ARCHIVED - Audit of the Community Futures Development Corporations and Community Business Development Corporations - Follow-up – Western Economic Diversification Canada

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August 2008

At the time of the audit, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) indicated that it was satisfied with the action plan developed by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to address the problem areas identified in the three recommendations of the final audit report. These recommendations focused on the following:

  • establishing an official mechanism whereby members of the official language minority community who visit a Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) that serves small towns with a significant minority-language population are informed of where they can obtain comparable services in their own language;
  • defining performance indicators in WD’s action plan on Part VII of the Official Languages Act in order to evaluate the measures taken and the results attained by CFDCs and Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs) with respect to the vitality and development of official language minority communities;
  • evaluating the performance of managers with respect to official languages during the annual assessment process.

The analysis of WD’s progress by Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) notes the following achievements:

  • WD has established agreements with its service network partners stipulating that if members of the official language minority community contact a corporation and it does not have the capacity to provide services in both official languages, they are informed of the office where comparable services can be obtained in their official language of choice.
  • WD and the Service Network partners in each region have worked to identify regionally relevant referral mechanisms, and regional action plans have been developed to improve Service Network partner referral services. Initial observations indicate that the referral relationship has improved. In May 2007, three of the members of the Western Canada Business Service Network in British Columbia (Community Futures British Columbia, Small Business BC and the Societé de développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique) signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate greater cooperation between the organizations and their collective members.
  • Executive performance management agreements that contain performance goals and performance indicators on official languages have been put in place. WD managers are also held accountable for their official languages obligations through the Corporate Human Resources Plan and the Corporate Business Plan. For example, the Department’s designated bilingual office, the Ottawa Liaison Office, has integrated specific official languages responsibilities into its annual business plan.

However, there is one recommendation that OCOL considers to be only partially implemented.

Recommendation 11

That Western Economic Diversification Canada define performance indicators in its action plan on Part VII of the Official Languages Act in order to evaluate the measures taken and the results attained by Community Futures Development Corporations and Francophone Economic Development Organizations with respect to the vitality and development of official language minority communities.

Work teams have been established, and meetings at the assistant deputy minister level and working level meetings were held in the fall of 2007 with FEDOs and CFDCs to develop performance indicators. However, WD has not given any indication of how much progress has been made beyond those meetings, nor of the timeframe for the completion of the performance indicators. The indicators should be part of WD’s action plan on Part VII to evaluate the measures taken and the results attained by the FEDOs and CFDCs with respect to the vitality and development of official language minority communities. OCOL calls upon senior management’s leadership and commitment to ensure the full implementation of this recommendation.