Other Total positions
2020 23,697 36.5% 39,879 61.5% 177 0.3% 1,110 1.7% 64,863
2021 25,467 37.1% 41,930 61.1% 169 0.2% 1,015 1.5% 68,581

Table 11
Supervision: bilingual positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents as of March 31

As of March 31, 2021, 96.1% of incumbents in the core public administration’s 28,811 bilingual supervisory positions met the language requirements of their position.

Incumbents do not meet requirements
Year Incumbents meet requirements Exempted Must meet Incomplete records Total employees
2020 26,089 95.9% 1,005 3.7% 22 0.1% 86 0.3% 27,202
2021 27,691 96.1% 879 3.1% 37 0.1% 204 0.7% 28,811
Note: This table excludes employees working outside Canada.

Table 12
Supervision: bilingual positions in the core public administration and level of second language proficiency required (oral interaction) as of March 31Footnote 25

In the fiscal year 2020–21, 62.0% of the core public administration’s 28,811 bilingual supervisory positions required Level C proficiency in oral interaction, which is an increase of 1.3% over the fiscal year 2019–20.

Year Level C Level B Level A Other Total positions
2020 16,502 60.7% 10,604 39.0% 36 0.1% 60 0.2% 27,202
2021 17,852 62.0% 10,890 37.8% 39 0.1% 30 0.1% 28,811
Note: This table excludes employees working outside Canada.

Table 13
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in the core public administration, by province, territory or region as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest percentage of Anglophones (98.8%) working in the core public administration, and Quebec (excluding the National Capital Region) had the highest percentage of Francophones (88.6%).

Province, territory or region Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total employees
British Columbia 18,480 98.0% 383 2.0% 2 0.0% 18,865
Alberta 10,990 96.9% 353 3.1% 0 0.0% 11,343
Saskatchewan 4,915 98.6% 70 1.4% 0 0.0% 4,985
Manitoba 7,045 95.9% 304 4.1% 0 0.0% 7,349
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 25,678 94.6% 1,467 5.4% 1 0.0% 27,146
National Capital Region (NCR) 64,931 61.7% 40,250 38.3% 4 0.0% 105,185
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 2,697 11.4% 20,923 88.6% 0 0.0% 23,620
New Brunswick 4,764 53.9% 4,077 46.1% 0 0.0% 8,841
Prince Edward Island 2,026 89.3% 244 10.7% 0 0.0% 2,270
Nova Scotia 8,618 94.4% 516 5.6% 0 0.0% 9,134
Newfoundland and Labrador 3,745 98.8% 45 1.2% 0 0.0% 3,790
Yukon 322 94.7% 18 5.3% 0 0.0% 340
Northwest Territories 426 93.6% 29 6.4% 0 0.0% 455
Nunavut 247 90.5% 26 9.5% 0 0.0% 273
Outside Canada 909 64.6% 499 35.4% 0 0.0% 1,408
All regions 155,793 69.2% 69,204 30.8% 7 0.0% 225,004

Table 14
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in the core public administration, by occupational category as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, the Operations category had the highest percentage of Anglophones (78.8%) and the Administration and foreign service category had the highest percentage of Francophones (37.2%) working in the core public administration. These results are similar to those observed as of March 31, 2020.

Categories Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total employees
Management (EX) 3,979 65.7% 2,074 34.3% 0 0.0% 6,053
Scientific and professional 33,643 76.5% 10,354 23.5% 3 0.0% 44,000
Administration and foreign service 70,702 62.8% 41,902 37.2% 4 0.0% 112,608
Technical 10,610 77.2% 3,126 22.8% 0 0.0% 13,736
Administrative support 13,771 71.3% 5,555 28.7% 0 0.0% 19,326
Operations 23,088 78.8% 6,193 21.2% 0 0.0% 29,281
All categories 155,793 69.2% 69,204 30.8% 7 0.0% 225,004

Table 15
Language requirements of positions in the core public administration, by employment equity group as of March 31, 2021Footnote 26

As of March 31, 2021, Indigenous people, members of visible minorities, and persons with disabilities were underrepresented among incumbents of bilingual positions in the core public administration, while women were overrepresented.

Target groups Bilingual positions English essential positions French essential positions English or French essential positions Incomplete records Total
Women 55,923 45.1% 58,762 47.4% 4,504 3.6% 4,836 3.9% 19 0.0% 124,044
Indigenous people 3,841 32.7% 7,358 62.7% 214 1.8% 322 2.7% 2 0.0% 11,737
Persons with disabilities 4,871 38.8% 6,787 54.0% 280 2.2% 629 5.0% 1 0.0% 12,568
Members of visible minorities 15,043 35.7% 23,131 54.9% 924 2.2% 3,046 7.2% 5 0.0% 42,149
All employees 94,210 41.9% 112,513 50.0% 8,258 3.7% 9,989 4.4% 34 0.0% 225,004

Table 16
Bilingual positions in the core public administration and linguistic status of incumbents, by employment equity group as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, members of visible minority groups and persons with disabilities were slightly underrepresented among incumbents of bilingual positions in the core public administration who met the language requirements of their position.

Incumbents do not meet requirements
Target groups Incumbents meet requirements Exempted Must meet Incomplete records Total
Women 54,209 96.9% 1,189 2.1% 15 0.0% 510 0.9% 55,923
Indigenous people 3,733 97.2% 72 1.9% 2 0.1% 34 0.9% 3,841
Persons with disabilities 4,678 96.0% 148 3.0% 4 0.1% 41 0.8% 4,871
Members of visible minorities 14,473 96.2% 407 2.7% 15 0.1% 148 1.0% 15,043
All employees 90,893 96.5% 2,297 2.4% 50 0.1% 970 1.0% 94,210

Table 17
Bilingual positions in the core public administration and level of second language proficiency required (oral interaction), by employment equity group as of March 31, 2021Footnote 27

As of March 31, 2021, only members of visible minorities were underrepresented among incumbents of bilingual positions in the core public administration requiring Level C proficiency in oral interaction.

Target groups Level C Level B Level A Other Total
Women 21,101 37.7% 34,021 60.8% 59 0.1% 742 1.3% 55,923
Indigenous people 1,446 37.6% 2,367 61.6% 14 0.4% 14 0.4% 3,841
Persons with disabilities 1,828 37.5% 2,996 61.5% 11 0.2% 36 0.7% 4,871
Members of visible minorities 4,975 33.1% 9,945 66.1% 29 0.2% 94 0.6% 15,043
All employees 34,964 37.1% 57,648 61.2% 333 0.4% 1,265 1.3% 94,210

Table 18
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in the core public administration, by employment equity group as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, women were underrepresented among Anglophones in the core public administration, while Indigenous people and members of visible minorities and persons with disabilities were underrepresented among Francophones.

Target groups Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total
Women 84,392 68.0% 39,650 32.0% 2 0.0% 124,044
Indigenous people 8,770 74.7% 2,967 25.3% 0 0.0% 11,737
Persons with disabilities 9,564 76.1% 3,003 23.9% 1 0.0% 12,568
Members of visible minorities 32,914 78.1% 9,232 21.9% 3 0.0% 42,149
All employees 155,793 69.2% 69,204 30.8% 7 0.0% 225,004

Table 19
Service to the public: number of resources serving the public in bilingual offices in institutions not part of the core public administration, by province, territory, region or method of delivery as of March 31, 2021Footnote 28

In the fiscal year 2020–21, 66,076 resources offered services to the public in the bilingual offices of federal institutions that are not part of the core public administration. Of these resources, 21,763 provided services in English and French.

Province, territory, region or method of delivery Resources in English only Resources in French only Bilingual resources Total resources
Western and Northern Canada 18,378 38 1,849 20,265
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 11,628 56 1,595 13,279
National Capital Region (NCR) 5,929 471 7,474 13,874
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 252 1,453 8,322 10,027
New Brunswick 406 136 1,188 1,730
Other Atlantic provinces 3,683 15 834 4,532
Outside Canada 217 3 78 298
Routes 333 0 26 359
Telephone 1,314 1 397 1,712
Total 42,140 2,173 21,763 66,076

Table 20
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in institutions not part of the core public administration, by province, territory or region as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest percentage of Anglophones (98.2%) and Quebec (excluding the National Capital Region) had the highest percentage of Francophones (79.3%) working in institutions that are not part of the core public administration.

Province, territory or region Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total resources
British Columbia 34,500 96.1% 1,290 3.6% 120 0.3% 35,910
Alberta 28,483 95.1% 1,378 4.6% 96 0.3% 29,957
Saskatchewan 7,755 96.5% 277 3.4% 1 0.0% 8,033
Manitoba 14,471 95.2% 732 4.8% 0 0.0% 15,203
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 69,685 93.3% 4,855 6.5% 115 0.2% 74,655
National Capital Region (NCR) 34,793 71.4% 13,936 28.6% 29 0.1% 48,758
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 10,330 20.7% 39,652 79.3% 23 0.0% 50,005
New Brunswick 7,482 73.7% 2,670 26.3% 0 0.0% 10,152
Prince Edward Island 1,958 92.6% 156 7.4% 0 0.0% 2,114
Nova Scotia 13,221 92.1% 1,127 7.9% 0 0.0% 14,348
Newfoundland and Labrador 5,783 98.2% 105 1.8% 0 0.0% 5,888
Yukon 370 90.7% 38 9.3% 0 0.0% 408
Northwest Territories 624 87.6% 88 12.4% 0 0.0% 712
Nunavut 307 84.6% 56 15.4% 0 0.0% 363
Outside Canada 1,803 73.4% 381 15.5% 273 11.1% 2,457
All regions 231,565 77.5% 66,741 22.3% 657 0.2% 298,963

Table 21
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in institutions not part of the core public administration, by occupational category or equivalent category as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, the Operations category had the highest percentage of Anglophones (80.0%) working in institutions that are not part of the core public administration. The categories with the highest percentage of Francophones (26.1%) working in institutions that are not part of the core public administration were the Canadian Armed Forces and regular members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Categories Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total resources
Management 13,287 75.4% 4,246 24.1% 92 0.5% 17,625
Professionals 32,453 75.3% 10,554 24.5% 117 0.3% 43,124
Specialists and technicians 16,893 74.9% 5,659 25.1% 16 0.1% 22,568
Administrative support 34,959 76.5% 10,679 23.4% 39 0.1% 45,677
Operations 86,129 80.0% 21,125 19.6% 393 0.4% 107,647
Canadian Armed Forces and regular members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police 47,842 73.9% 16,885 26.1% 0 0.0% 64,727
All categories 231,563 76.8% 69,148 22.9% 657 0.2% 301,368

Table 22
Participation of Anglophones and Francophones in all federal institutions subject to the Official Languages Act, by province, territory or region as of March 31, 2021

As of March 31, 2021, Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest percentage of Anglophones (98.5%) and Quebec (excluding the National Capital Region) had the highest percentage of Francophones (82.3%) working in all institutions subject to the Official Languages Act.

Province, territory or region Anglophones Francophones Unknown Total
British Columbia 52,980 96.7% 1,673 3.1% 122 0.2% 54,775
Alberta 39,473 95.6% 1,731 4.2% 96 0.2% 41,300
Saskatchewan 12,670 97.3% 347 2.7% 1 0.0% 13,018
Manitoba 21,516 95.4% 1,036 4.6% 0 0.0% 22,552
Ontario (excluding the NCR) 95,363 93.7% 6,322 6.2% 116 0.1% 101,801
National Capital Region (NCR) 99,724 64.8% 54,186 35.2% 33 0.0% 153,943
Quebec (excluding the NCR) 13,027 17.7% 60,575 82.3% 23 0.0% 73,625
New Brunswick 12,246 64.5% 6,747 35.5% 0 0.0% 18,993
Prince Edward Island 3,984 90.9% 400 9.1% 0 0.0% 4,384
Nova Scotia 21,839 93.0% 1,643 7.0% 0 0.0% 23,482
Newfoundland and Labrador 9,528 98.5% 150 1.5% 0 0.0% 9,678
Yukon 692 92.5% 56 7.5% 0 0.0% 748
Northwest Territories 1,050 90.0% 117 10.0% 0 0.0% 1,167
Nunavut 554 87.1% 82 12.9% 0 0.0% 636
Outside Canada 2,712 70.2% 880 22.8% 273 7.1% 3,865
All regions 387,358 73.9% 135,945 25.9% 664 0.1% 523,967

Appendix E: Statistics on events held by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat during the 2020–21 fiscal year

Event Date Audience Key topics/issues
Virtual meeting – Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages (DACOL) May 29, 2020 About 80 participants
  • Update on major files at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS)’s Official Languages Centre of Excellence (OLCE)
  • Presentation by the Public Service Commission of Canada – Review of the Public Service Employment Regulations – proposed model
  • Discussion and sharing of best practice regarding crisis communications
Virtual meeting – Crown Corporations Advisory Committee on Official Languages (CCACOL) May 29, 2020 About 50 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Discussion and sharing of best practice regarding crisis communications issues
Virtual meeting – Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages (DACOL) June 22, 2020 About 80 participants
  • Public Service Commission of Canada language evaluation tests during COVID‑19
  • Presentation by TBS: Public Service Employee Survey – Public Service Results on the Use of Official Languages
  • Discussion and sharing of best practice regarding the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ Maturity Model
Virtual meeting – Crown Corporations Advisory Committee on Official Languages (CCACOL) June 22, 2020 About 50 participants
  • Overview of Key Trends – 2019 Public Service Employee Survey – Public Service Results on the Use of Official Languages
  • Discussion and sharing of best practice regarding the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ Maturity Model
Virtual meeting – Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages (DACOL) Aug. 26, 2020 80 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Results of the Official Languages Maturity Model exercise
  • Consultations of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) on the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
  • Sharing of best practice
Virtual meeting – Crown Corporations Advisory Committee on Official Languages (CCACOL) Aug. 26, 2020 54 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Results of the Official Languages Maturity Model exercise
  • Consultations of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) on the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
  • Sharing best practice
Linguistic Duality Day Sept. 10, 2020
  • Virtual event open to all public service employees, in collaboration with the Canada School of Public Service. This event is organized jointly between the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions, Canadian Heritage and TBS
Virtual meeting – Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages (DACOL) Oct. 28, 2020 About 80 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Implementing the Official Languages Regulations and reviewing its related Directive: update and next steps
Virtual meeting – Crown Corporations Advisory Committee on Official Languages (CCACOL) Oct. 28, 2020 About 50 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Implementing the Official Languages Regulations and reviewing its Directive: update and next steps
Virtual meeting – Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages (DACOL) Jan. 27, 2021 About 80 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Linguistic (in)security at work – Overview of the results of the Exploratory survey on official languages among federal government employees in Canada (OCOL)
  • Consultation – Reviewing the Directive on the Implementation of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
Virtual meeting – Crown Corporations Advisory Committee on Official Languages (CCACOL) Jan. 27, 2021 About 50 participants
  • Update on major OLCE files
  • Linguistic (in)security at work – Overview of the results of the Exploratory survey on official languages among federal government employees in Canada (Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
  • Consultation – Reviewing the Directive on the Implementation of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
Virtual meeting with the official languages community – Champions, those responsible for official languages in departments and Crown corporations, Co-ordinators 41 Feb. 25, 2021 About 250 participants
  • Update on official languages reform (joint presentation with Canadian Heritage)
Virtual Best Practice Forum on Official Languages March 1 to 5, 2021
  • The 2020 Forum was scheduled to take place in person on November 26, 2020; it was cancelled
  • The 2021 Virtual Forum took place over five days
  • Two presentations were given on March 3 (approximately 2,500 participants)
  • A GCwiki page was created (over 6,000 visitors to the page)
  • Virtual kiosks were created (approximately 100 people visited these kiosks)
Intensive Official Languages Training Camp Sept. 2020 to March 2021 (23 sessions) Approximately 200 people attended the training camp (those responsible for official languages and official languages champions)
  • The intensive training camp was established to equip those responsible for official languages with the knowledge needed to effectively implement the official languages program within federal institutions. The course provides an opportunity to learn more about the fundamental principles of the Official Languages Act (Act) and the policy instruments and tools necessary for the practical implementation of the Act. It also promotes discussing real-world cases between colleagues who perform the same duties and provides an opportunity to put questions directly to an expert
  • The camp was open to those responsible for official languages in departments and Crown corporations
  • Two sessions were held for official languages champions

Appendix F: Distribution of federal offices and service locations as of March 31, 2021

Text version below:
Figure - Text version

British Columbia: 262 bilingual offices, 1,016 unilingual; Alberta: 220 bilingual offices, 789 unilingual; Saskatchewan: 119 bilingual offices, 713 unilingual; Manitoba: 155 bilingual offices, 497 unilingual; Ontario: 621 bilingual offices, 1,482 unilingual; National Capital Region: 402 bilingual offices, none unilingual; Quebec: 699 bilingual offices, 1,304 unilingual; New Brunswick: 328 bilingual offices, 161 unilingual; Prince Edward Island: 46 bilingual offices, 72 unilingual; Nova Scotia: 215 bilingual offices, 376 unilingual; Newfoundland and Labrador: 74 bilingual offices, 538 unilingual; Yukon: 34 bilingual offices, 37 unilingual; Northwest Territories: 35 bilingual offices, 65 unilingual; Nunavut: 23 bilingual offices, 52 unilingual; Offices outside Canada: 220 bilingual, 61 unilingual (Consulates and embassies are automatically bilingual. Other offices must measure the demand (for example, Public Services and Procurement Canada, International Development Research Centre)); 184 bilingual toll-free lines, none are unilingual; Routes: 210 bilingual, 154 unilingual (include air, train and ferry routes). Sources: Data from the Regulatory Management System and from Canada Post as of March 31, 2021.

© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2022,
Catalogue No.BT23-1E-PDF, ISSN: 1486-9683

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: