ARCHIVED - Audit of the Implementation of Section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act by the Canadian Tourism Commission - April 2005

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Table of Contents

Highlights

I. Introduction

  1. Profile of the institution
  2. Context
  3. Constitutional, legislative and administrative framework
  4. Focus of the audit

II. Audit Methodology

III. Audit Results

Conclusion

Appendix A: List of recommendations and Canadian Tourism Commission’s action plan

Appendix B: Our response to the Canadian Tourism Commission’s action plan

Appendix C: Audit objectives and criteria


Highlights

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages conducted an audit of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) from August to December 2004 to evaluate the Commission’s commitment to official language minority communities with regard to enhancing their vitality and supporting their development. We also evaluated how the CTC fostered the use of English and French in Canada and how it projected the bilingual character of Canada abroad in accordance with section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act (OLA).

In undertaking this audit, we kept in mind that the CTC is one of 31 federal institutions designated by the Government of Canada as having a significant impact on the development of official language minority communities. We also took into account the fact that the Commission works in partnership with the public and private sectors, where it should promote the equal status and use of English and French.

Observations

At present, the CTC does not have an official languages policy and guidelines, and the majority of its managers and employees know little about its obligations under the Act. Despite the openness higher management consistently showed throughout the audit process, we believe that senior managers have not yet demonstrated the leadership needed to promote linguistic duality through the Commission’s activities in Canada and abroad. The CTC’s action plan for implementing section 41 does not include precise and measurable objectives. Only 2 percent of some 250 partnership agreements concluded by the CTC over the past three years have been with official language minority communities. No formal consultation mechanism has been established to determine the economic development needs in these communities. With respect to the promotion of English and French in Canada and abroad, the CTC does not take sufficient advantage of its publications and Web sites. Finally, the Commission does not have a mechanism to evaluate its official languages performance.

Recommendations

The Commissioner has formulated eight recommendations intended to help the CTC fulfill its obligations under Part VII of the OLA more effectively. These include establishing an official languages policy and disseminating it to all employees, drawing up an appropriate action plan for implementing section 41 while taking into account the CTC’s obligations in its partnership agreements, consulting official language minority communities, and adopting mechanisms to monitor the performance and accountability of managers. The Commission’s senior managers must demonstrate more leadership and take the steps needed to rectify the shortcomings identified in this report.

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I. Introduction

Profile of the institution

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) was a special operating agency within Industry Canada until January 2001, when it became a Crown corporation with the enactment of the Canadian Tourism Commission Act. The mission of the CTC is to sustain a vibrant and profitable Canadian tourism industry, to market Canada as a desirable tourist destination, to support a cooperative relationship between the private sector and the governments of Canada, the provinces and territories, and to provide information about tourism in Canada to its partners.

The CTC has approximately 180 employees, with approximately 100 working at the Commission’s headquarters in Ottawa. The remainder work in 15 offices abroad, located in Germany, Australia, the United States, China, South Korea, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan.

To achieve its objectives, the CTC invests in partnerships with the public and private sectors in Canada and abroad. It undertakes macroeconomic market and industry research, product and industry development initiatives, and promotional activities in markets across the globe. The Commission concentrates on two main business lines: marketing and sales; and information. The CTC’s current annual budget is $79 million.

The private sector is at the core of the Commission’s operations. A 26-member Board of Directors—17 of whom must come from the private sector and represent all sectors of Canadian tourism and all regions of the country—oversees the CTC’s business and activities. The other members include representatives of federal, provincial and territorial government bodies.

Private sector representatives chair the working committees responsible for evaluating project proposals. Each committee develops the strategic plan to successfully implement the program that it directs, whether in the area of leisure and business travel, research or product development.

Environmental context

The CTC states that the past few years have been very unsettled. This has had an impact on its activities, and the consequences are still being felt. It reports that it has been trying to help the Canadian tourism industry cope with the upheaval caused by the devastating events of recent years. It has also reallocated funds to the special Tourism Recovery Strategy in which the Government of Canada has also participated.

Constitutional, legislative and administrative framework

The principle of progression towards the equal status of English and French recognized in subsection 16(3) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was put into practice by Parliament in 1988 through the adoption of Part VII of the Official Languages Act, which enshrines the commitment of the Government of Canada to:

  • enhance the vitality of English- and French-speaking minority communities in Canada and actively contribute to their development; and
  • foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

In other words, the Government recognizes in Part VII of the OLA both the need to support official language minority communities and the advantages of having a bilingual country, thus the need to keep linguistic communities viable.

As a Crown corporation, the CTC is obliged to comply with the OLA, including Part VII. The Commission is responsible for taking the steps needed to fulfill its obligations, and for applying Government policy in the context of its own mandate.

Official language minority communities comprise nearly 2 million Canadians, who contribute to the vitality of both official languages in every region. If these communities were to make up a single province, it would have the fifth largest population of all the provinces. The experience of each official language minority community is different according to the province where they are located, and even in different regions of the same province.

The Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development; and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. (section 41 of the OLA)

The Throne Speeches of February 2 and October 5, 2004, reiterated the Government’s commitment to the promotion of English and French in Canada. Promoting English and French, as well as supporting official language minority communities, thus remains a day-to-day priority in the design and implementation of public policy and government programs.

Throne Speeches

February 2, 2004
Linguistic duality is at the heart of our identity. It is our image in the world. It opens doors for us. The Government will nurture this asset, which benefits all Canadians. It will ensure that minority language communities have the tools that enable their members to fully contribute to the development of Canadian society.

October 5, 2004
The Government is committed to . . . linguistic duality. It is implementing the Official Languages Action Plan and will continue to promote the vitality of official language minority communities.

Focus of the audit

This audit continues the Commissioner’s efforts to ensure that federal institutions fulfill their obligations under the OLA. Although the CTC has a number of obligations under the Act, this audit focused on the advancement of English and French (Part VII). We specifically examined whether the Commission was taking into account the economic development needs of official language minority communities. We also evaluated whether the CTC fostered the use of English and French in Canadian society and projected the bilingual character of Canada abroad. (The objectives and criteria for this audit are set out in the appendix to this report.)

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II. Audit Methodology

The CTC was informed on August 6, 2004 that it would be audited. We then met with members of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors to explain the audit objectives and how the audit would be conducted.

Our observations and recommendations stem from the study of documents supplied by the Commission. These include the action plan and annual reviews regarding the implementation of section 41, partnership agreements, and various other publications. We also conducted interviews with senior managers, employees working at head office and abroad, and members of the Board of Directors. As well, we conducted interviews with partners, associations representing official language minority communities and tourism officers working within the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDEE) across Canada. A debriefing session was held on December 17, 2004, with the President and Chief Executive Officer, the Senior Vice President of Information and Corporate Secretary, and the Senior Communications Advisor.

We appreciate the cooperation of all those who took part in the audit.

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III. Audit Results

Observations

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages established audit criteria for each of the five audit objectives stemming from section 41 of Part VII of the OLA. The following section gives a brief description of the audit objectives and associated criteria as well as our observations regarding the CTC’s performance in these areas.

1. The CTC’s commitment to implementing section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act

Official languages at the CTC

The CTC has appointed a Champion who directs the official languages program, as well as an Official Languages Co-ordinator. The Champion reports to the President of the CTC. The Official Languages Co-ordinator reports to the Communications Director and the Champion. He is responsible for enhancing the profile of official languages within the Commission, giving advice, and responding to complaints. At present, the Official Languages Program Co-ordinator devotes only 10 percent of his time to the implementation of the program. Clearly, this is far from enough. The CTC should allocate the human and financial resources needed to fulfill its linguistic obligations, including those stemming from section 41. On the other hand, all the employees interviewed were well aware of which staff members are responsible for official languages activities at the Commission.

The CTC does not have an official languages policy and guidelines, but intends to develop a policy over the next year.

The vast majority of employees and managers interviewed were not aware of the CTC’s obligations under section 41 of the Act. Most of them confused the advancement of English and French with language of work and service to the public. As for employees working abroad, they are hired locally, are not made aware, and do not feel any concern for the Commission’s official languages obligations.

The CTC should establish a policy and develop guidelines for fulfilling its obligations with respect to official languages.

Organizational culture has a significant impact on the implementation of an official languages program in an institution and determines its employees’ commitment to the program at all levels. The members of the Board of Directors we interviewed admitted that they were not informed about the CTC’s official languages obligations and that the subject was not discussed at meetings. Moreover, some employees told us that the CTC did not take the official languages program seriously enough, which may explain the recent complaints filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. The institution must give its official languages program the importance it deserves.

Furthermore, in March 2004, the CTC began publishing articles on official languages in its internal newsletter. We strongly encourage the Commission to continue this practice, as this communication tool can be used to educate and inform staff members about their rights and obligations.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. establish, as soon as possible, an official languages policy and guidelines that include, among other things, the commitment to advancing English and French (Part VII); and
  2. develop a communication strategy to ensure that all staff members are informed about all of the CTC’s obligations under the Official Languages Act, including those stemming from section 41.

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2. CTC measures to implement section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act

In 1994, Cabinet approved an Accountability Framework for the implementation of Part VII of the Act at the level of the Government of Canada. Its purpose was, among other things, to ensure that all federal departments and agencies participated actively in the development and vitality of official language minority communities. Pursuant to this framework, 31 institutions, including the CTC, are required to submit an action plan and annual reviews to Canadian Heritage with respect to the implementation of section 41.

The CTC submitted an action plan to the Minister of Canadian Heritage for 2001—2006, and has submitted regular annual reviews since 2002. As well, the CTC’s Official Languages Co-ordinator participates in meetings of the network of co-ordinators responsible for the implementation of section 41.

The CTC’s action plan (2001–2006) for the implementation of section 41

Our analysis of the action plan found that it falls far short of including all the measures needed to implement section 41 of the Act. The initial plan, presented more as a report of the CTC’s accomplishments, does not include objectives or precise activities with implementation schedules that take into account the specific economic development needs of official language minority communities. Instead, the projects that minority communities submit are subject to exactly the same criteria, such as return on investment, as those applied to all other proposals from the public and private sectors. As well, this plan does not address the second component of section 41, which covers fostering the use of English and French in Canadian society and the promotion of Canada’s linguistic duality abroad. Finally, it has not been revised in light of the annual reviews.

This action plan was not approved by the Executive Committee but by the Official Languages Champion. It was not discussed by the Board of Directors either; consequently, it is not reflected in the Commission’s strategic planning.

Recommendation 2

The Commission er recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission’s next action plan, which will be submitted to Canadian Heritage in 2006, and which must be approved by its Executive Committee, include clear objectives and specific activities with implementation schedules and performance indicators that are designed to support the economic development of official language minority communities, promote the use of English and French in Canadian society, and project the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Partnerships with official language minority communities

We reviewed the extent to which the CTC engages in partnerships with official language minority communities. Although its plan does not take the specific needs of these communities into account, the CTC has taken part in the following projects:

  • the Games of La Francophonie;
  • the 400th anniversary of Acadia;
  • the Francophone Tourist Corridor Project, designed to showcase tourist attractions in the Francophone communities of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia;
  • the campaign by the Chambre économique de l’Alberta to promote Franco-Albertan destinations in order to attract more Francophone tourists, particularly from Quebec; and
  • the publicity campaign by the Chambre économique de l’Ontario to promote Francophone tourist attractions in the Lower Ottawa Valley.

We recognize the importance of the aforementioned projects for official language minority communities. However, they represent only 2% of some 250 partnership agreements reached by the CTC in the last three years.

The number of partnerships with official language minority communities must be increased.

We believe that the CTC is missing business opportunities by failing to target official language minority communities when planning its activities. The CTC does not make a special effort to invite official language minority communities to submit partnership proposals. Moreover, it has not established specific evaluation criteria for projects submitted by official language minority communities and it applies the same criteria to these projects, such as profitability and return on investment, as it applies to all other projects. This puts official language minority communities at a disadvantage, since they often lack access to the resources that other public and private sector partners have. We believe the Commission should offer economic development opportunities to these communities in order to enhance their vitality and participation in the development of Canadian society, as this is a Government of Canada priority. The Commission could do this by inviting them to submit proposals, initiating projects tailored to them, and facilitating their participation in projects that public and private partners submit. The CTC should find a way to reconcile its concern for profitability and economic impact on the Canadian tourism industry with the impact on the economic development of official language minority communities that it is required to promote under section 41. To ensure that this objective is met, the CTC should include it in the strategic plan and communicate it to its managers, the working committees responsible for project approval, and Commission staff.

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission develop a strategy to create interest among official language minority communities to submit partnership proposals and also develop selection criteria that take into account the specific situations of these communities.

Other partnership agreements

We analysed about a dozen partnership agreements and noted that they varied considerably in nature and level of financial contribution from the CTC. The agreements include the production of various publications, media advertising campaigns, trade shows and conventions. The main criterion the CTC uses to select projects is return on investment—in other words, the economic impact these projects will have on the Canadian tourism industry. Since the CTC invests substantial federal funds in these projects, it should also take into account the impact they may have on Canada’s linguistic duality.

None of the partnership agreements reviewed contained any clauses imposing obligations on the partners with respect to section 41, or even mentioned the fact that the CTC must comply with the OLA and that it has a special responsibility to support the development of official language minority communities. Our interviews confirmed that no partnership agreements contained such a clause or statement. Some managers interviewed clearly indicated that the partners would be reluctant to comply with any obligations under the OLA. As for the partners interviewed, they consider that an official languages clause in the agreements could present a significant barrier for some of them, particularly those located abroad. We recognize that partners, except for federal partners, are of course not subject to compliance with the OLA. Nevertheless, we believe the CTC should use Government of Canada financial participation as leverage, as much as possible, in its partnership agreements in order to meet part of its obligations under section 41.

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission
:

  1. inform all its partners of its obligations under section 41 of the Official Languages Act; and
  2. add, to its project selection criteria, the impact on the economic development of official language minority communities, on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, and on the projection of the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

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3. Consultation with official language minority communities

We checked whether the CTC had formally consulted representatives of official language minority communities to determine their needs with respect to economic development. We also evaluated whether the CTC took the needs of these communities into account in its strategic planning and in the implementation of its mandate.

In its action plan, the CTC indicates that it consults with the leaders of official language minority communities informally. Our interviews with Commission managers and a number of community representatives across the country confirmed that there is no formal consultation mechanism.

The CTC must enhance its exposure to official language minority communities.

We also wanted to evaluate whether official language minority communities had already dealt with the CTC or its partners, and in what context. Although the majority of those interviewed had heard of the Commission, they were not aware of its mandate or its responsibilities under section 41 of the OLA. Most did not know that they could submit proposals to the CTC or that the CTC could invite them to participate in the development of other tourism projects.

Recommendation 5

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission enhance its exposure to official language minority communities to not only learn more about them, but also to familiarize them with CTC’s mandate and activities and its obligations under Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

Representatives of official language minority communities expressed their interest in dealing with the CTC and taking part in the various tourism activities that have CTC financial participation. A representative of an official language minority community economic agency gave the example of the XXI Olympic Games to be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2010 as an opportunity for partnership with the CTC.

In addition to formally consulting official language minority communities, the Commission should consult and work closely with the Government of Canada’s economic development agencies, which are also responsible for implementing section 41 (Western Economic Diversification Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario [FedNor] and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions). The CTC should also consult Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, a financial supporter of the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDEE), which has tourism project officers in the official language minority communities across the country.

The CTC should be proactive, rather than reactive.

Round tables

The President of the CTC organizes round tables in major Canadian cities to meet tourism industry promoters and hear their opinions and observations on a range of subjects pertaining to the industry.

We obtained the guest list for these round tables, only to find that representatives of economic development agencies for official language minority communities were not included. According to the Commission, the fact that these people do not receive personal invitations does not mean that they are excluded. We believe that the CTC should formally invite them to its future round tables. The Commission could use this opportunity to consult representatives of these communities and allow them to network. However, since the round tables are held in major urban centres and are conducted in the language of the majority, they do not represent the best mechanism for consulting official language minority communities, and should not be the only means of consultation.tables are held in major urban centres and are conducted in the language of the majority, they do not represent the best mechanism for consulting official language minority communities, and should not be the only means of consultation.

The audit results clearly indicate that the CTC is not aware of the economic needs of official language minority communities across Canada, since it has not formally consulted these communities.

Recommendation 6

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission adopt a formal consultation mechanism to determine the specific needs of official language minority communities for economic development, and that it consider the results of these consultations in its strategic planning.

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4. The CTC and the two components of section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act

We checked whether the CTC took into account the two components of section 41 of
the OLA in its activities. In addition to interviews with its managers and employees, we
reviewed its action plan for the implementation of Part VII, its publications, and its
Web sites.

In its action plan, the Commission takes into account the first component of section 41, which is the Government of Canada’s commitment to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and support their development. However, the plan does not mention the second component of section 41, covering the Government of Canada’s commitment to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society and, by extension, to project the bilingual character of Canada in other countries.

To fulfill the marketing and sales, and information aspects of its mandate, the CTC uses various means of communication, including publications and Web sites.

Publications

The CTC produces many publications, a number of which promote Canada as a tourist destination. We reviewed several of these documents, including brochures, periodicals, newsletters and posters, and noted that the majority are published in separate English and French versions which have no mention of their availability in the other language. This is the case for, among others, Tourism magazine, a bimonthly CTC publication with25,000 copies in English and 15,000 in French. Also, the CTC does not use its bilingual logo on most of its publications. Some of the Commission’s managers pointed out to us that bilingual publications are costly. However, a document as important as the Commission’s annual report should be published in a bilingual version.

CTC publications do not do enough to project the bilingual character of Canada.

In general, the publications we examined do very little to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society and do not do enough to project the bilingual character of Canada abroad. References to the use of English and French in Canada are made in passing and do not give an accurate image of Canada’s linguistic duality or take sufficient account of the social and cultural differences in Canada. For example, the publications providen general information, such as “New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province,” “ the majority of Francophones live in the Province of Quebec,” and “Manitoba’s population includes people of Ukrainian, French Canadian, and Scottish origin.”

As for CTC publications for other countries, they are published only in the language of the target country and do not project Canada’s linguistic duality as an asset that may attract visitors and/or foreign partners. Some managers told us that bilingualism must represent value added to be justified. We believe that linguistic duality is an intrinsic feature of Canadian society that the CTC must promote to attract new partners and more foreign visitors.

A study published by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in November 2004, entitled Doorway to the World: Linguistic Duality in Canada’s International Relations, tells us that Canada’s linguistic duality is one of its key values and characteristics. The Commissioner believes the Government of Canada should embed this linguistic duality in its international relations and adopt a common vision that is clearly communicated to all the institutions and missions involved in the field, and ensure that they consistently deliver. We encourage the CTC to read this study.

We feel the CTC should produce a supplementary guide to its publication, Best Practices in Canada’s Tourism Industry: Partnerships, with specific information about its official languages obligations.

When it adopts an official languages policy, the CTC should draw up guidelines for its publications, advertising, and Web sites. The Commission should also take into account the comments given in the next section of this report.

The Commission should ensure that it uses a bilingual logo on all its printed, advertising,and electronic products.

Web sites

The CTC has four Web sites for tourism promotion. We assessed the following sites to see how the Commission promoted the use of English and French in Canada and how it projected the bilingual character of Canada abroad: www.canadatourism.com; www.travelcanada.ca (www.voyagecanada.ca); www.canadameetings.com; and www.gomediacanada.com. We observed that the CTC’s corporate Web site was easily accessible in English and French, and that there was a link giving visitors access to information in the language of their choice.

With respect to the sites www.travelcanada.ca and www.gomediacanada.com, we noted the predominant use of English. Moreover, changing from one language to another is often impossible. We also noted that the tab to switch languages is small.

The site www.canadameetings.com is designed to encourage people from other countries to hold meetings and conventions in Canada. We expected that the CTC would use this site to project the bilingual character of Canada, but it does not. We believe the Commission is missing an opportunity to showcase our ability to host bilingual and even multilingual conventions, a feature that may be decisive in choosing Canada. Finally, the site is in English only, which is a violation of Part IV of the OLA.

We conclude that the CTC is not satisfactorily complying with its obligations to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society and to project the bilingual character of Canada abroad. The CTC should review its Web sites and make the necessary changes to reflect Canada’s linguistic duality in accordance with section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

Recommendation 7

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. take advantage of its written communications with the public in Canada and abroad to project Canada’s linguistic duality, by presenting it as a key Canadian value and a competitive advantage;
  2. take the necessary steps to make all its Web sites bilingual, to issue more bilingual publications (especially its annual report) to include a statement in unilingual publications that the other version is available, and to put its bilingual ogo on all its publications and those produced in partnership; and
  3. adopt guidelines governing its communications activities, and establish appropriate mechanisms for increased staff awareness and training.

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5. The CTC’s performance measures

Since March 2003, all Government of Canada departments and agencies have been subject
to the Official Languages Accountability and Coordination Framework appended to the Government’s Action Plan for Official Languages. This framework sets out the conditions for fulfillment of the commitments provided for in Part VII of the Official Languages Act. It also establishes the conditions for fulfillment applicable to the institutions designated in the 1994 Accountability Framework.

Follow-ups

Systems as well as monitoring and reporting measures are a major part of an organization’s management and accountability regime. By measuring performance, reporting on it, and taking the steps needed to improve it, an organization demonstrates its commitment to continuous learning. Performance may be measured regularly, through systems or mechanisms, or periodically, through auditing, program evaluation or studies.

A review of the documents provided and interview results, showed that the CTC has not established mechanisms to measure or monitor, on a regular and periodic basis, the performance of its responsibilities for implementation of the Official Languages Act.

We also noted that the CTC does not take into account the impact that the activities it conducts alone or in partnership has on the vitality and development of official language minority communities or on the promotion of English and French in Canada and abroad.

The CTC should strengthen its accountability mechanisms and conduct regular follow-up and monitoring in order to fulfill its legislative obligations.

Accountability of managers

The Commission does not have a process to ensure that managers are held accountable for official languages issues, including those associated with section 41 of the Act. This component is part of the performance appraisal only for the Senior Communications Adviser, who co-ordinates some official languages activities.

To rectify this situation, we suggest that the CTC add a linguistic element to performance agreements for its senior managers and to strengthen their accountability, include a reference to official languages in performance appraisals for other managers.

Recommendation 8

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. establish formal follow-up and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that it meets its linguistic obligations; and
  2. establish mechanisms to periodically measure its performance and that of its managers with regards to the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act.

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Conclusion

This audit measured how the CTC implemented the provisions of Part VII of the Act in view of the nature of its mandate. We also evaluated what steps the CTC has taken to fulfill its obligations under the two components of section 41 of the Official Languages Act. We checked whether the institution had formally consulted official language minority communities and, finally, we observed whether the Commission had established a monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance.

We conclude that the CTC has not defined tangible objectives to meet its obligations under section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act. In the context of its mandate for economic development, the Commission has not done enough to promote its role with official language minority communities to support their development. As well, the CTC has not formally monitored its own performance or the performance of its staff in meeting its obligations. The Commission has not determined the steps that would allow it to progress from current results to those required to achieve the objectives of section 41 of the Act.

The activities of the CTC should be carried out in accordance with the Official Languages Accountability and Coordination Framework, appended to the Government’s Action Plan for Official Languages. To this end, the CTC should review and revise its action plan for the implementation of section 41, taking into account the recommendations made in this report, among other things. It should develop and implement the specific measures needed, conduct regular follow-ups to clearly evaluate the results obtained, ensure reasonable progress, and use an appropriate reporting system.

With respect to the CTC’s organizational culture and its interface with section 41 of the Act, we believe the Commission’s directors should determine not only how to integrate the principles and spirit of Part VII of the Official Languages Act into its organizational culture, but also how to commit sufficient resources to fully achieve these objectives. To do so, senior managers must clearly demonstrate that they understand the needs of official language minority communities and include them in their strategic objectives.

For more information, please contact Marcel Charlebois, Assistant Director, Client Services and Audit, Investigations Branch at (613) 995-1010 or 1-877-996-6368 (toll free).

Audit Team

  • Chantal Bois
  • Catherine Gendron

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Appendix A: List of recommendations and Canadian Tourism Commission’s action plan

March 7, 2005

Dr. Dyane Adam
Commissioner of Official Languages
344 Slater Street, 4th floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0T8

Madam,

This is in reply to your letter of February 9, 2005, in which you provided me with the results of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) audit you conducted regarding implementation of section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

First of all, I would like to commend the care with which your team conducted the audit. I noted in your comments that you have taken into account the fact that the CTC is a relatively young organization, and I am grateful to you for this. Finally, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to the conclusions contained in the preliminary report.

You nicely set out the CTC’s legislative objectives, which in fact support our organizational mandate to increase tourism revenues from sources outside Canada. This is a purely commercial mandate that involves seizing business opportunities while also taking into account the laws and regulations governing our organization. You have to admit that our task is not always easy. When the CTC was created, the federal government increased our core budget with the specific mission of doubling it by working in partnership with the tourism industry. The CTC gives out neither grants nor financing. It works in partnership with the industry on projects that result in a higher yield on its investment. This is the only way to attract industry partners who are, as you know, in business to make a profit and it is also the only way for the CTC to fulfill its legislative and organizational mandates.

As you noted, from its very first year as a Crown corporation, the CTC had to deal with tragic events that turned out to be the start of a series of devastating episodes occurring over the next several years, and in turn bringing added pressure at a time when the organization was transitioning into a Crown corporation. The industry is just now beginning to pull out of this slump. Add the fact that our budget, instead of increasing, keeps dropping, and you have an organization that has no choice but to establish strict priorities while facing fierce competition in an uphill battle to fulfill its mandate.

The relationship the CTC maintains with linguistic minority communities and the efforts we make to connect with them and support their development demonstrates our willingness to meet our Official Languages Act obligations. The measures we are developing and implementing will put into concrete form the CTC’s commitment to comply with the spirit of the Official Languages Act.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. establish, as soon as possible, an official languages policy and guidelines that include, among other things, the commitment to advancing English and French (Part VII); and
  2. develop a communication strategy to ensure that all staff members are informed about all of the CTC’s obligations under the Official Languages Act, including those stemming from section 41.

First and foremost, the CTC is currently preparing a policy on official languages plus a series of related guidelines, particularly on the language of work, publishing, and staffing. They will be implemented in the course of 2005, or once the senior management committee has approved them. I recognize that these are essential levers that will not only serve to define the CTC’s organizational culture, but will also influence employee dedication to our official language obligations.

The new official languages policy and guidelines will be distributed to all CTC employees via e-mail, and will also be available on the intranet. As well, new employees will be informed of the policy and guidelines at their orientation sessions. At the next employee retreat, scheduled for June 2005, the Official Languages Co-ordinator will hold a workshop on the implementation of the policy and guidelines, particularly on the CTC’s commitment to promoting not only the use of French and English, but also to enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities.

Among other measures, articles about the different aspects of official languages will continue to appear in the CTC's internal newsletter. Indeed, the audit results will be covered in the next issue.

Recommendation 2

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission’s next action plan, which will be submitted to Canadian Heritage in 2006, and which must be approved by its Executive Committee, include clear objectives and specific activities with implementation schedules and performance indicators that are designed to support the economic development of official language minority communities, promote the use of English and French in Canadian society, and project the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

In order to prepare its plan of action for implementation of section 41, the CTC will ensure representatives of official language minority communities (OLMCs) are in attendance during the CTC’s cross-country tour to discuss its programs. OLMC representatives will also be invited to meet CTC staff to discuss their tourism programs with a view to potential partnerships, as all CTC projects are carried out in the form of partnerships and are in line with strategic and business plans approved by the Board of Directors.

The plan of action will inform Canadian Heritage of objectives and actions to be taken, including timetables and associated performance indicators. The plan of action will be approved by the senior management committee before being submitted to Canadian Heritage in March 2006.

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission develop a strategy to create interest among official language minority communities to submit partnership proposals, and develop selection criteria that take into account the specific situations of these communities.

It goes without saying that the planned meetings with OLMC representatives during the CTC tour will provide an opportunity to convey to them more information about the CTC’s mandate and activities. As a result, partnership proposals from OLMC tourism entrepreneurs and stakeholders will be more substantial and targeted, which will put more OLMCs into a position of being able to participate in partnerships and other business opportunities offered by the CTC and its partners. In light of these discussions, during 2005 the CTC will work on developing a strategy aimed at increasing OLMC participation in such opportunities.

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. inform all its partners of its obligations under section 41 of the Official
    Languages Act
    ; and
  2. add, to its project selection criteria, the impact on the economic development of official language minority communities, on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, and on the projection of the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Partnership agreements under some areas of the Canada Program already inform signatories of the CTC’s Official Languages Act obligations. The CTC will immediately extend these provisions so as to inform all its partners of its obligations under section 41 of the Act. It should be noted, however, as you mentioned in your preliminary report, that CTC partners are not subject to the Act and that some feel that a clause imposing obligations on them relative to implementation of section 41 of the Act could be detrimental to them. As you know, these agreements are purely commercial in nature and the CTC must work with private sector partners in order to fulfill its legal and organizational mandates.

Recommendation 5 and 6

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission enhance its exposure to official language minority communities to not only learn more about them, but also to familiarize them with CTC’s mandate and activities and its obligations under Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission adopt a formal consultation mechanism to determine the specific needs of official language minority communities for economic development, and that it consider the results of these consultations in its strategic planning.

As noted earlier, the meetings with OLMC representatives that will take place during the CTC tour in June will provide an opportunity for the CTC to give more information to these eventual partners about its activities and mandate. The consultations will also lay the foundation for continued dialogue between the CTC and tourism-related entrepreneurs and stakeholders from OLMCs, and will build connections with federal government economic development agencies responsible for implementing section 41.

Recommendation 7

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. take advantage of its written communications with the public in Canada and abroad to project Canada’s linguistic duality, by presenting it as a key Canadian value and a competitive advantage;
  2. take the necessary steps to make all its Web sites bilingual, to issue more bilingual publications (especially its annual report), to include a statement in unilingual publications that the other version is available, and to put its bilingual logo on all its publications and those produced in partnership; and
  3. adopt guidelines governing its communications activities, and establish appropriate mechanisms for increased staff awareness and training.

The CTC will endeavour to promote Canada’s bilingual character in its publications, both in Canada and abroad. In addition, the CTC will ensure that its Web sites respect Government On-Line (GOL) guidelines on language. The content on www.travelcanada.ca, a site aimed at consumers around the world, has been rewritten and the translation of the new text is nearly completed. All French language texts should be loaded to the site by July. Because the site is available in some 10 languages, visitors are asked to click on their country of origin on the home page. If Canada is selected, the visitor is then asked to select the official language of their choice. But to move from the French language site to the English-language site, the user must go back to the home page once again. We will try to simplify this process during the current revamping of the site. Regarding the www.canadameetings.com Web site, it is a product developed by our office in the United States and aimed exclusively at Americans. We will re-examine the site with a view to promoting Canada’s bilingual character.

Also, the previously mentioned guidelines on publications will include directives on using the bilingual signature and logo, as well as the inclusion in unilingual versions of a reference to the availability of the other language version. The 2004 Annual Report, meanwhile, will be published in a bilingual version, as are a growing number of publications produced by the CTC.

Recommendation 8

The Commissioner recommends that the Canadian Tourism Commission:

  1. establish formal follow-up and monitoring mechanisms to ensure that it meets its linguistic obligations; and
  2. establish mechanisms to periodically measure its performance and that of its managers in regards to the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act.

The official languages policy now being prepared by the CTC will include a monitoring mechanism as well as an accountability framework. These measures will enable the CTC to ensure that policy provisions are implemented and that the organization complies with its language obligations.

I hope this information is useful and reflects the commitment and efforts of our organization, in spite of its commercial mandate, towards respecting both its obligations relative to the Official Languages Act and to fostering the vitality of official language communities throughout Canada.

Sincerely,

Michele McKenzie
President & Chief Executive Officer

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Appendix B: Our response to the Canadian Tourism Commission ’s action plan

Overall, we are satisfied with the measures proposed by the CTC to implement the audit recommendations, with the exception of its response to Recommendations 4b) and 7b).

We recognize that the CTC does not provide grants. Nevertheless, the funds invested in partnership projects with public and private sectors constitute federal funds. It is by using this lever that the Commission fulfills its legislative mandates, including the one relevant to section 41 of Part VII of the Official Languages Act. We are therefore of the opinion that CTC must follow-up on Recommendation 4b) by factoring the impact on the economic development of official language minority communities, the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, and the projection of the bilingual character of Canada abroad into its project selection criteria.

Concerning Recommendation 7b), which deals—among other things—with the Web site www.canadameetings.com, we believe that even though it was developed by CTC’s office in the United States and targets the American market, it remains a Government site. Therefore, this site must be available in both official languages, as required by the Official Languages Act, and it must respect the directives related to Government On-line.

Finally, the Commission will need more than willingness to respect not only the spirit, but also the letter of the Official Languages Act. To do this, we are convinced that the full implementation of the eight recommendations would allow the Commission to adequately meet its obligations under section 41 of Part VII of the Act.

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Appendix C: Audit objectives and criteria

Objectives

Criteria

Objective 1

The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) is committed to enhancing the vitality of the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities of Canada and supporting their development.

The CTC is committed to fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society and projecting the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Criterion 1

The CTC has developed, implemented, and disseminated an internal policy or guidelines that reflect the Government’s commitment to enhance the vitality of the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities of Canada and support their development, to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society, and to project the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Managers are properly and regularly informed of the existence of an official languages policy.

Managers are aware of the CTC’s obligations under the Official Languages Act.

Staff members, including employees working in other countries, are informed and aware of the CTC’s obligations with respect to the development of official language minority communities.

There is a mechanism for ensuring that federal organizations working with the CTC meet the requirements of Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

Employees have the skills to perform this function.

The CTC’s organizational culture reflects linguistic duality and presents the promotion of English and French in an equitable manner through its activities.

Objective 2

The CTC has put into place and activities to enhance the vitality of the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities of Canada and support their development.

The CTC fosters the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society and projects the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Criterion 2

The CTC has established a means of contributing to the vitality of the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities of Canada and supporting their development, as well as fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society and projecting the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Promotional methods used by the CTC include advertising, publications, the Internet, and so on.

The CTC deals with central agencies (Canadian Heritage and the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada), which are responsible under the Official Languages Act for co-ordinating and auditing the activities of federal institutions with regard to Part VII of the Act, and the Privy Council Office, which has a co-ordinating role for official languages, in particular the implementation of the Government’s Action Plan on Official Languages.

Objective 3

The CTC formally consults official language minority communities to determine their specific needs in the area of economic development.

Criterion 3

The CTC formally consults official language minority communities to determine their needs.

The CTC takes the results of these consultations into account when establishing programs and partnership agreements.

The communities are satisfied with the consultations and results.

Objective 4

The CTC takes into account both components of Part VII of the Official Languages Act (promotion and vitality) in its partnerships with the public and private sectors.

Criterion 4

The CTC’s official languages policy makes a clear distinction between promotion of English and French in Canadian society and the vitality of official language minority communities.

Managers are well aware of this distinction and take it into account in their partnerships with the public and private sectors.

Objective 5

The CTC monitors its performance with respect to the Government of Canada’s commitment to enhance the vitality of the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities of Canada and support their development, to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society, and to project the bilingual character of Canada abroad.

Criterion 5

A monitoring mechanism exists and the results are used in managing the implementation of Part VII of the Official Languages Act, in performance reports, and in performance appraisals of the appropriate managers.