Archived - Linguistic Audit of the Individual Training and Education System of the Canadian Forces, Department of National Defence

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Highlights

The Individual Training and Education (IT&E) system in the Canadian Forces (CF) is a key element that supports the CF in meeting its operational mandate and international commitments abroad. The IT&E system trains men and women to perform more than 150 military occupations in the CF. This training system touches the lives of all military members and must be managed with utmost respect for individual rights and aspirations, including language of work rights as stipulated in the Official Languages Act.

This audit set out to determine to what extent the current IT&E system within the CF complies with the Act for requirements related to the language of work (Part V) and equitable participation (Part VI). We wanted to verify whether the processes and systems in place ensure that military members can be trained in their official language of choice (Part V) and that there are no systemic barriers to the employment or advancement of Anglophones or Francophones with respect to their choice of language for occupational training (Part VI). The audit objectives and criteria are presented in the methodology section of this report as well as in Appendix B.

The audit began in June 2008 and fact gathering occurred between September 2008 and January 2009. It included visits and interviews in CF training establishments and at National Defence Headquarters. The audit team met with more than 600 people during the audit, including 250 students from all environments of the CF. A dozen pilots from other countries being trained as NATO fighter pilots at Air Force training facilities were also interviewed.

The audit team used a systemic approach to audit the IT&E system. The goal was not to verify one school's compliance compared to another's or to encourage comparisons among the training establishments it visited. Rather, we used an approach that focused on the processes and systems in place for IT&E as a whole. The audit examined, within the CF's structure and operations, the required controls to ensure compliance with the Act. These controls became the audit criteria against which the CF's performance was measured. It is believed that this approach was best suited to diagnose any implementation problems related to official languages and to recommend lasting solutions for compliance with the Act.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has analyzed language of training many times over the years. These analyses demonstrated that many issues prevent the CF from being fully compliant with the Act in the area of IT&E. This audit showed that some issues are still present today, notably the shortage of linguistically qualified instructors and an inability to provide all teaching materials in both official languages.

First, the audit showed that there were deficiencies in strategic and operational planning leading up to the preparation of IT&E plans. Such deficiencies hindered the CF's capacity to anticipate accurately the number of courses needed to meet demand in both official languages and to ensure that waiting times for courses in either official language were kept to a minimum. Similarly, we found that the CF is facing serious problems in ensuring that there are enough linguistically qualified instructors to meet the demand for training in the official language of choice of the students.

Second, with regard to the management framework and actual delivery of courses, the findings reveal there is room for improvement. Official languages are not yet integrated as a vital component of the IT&E management framework. Furthermore, the CF is still not able to provide all teaching materials in both official languages. There are also major issues related to the impact of operational requirements on language of instruction, such as the training of pilots. As well, while the CF is aware that its approach to teaching must become more learner-centric and while various initiatives, such as distance learning and greater use of computer technology, are underway to vary the teaching methods used, the CF must integrate official languages more explicitly as one of the anticipated results to be achieved in curriculum development and establish performance measures accordingly.

The third area of examination focused on the recruiting, assignment and promotion policies and practices to ensure that they are not a hindrance to the hiring and advancement of military members from both official language groups. The findings revealed that basic recruit training and new officer training is carried out in both official languages. However, the CF has serious difficulties posting members who have completed their training in one language and who are looking to pursue their career in the same language. Furthermore, while efforts are currently underway to ensure that senior leadership roles are exercised by linguistically qualified senior officers, too many of these senior officers, including commandants of national training establishments, still do not meet the language requirements of their rank.

Finally, the audit showed that, while second-language training should be viewed as a critical component of the success of IT&E from an official languages point of view, it is still not integrated into IT&E planning and career management well enough to achieve maximum benefits. However, recent efforts by the Director of Official Languages to ensure that better integration is achieved were noted. Furthermore, other problems, such as accessibility to second-language training, the wide use of the so-called functional level of linguistic competency to meet most requirements for bilingualism, and maintaining second-language skills once acquired, still limit the potential benefits this program could bring to IT&E.

It is important to note that this IT&E audit was undertaken in a context where the National Defence official languages program is being renewed under the Official Languages Program Transformation Model (2007–2012). The audit touched on some of the initiatives covered by the Transformation Model. The analysis from an IT&E point of view showed that deficiencies exist in some areas covered by the model and that these deficiencies could prevent the CF from achieving its intended targets. These areas include second-language training and retention, and the availability of linguistically qualified instructors.

It should be noted that CF representatives were extremely cooperative during the course of the audit. In fact, from the outset, the CF expressed a desire to participate fully in this audit. The Office of the Commissioner also received the support of senior CF officials to ensure the audit's success.

CF officials believe in the strategic importance of the IT&E system from an official languages standpoint. The CF also sees this audit as an instrument of change with respect to the delivery of this important training system across the organization. To this end, a CF action plan is attached to the final audit report. The plan includes measures the CF intends to take over 24 months to implement this report's recommendations. The Office of the Commissioner intends to carry out the necessary follow-up on the various CF initiatives.

The Commissioner is making 20 recommendations to the CF with a view to improving IT&E management from an official languages point of view within the organization. A list of these recommendations is found in Appendix C.

1. Introduction

The Individual Training and Education (IT&E) system that is the object of this audit supports the Canadian Forces (CF) operational mandate and helps the CF meet its international commitments abroad. The IT&E system trains men and women in more than 150 military occupations to ensure that they are competent to do their jobs. It touches every military member not only upon entry into the CF but also throughout their careers as they progress in their chosen fields.

The IT&E system places a large burden of responsibility on the CF by ensuring that it trains everyone to the highest degree possible. The system also places responsibility on students, who must achieve high standards in their chosen fields. As well, the CF must undertake training with the utmost respect for individual rights and aspirations and with respect for language-of-work rights, as stipulated in the Official Languages Act. Careers are at stake and, as we saw on numerous occasions during this audit, emotions can run high when things go wrong. We have repeated many times in this report that, if an individual's official languages rights are not respected during the first years of training, an individual's language of work rights and opportunities for advancement could be affected for the rest of his or her career.

During this audit we met more than 600 people of which 250 were students. As a result, we had many opportunities to examine individual cases. We learned of many stories of hard work and success and also stories of difficulty and hardship. While we did not visit the 24 training establishments to hear individual complaints, complaints did surface, which raised our awareness about individual rights as they pertain to language of instruction. We have highlighted individual comments and suggestions as quotations throughout this audit report while maintaining the anonymity of the individuals involved. Others, such as the National Defence Ombudsman, have also identified problems concerning language of instruction. We have met with officials from the Ombudsman's office on official languages matters identified during their own investigations. We kept these in mind during our visits.

Our visits were also an opportunity to learn from those involved directly in IT&E on how best to resolve issues from an official languages point of view that have plagued the CF. This was our main goal: to understand the workings of IT&E from a systems and process point of view and propose recommendations to improve these systems from an official languages point of view. Our aim was to ensure lasting results, thereby achieving the Commissioner's strategic objective to influence the behaviour of institutions.

Many good ideas flowed from our discussions with CF officials and we thank all who gave their time and energy. We found that there is a strong desire among all ranks to find solutions and be innovative, an example being the recent initiatives to transform the official languages program within National Defence. This initiative covers a large array of official languages matters and is intended to take place over a five-year period.

We understand that correcting the problems identified in this audit will not happen overnight, especially considering the magnitude and complexity of IT&E. However, we were impressed by the CF's commitment to this process. From the outset, the CF was extremely cooperative and expressed a desire to participate fully in the audit, which is seen as an instrument of change in the delivery of this very important training system in both official languages. It is in this spirit that the 20 recommendations emanating from this audit, as well as the resulting action plan that accompanies this final report, are formulated.

2. Background and history

The audit function within the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages examines in greater detail systemic issues related to the implementation of the Official Languages Act and formulates recommendations with a view to helping federal institutions better comply with the Act. Because of the strategic importance of IT&E, the CF was chosen in the framework of our three-year audit plan and, more specifically, in our 2007–2008 annual plan. National Defence and the CF were already the subject of a language audit in 2006–2007 for the language of work (Part V) at National Defence, Ottawa Headquarters. This linguistic audit of the IT&E system is part of this continuity with respect to the use of official languages in the workplace within the CF.

The CF is among the institutions most at risk from a language of work perspective. The institution's performance report card in the Commissioner's 2006–2007 annual report showed that the CF received a very low rating. This was mostly due to the difficulty the CF has in creating a workplace conducive to the effective use of English and French as languages of work.

The Office of the Commissioner has analyzed the language of occupational training in the CF many times. At the time of its 1977 audit, Francophones were receiving almost all their military training in English. In his report to the Governor in Council in 1987, the Commissioner then emphasized that, even though progress had been made on basic training courses, the availability of courses in both languages significantly decreased as the level of skill and specialization increased. The special study of 1989, also conducted by the Office of the Commissioner, revealed that the CF did not have sufficient human resources and translation capacity to provide the majority of occupational training in French. Finally, in the investigation report of 2006, the Commissioner recommended that the CF increase the number of training personnel able to teach in French by providing them with second-language training or by using training resources outside the CF.

Over the last few years, complaints related to language of work and equitable participation have represented a significant share of admissible complaints against the CF. In the last three years, out of the 60 complaints related to language of work and equitable participation, at least 50% were related to IT&E. Moreover, some of these complaints were highlighted by the media, which attracted even more attention.

The IT&E system that is the subject of this audit is at the heart of the operational mandate of the CF. In its document on the IT&E strategic framework, the CF states that the system's goal is to "provide individual training and education at the right time, and at an acceptable cost so that personnel is able to meet operational needs." In another section of the document, one of the desired effects of IT&E is explained as "the timely assignment of military personnel with the relevant skills, to the right location and at the right time, throughout their career in the CF." It is clear that IT&E greatly contributes to achieving the primary mandate of the CF with regard to protection, defence and international peace.

However, the current context in which the IT&E system operates makes it more difficult to meet these objectives. The CF is undergoing a transformation as the Cold War has been replaced by new threats such as worldwide terrorist movements and increased interstate tension. The CF must respond to these threats. Furthermore, the CF aims to increase in size at a time when there is an accelerated operational tempo and an alarming attrition rate among baby boomers.

It is important to note also that this IT&E system audit was undertaken in a context in which the National Defence official languages program is being renewed. In October 2006, the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Deputy Minister announced the Official Languages Program Transformation Model (2007–2012) to fully meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act and National Defence operations. This new approach was established pursuant to the principle set out in the National Defence Act, which requires that the CF manage its personnel "by unit and not by position." This new functional approach aims to better target the needs of the working groups (CF units). It also allows more flexibility when assigning duties within these groups. One of the objectives of this new approach is "to ensure that linguistically qualified civilian and military personnel are provided in the right place and at the right time to effectively support CF operations and to comply with the OLA [Official Languages Act]."Footnote 1 This audit addresses several areas of the Official Languages Program Transformation Model that have a bearing on IT&E.

3. Audit objectives and legislative framework

IT&E is the system that provides accreditation in over 150 military occupations to military members, allowing them to be deployed in a military conflict anywhere in the world. Every military member, whether assigned to administrative duties in Ottawa or as an instructor at a training establishment, must be accredited in a military profession or field. From an official languages standpoint, if this system were to fail and not meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, it could negatively impact the advancement opportunities of military members and their capacity to exercise their rights with regard to language of work for the duration of their career.

Therefore, the CF should ensure that IT&E is not only delivered at the right time and the right place, but also in accordance with the objectives of the Act. It is clear that, to meet language of work requirements and provide equitable access to advancement and employment to military members, IT&E should be accessible in the participant's official language of choice.

For this reason, the audit focused on Parts V and VI of the Act. In Part V, the Act requires federal institutions to create a work environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages in the National Capital Region and in designated regions. Section 36 stipulates that personal and central services must be provided in both official languages in all locations set out by the Act. To take into account the unique character of the CF within the federal government and the CF's special training, assignment and employment system, the CF established the CF Unit Designation Framework to meet its language of work requirements. This framework provides for English language units (ELUs), French language units (FLUs) and bilingual units (BUs). The ELUs offer Anglophones the opportunity to work in their first official language; FLUs offer Francophones the opportunity to work in French; and BUs, located anywhere in Canada, use both English and French as their language of work. Examples of BUs are CF training establishments. With respect to the definition of personal services, the CF indicated that it must be able to lead, train and manage its personnel in both official languages. Training in one's own language is considered a right. Therefore, training establishments are required to have training capacity in both official languages.

To comply with Part VI, Anglophones and Francophones must not encounter any obstacles to their employment and advancement in federal institutions. Therefore, the CF must ensure that there are no systemic barriers to the employment and advancement of Anglophones and Francophones related to IT&E planning and delivery.

4. Description of Individual Training and Education

It is important to define at the outset what is meant by IT&E and differentiate between this type of training, which is targeted at individuals, and what is known as collective training, which is not part of this audit. We will revisit this issue in the "Audit scope" section. The definitions for these types of training are as follows:

"Individual training and education include training activities for individual members of the CF aimed at providing the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to perform the assigned duties or with regard to which information may be correctly interpreted and soundly judged."

"Collective training involves training, excluding IT&E, designed to prepare groups, units and other components to perform military duties according to set standards. Collective training includes the learning of procedures and the practical application of doctrines, plans and procedures in order to acquire and maintain tactical, operational and strategic capabilities."Footnote 2

Individual training prepares military personnel to perform at their rank or in one of the military fields, whereas collective training prepares these individuals to operate in a group or unit in a deployment situation. Collective training includes training on ships involved in rescue exercises or simulations of evacuation exercises in the event of an alert or fire in a work environment.

IT&E is provided throughout the CF, costing approximately $1.6 billion a year, including military personnel salaries. The CF is divided into four commands: Navy, Army, Air Force and the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP). Each command represents a distinctive service. The CF includes close to 68,000 members of which half are in the Land Force. Francophones make up 27.6% of the CF. There are also some 40,000 reservists with a mandate to support and reinforce our deployed forces.

As for facilities that provide IT&E, there are more than 42 national training establishments spread throughout Canada. The CF provides about 1,500 courses per year across the three forces and the CMP Command, which has designated the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) as its training authority. Training courses are generally classified as either basic courses leading to the required accreditations for assignment to any unit, or specialized or more advanced courses that are provided throughout a soldier's career to enable him or her to develop skills and take on more specialized functions. A little less than 40,000 trainees take courses every year.

Among the CF units that focus on training is the CDA, located in Kingston, Ontario. One of its missions is "[t]o lead Canadian Forces professional development, uphold the profession of arms and champion lifelong learning to enable operational success."Footnote 3 The CDA defines itself as a coordinator of individual training and education, with more than 4,000 members. The CDA exercises the role of IT&E functional authority on behalf of the CMP for all of the training provided in the CF, and operates 10 schools located in Kingston, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Borden, Gatineau and Toronto. The CDA is specifically responsible for training common to the three forces, as well as the Canadian Forces Language School, the Royal Military College of Canada, the Canadian Forces College, the Professional Development Centre and the Canadian Forces Support Training Group.

It should also be noted that the CF has various policies, directives and Defence Administrative Orders on official languages and on the IT&E system. We paid particular attention to these documents and focused our attention on language of training in the official language of choice and on access to second-language training. Most of these documents are referenced in this report and many are in the process of being revised. We took such revisions into account during the audit.

5. Audit scope

As previously mentioned, this audit is limited in scope. We have distinguished between individual and collective training in the military, as these training types are quite different—one tailored to individuals to prepare them for their careers and the other to a group according to its deployment. For this audit, our mandate is limited to individual training.

Reservists' support and reinforcement role limits their access to positions within the CF and their length of employment is often quite short. There are also many differences in planning, assignments and deployments between regular military personnel and reservists. Our audit criteria specifically focused on regular military personnel. That said, reservists sometimes take training courses offered to regular ranking military personnel. Therefore, the CF could examine the extent to which our observations and recommendations can be applied to reservists' circumstances.

This audit is also limited to national training establishments. These are the institutions that military personnel must attend to obtain IT&E accreditation. Other training establishments are not linked to IT&E, as they are often associated with collective training or provide training very specific to a particular service. An example would be the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre Land Force Doctrine in Wainwright, Alberta, where preparation for deployment overseas is given to land force personnel.

Finally, we visited 24 training establishments during this audit, where we interviewed personnel. These establishments were located at 11 CF bases throughout Canada, with a student population of approximately 17,800, of which 27% was Francophone. (The training establishments are listed in Appendix A.) These establishments offered nearly 500 courses, of which half fell into the basic-course category. We met with IT&E functional authorities in the various environments (Navy, Army, Air Force and the CDA) as well as individuals and groups at National Defence Headquarters involved in IT&E. In all, we met with more than 600 people, including close to 250 students from all environments and more than a dozen pilots from other countries involved in NATO training at Air Force facilities in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Cold Lake, Alberta.

The students we met openly discussed their concerns and experiences with the IT&E system. The voices of these students are heard throughout the audit report and provide a snapshot of their perceptions and experiences.

Finally, a large volume of IT&E-related documentation was gathered and analyzed based on the audit criteria.

6. Methodology

A systemic approach was used to audit IT&E. Our goal was not to verify a training establishment's compliance compared to another or encourage comparisons among the institutions we visited. Rather, we used an approach that focused on the processes and systems in place for IT&E as a whole. We examined, within IT&E's structure and operations, the required controls to ensure compliance with the Official Languages Act. These became the audit criteria against which we measured the CF's performance. Given the recurrent official languages problems linked to the implementation of IT&E over the years, we believed this approach was best to get to the heart of implementation problems from an official languages perspective and to recommend lasting solutions that would lead to compliance with the Act.

First, with the assistance of the CF, we mapped IT&E processes and support systems from beginning to end. This helped us to understand clearly how IT&E works as a whole. Next, we determined where control and decision points should be in place to ensure IT&E compliance with the Act. Our visits, interviews and document analysis helped us subsequently to verify whether IT&E processes and systems were effectively adapted to the Act's requirements.

This IT&E process enabled us to determine the audit controls required. The following are the objectives and criteria for this audit (a list of the audit objectives and criteria can also be found in Appendix B):

Ensure that strategic planning leading to the IT&E plans takes into account the need to provide training in the official language of choice of Canadian Forces members.

  • Verify whether, in the Annual Military Occupational Review process and the preparation of strategic intake and production plans, the number of human resources required is identified while taking into consideration the language designations of the various Canadian Forces units.
  • Verify whether the IT&E plans include an estimate of training needs based on the official language of choice of military personnel.

Ensure that IT&E governance promotes the respect of the official language of choice of non-commissioned members and officers with respect to their training and education.

  • Verify whether the structure and sharing of responsibilities of the various stakeholders support training in the official language of choice.
  • Verify whether training establishments take the necessary measures to integrate training in the official language of choice into their operational planning.
  • Verify whether training in the training establishments is adapted to the language requirements of non-commissioned members and officers.
  • Verify whether the training establishments promote an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.
  • Verify whether the IT&E performance measurement system takes into account the issue of training in the official language of choice.

Ensure that the IT&E system does not negatively impact the employment, posting or advancement of non-commissioned members and officers from both official language groups.

  • Verify whether recruits from both official language groups who want training in their official language of choice are not prejudiced by systemic barriers at the enrolment stage.
  • Verify whether non-commissioned members and officers from the two language groups who took training in their official language of choice are not hindered by systemic barriers in terms of their posting or advancement.

Ensure that language training is provided in a way that increases the language competencies of officers, as provided for in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model.

  • Verify whether IT&E integrates the language training of officers as planned.
  • Verify whether newly trained bilingual officers are assigned to positions requiring the use of both official languages.

The next section contains our findings and subsequent recommendations for each of the identified objectives and criteria.

Finally, we have requested an action plan from the CF, which is included in this final report in Appendix D. The plan includes measures the CF intends to take over a 24-month period to implement the recommendations in this report. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages intends to follow up on the various CF initiatives during this period.

7. Analysis of findings and recommendations

Objective 1

Ensure that strategic planning leading to the IT&E plans takes into account the need to provide training in the official language of choice of Canadian Forces members.

Strategic planning

Each year, the CF undertakes a strategic analysis process to define its human resources needs for the upcoming years. Each environment reviews its operational needs within the framework of the Annual Military Occupational Review (AMOR). This review is based on the Military Occupational Structure (MOS) as defined by the directives of the CMP. This structure includes the breakdown of the various occupational categories of the Regular Force, including each group and sub-group. The MOS also provides framework to produce occupational specifications as well as job and training requirements for each group and sub-group identified in this structure. The CF is in the process of reviewing these specifications. More than 1,200 of the 6,000 required specifications had been reviewed at the time of the audit.

The AMOR exercise results in production and strategic intake plans. In short, these plans define the internal (internal movement of staff) and external (recruitment) production sources required to meet operational needs. These plans span many years and their success depends on internal training capacity, attrition, early retirements and the success or lack of recruitment efforts. For some functions, second-language training must also be taken into consideration, which could delay assignments to specific fields for certain CF members after their basic training. We were informed that only lawyers currently fall within this category, given the requirement that they be bilingual from the outset of their assignments.

With regard to official languages, the process used to forecast human resources requirements as well as the resulting production documents do not take into account the language designation of the various CF units. For example, it may be foreseen that 250 new resource management systems (RMS) clerks will be needed over the next few years to meet demand; but this forecast will not take into account how many will be required to meet the linguistic needs of the various CF units. Such information, if it were available, would enable the CF to determine whether the linguistic capacity would suffice to meet identified needs. Put another way, if a shortfall were identified, the CF would have an idea of the weight it would be placing on the language training system.

It is with this in mind that the proposal put forward by the Director of Official Languages (DOL) for the 2009–2010 process should be understood. While waiting for the language designation of military functions to be completed, the DOL proposes that an interim measure be taken in the AMOR process that consists of quantifying second official language education and training (SOLET) needs. The following statement can be read in the DOL's October 8, 2008, directive addressed to the AMOR chairs:

"[…] AMOR chairpersons are requested to consider what occupational positions/jobs require second official language capability and, as an estimate, identify how many members of the occupation(s) under review may be available for SOLET in order to satisfy this requirement."

We support this initiative, as it integrates into the AMOR process a language component, and a component of this type is required to plan the official languages needs in various occupations. That said, this component must be integrated on a permanent basis.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces permanently integrate the identification of language requirements into the Annual Military Occupational Review process in order to take the necessary measures to address the shortage of linguistically qualified personnel, as required.

Operational planning

To commence our analysis of operational planning, we will make a link to the AMOR process described in the previous section. Once the CMP makes the decisions related to recruitment and expected internal production, each environment must undertake the necessary steps to ensure it produces a sufficient number of individuals with the capabilities to meet the identified requirement. It is at this point that the IT&E authorities of each environment, in cooperation with the training establishments involved, produce the specific IT&E plans for each institution for the upcoming year. It is also at this stage that, for the first time in the process, the issue of offering courses in one or both official languages comes into play. We have noted that these IT&E plans reflect mainly the capacity of the training establishments to deliver courses.

From the point of view of the requirements of the Official Languages Act this approach poses some problems. First, there is no assurance that the number of courses offered will meet the demand—even less so for courses in French. Simply put, the number of training courses is limited greatly by the number of available resources. This reality is further exacerbated by the application of minimum loading levels for pedagogical reasons for certain courses. For instance, if, to deliver a course in English or French, a minimum number of students is required, and this number is not reached, the course might not be given.

For courses offered in French this is more of a problem as there are fewer enrolments. As a result, training establishments either offer courses solely in English or adopt an administrative measure known as Language Assist to offset the demand. Language Assist is applied most often when training is given in English to French-speaking students. The students are given technical assistance in French to help them understand the concepts. Language Assist usually consists of a Francophone instructor assigned to a Francophone student to provide explanations in French as required, or of documentation in French for the student to help with his or her understanding. In the training establishments we visited, we estimated that 50% of the courses offered fell into this category. Furthermore, in discussions with students to see whether they actually received language assistance when the course was given in their second language, a quarter of Francophone students indicated that, in fact, they did not receive this kind of support.

"Language assistance is available, but not readily available." [translation] - Francophone student

Second, the loading approach described above makes it difficult to synchronize the schedules of training establishments with the arrival of graduates every 13–15 weeks from the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. By establishing training schedules at the beginning of the year, as is the current practice, there is a risk that training will be delayed for candidates that arrive after courses have commenced. This situation arises frequently and is of considerable concern to various training authorities and establishments. This is especially an issue for courses that are long or offered only once a year. Indeed, our research revealed that many students are affected. In September 2008, there were more than 900 personnel awaiting training (PAT) from all environments. In Borden, in the Post Recruit Education and Training Centre (PRETC), where over 650 of these candidates were posted, more than one-third were Francophones.

In most cases (62%), Anglophone and Francophone candidates awaiting training in their respective occupations were assigned to various projects at several bases throughout the country to gain on-the-job experience. A few (11%) were awaiting a disposition of some sort, such as a medical release. But close to one-third (27%) were waiting on-site for their courses to begin. While a CMP directive stipulates that the waiting period should not last more than 90 days, we noticed during our visits that some candidates were at the PRETC for longer periods. Figures dated February 10, 2009, indicate that 31% of PRETC candidates had been there for more than a year. During our visit to this centre, we were told that Francophones did not have longer waiting periods than Anglophones did. We were also told that the CF dropout rate during the waiting period at PRETC was similar for both language groups. However, there were no statistical data available to support these statements.

"On the personnel awaiting training (PAT), there are Anglophones and Francophones and there are many among us who do not understand each other. We make efforts to understand each other but this does not always work." [translation] - Francophone student

The officers responsible for PAT at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, as well as many candidates themselves, mentioned several times that during these waiting periods it would be beneficial to have access to second-language learning via distance education or by CD-ROM. This would permit members of both linguistic groups to improve their second-language skills. We agree with this suggestion and believe the idea should be pursued. In fact, the Canadian Forces Language School now makes available second-language training using remote access through its Autonomous Language Learning in Interaction with Elements in Synergy (ALLIES) program using the Defence Area Wide Network.

"I suggest that the CF offer French and English lessons or self study programs for students awaiting courses." - Anglophone student

"I had to buy a program on my computer with my own money to try to learn French." - Anglophone student

To return to the issue of operational planning, we believe the primary issue is that the main focus is on the training establishment's capacity to deliver training. To fix this, a planning process would need to be established based more on demand and less on an institution's capacity to offer training. It should be possible, in our view, to anticipate training needs in the various job categories and better synchronize course delivery, thereby improving the effectiveness of IT&E.

Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces use the data from the annual needs analysis process by occupational category in combination with the language designation of the various work units to better plan the number of courses required and to better establish the training schedules of the various establishments in French and English to accommodate language of preference.

Shortage of instructors

To ensure the success of the planning process proposed in Recommendation 2, the human and financial resources to meet the training demand must be found. Our visits revealed that commandants of most training establishments were concerned about this issue. In 90% of the training establishments we visited, the commandants indicated a general shortage of instructors. A high number (83%) of training establishments raised concerns about a lack of instructors capable of working in both official languages. We also noticed that, in most of these establishments (80%), it was the Francophone instructors who were bilingual and capable of working in both official languages. These findings corroborated numerous comments from instructors and commandants that the delivery of training in the members' official language of choice depends on the ability of Francophone instructors to teach in both languages. We were informed that Francophone instructors were either teaching exclusively in one language or teaching in French and English to meet demand, whereas Anglophone instructors taught only in English. In our interviews, some Francophone instructors expressed their concern about having to continue as instructors to the detriment of their operational experience and, ultimately, their promotion opportunities.

Two issues need to be addressed with regard to the shortage of instructors. The first is the staffing priority level granted to training establishments to fill these functions. The staffing level of instructors is currently ranked as priority 3. There are six staffing priority levels. The first is reserved for deployed forces, commitments outside Canada and selected high-readiness units. The second covers critical sustaining and change activities such as recruiting centres and major projects to enhance future operational effectiveness. The third includes education, training and career management. The fourth touches on operational units and the fifth on support to reserves. All other positions are priority 6.

Based on information obtained during the audit, at least 96% of manning is achieved for level 3 priority, 98% for level 2 and 100% for level 1. As for level 6 priority, staffing is at only 85%. We understand that the first three levels are of the utmost importance to the CF and every effort is made to achieve 100% staffing. However, this is not always possible. We maintain that the additional capacity with respect to instructors in training establishments would allow these establishments to more effectively meet their responsibility with regard to language of training in the student's official language of choice. This would be particularly beneficial for training establishments identified as centres of excellence in their field. These training establishments have additional responsibilities with regard to the identification and distribution of technical vocabulary in both official languages and the sharing of best practices. We noticed that the Army was particularly interested in this issue. In January 2007, it distributed a document entitled Centres of Excellence for the Canadian Forces and the Land Force for discussion.

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces ensure that the staffing priority assigned to education always be included in the first three priority staffing levels, and that as much effort as possible be devoted to staffing instructor positions, with a view to increasing the capacity to deliver and support training in the member's official language of choice.

The second issue with respect to the shortage of linguistically qualified instructors is the appearance that Francophone instructors do more than their share of working in their second language. This has been the case for a long time. In fact, in 1989, a previous commissioner mentioned this in his special investigation report entitled The Language of Occupational Training in the Canadian Forces (see pages 15–19). It is time that the CF deal with the perception of lack of fairness affecting Francophone instructors who are seen to be burdened with most of the responsibility of delivering training in members' official language of choice. There should be a sufficient number of instructors from both language groups to ensure a fair distribution of the workload.

"In my opinion, the bilingual instructors are always Francophones who have learned the English language." [translation] - Francophone student

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that each year the training authorities, the commandants of the training establishments and the career managers identify the number of instructors required for each occupational category in order to meet the training needs in both official languages, and take the necessary measures with regard to language training to offset the lack of linguistically qualified instructors, as needed.

Objective 2

Ensure that IT&E governance promotes the respect of the official language of choice of non-commissioned members and officers with respect to their training and education.

IT&E management framework

The Defence Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD 5031-2) entitled IT&E Management Framework currently under review by the CDA describes in detail the responsibilities and accountabilities of the various stakeholders with regard to IT&E. We analyzed two versions, one dated October 22, 2007, and the other July 28, 2008. Both documents contain the definition of terms related to IT&E, the broad principles of governance and operations, and a table detailing the responsibilities of each person involved in the process. For example, we discovered that each environment is responsible for implementing IT&E in its areas of responsibility. We also learned that the CMP is responsible for overall coordination and that the CDA is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing IT&E programs, including leadership programs and various IT&E policies, throughout the CF. The CDA is also responsible for common training programs for the various environments as well as professional development programs within the CF. However, only in the first version of this order is the DOL's responsibilities with regard to language of training specified in the table of responsibilities.

These responsibilities include developing, promulgating and updating policies for language of training with regard to IT&E, and for order DAOD 5039-2 concerning language of instruction, which is also currently under review. There is no reference to the DOL or the order about language of training in the most recent version of DAOD 5031-2. Furthermore, there are no references in either of the two versions of DAOD 5031-2 to the fact that language of training is an essential factor in the success of IT&E in the CF.

Therefore, official languages are not expressly integrated into the IT&E management framework. However, there are many places where references to official languages could be incorporated. First, in the section describing the operating principles, the issue of official languages could be added when referring to the considerations that ensure effective implementation of IT&E. Second, in the section about the outcomes to be achieved, training in the student's official language of choice could be added as one of the expected outcomes. Next, in the section about performance measurement, official languages could be added as an additional element to be measured. Finally, in the table detailing the responsibilities of IT&E functional authorities in the various services, the responsibility of ensuring the delivery of language training in both official languages could be referenced in the implementation of IT&E.

The two versions of the order we analyzed also refer to the governance committees for all professional development and IT&E activities within the CF: the CF Professional Development Council and the IT&E Committee. The Council consists of the CMP and his counterparts in the various environments, including the Commandant of the CDA. This committee works at the strategic level by providing broad directions for professional development. The IT&E Committee focuses mainly on coordinating and implementing IT&E and consists of those responsible for IT&E in the various environments, including the CDA. When reviewing the terms of reference for the IT&E Committee, it was noted that it focuses on the IT&E management framework, IT&E coordination throughout the CF and the synchronization and integration of IT&E in keeping with the other CF programs. Moreover, this committee manages professional development programs and ensures that IT&E meets the needs of an integrated and unified CF.

However, as is the case with the latest version of the IT&E DAOD, the terms of reference do not mention official languages. Moreover, the DOL does not participate as a full member of the Committee and does not have observer status. However, it was mentioned during our interviews that, if the DOL wished to discuss an issue related to official languages with the members of the Committee, he could be invited as a guest.

In terms of official languages, this situation is of concern. It is clear that the notion of delivering IT&E in the student's official language of choice is not an issue either in the policy or in the governance structure for IT&E, notwithstanding the fact that we have identified many areas where official languages could be integrated both into the policy and into the IT&E Committee. This issue needs attention since one of the responsibilities of the IT&E Committee is to ensure that IT&E activities meet the needs of an integrated and unified workforce.

Recommendation 5

To be more in line with the need for an integrated and unified workforce, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy complete the review of DAOD 5031-2 in order to better integrate official languages into the IT&E management framework both in the order as such and in the composition and work of the IT&E Committee.

Responsibilities of official languages coordinators

On many occasions, we broached with various individuals the issue of their respective roles and responsibilities in the field as well as the integration of official languages into IT&E-related practices. Through these discussions, we were able to verify that, generally, official languages are perceived as part of administrative management and not as an integrated component of IT&E. The coordinators of official languages on-site at the various bases and training establishments are mainly responsible for administrative matters pertaining to language of service and language of work. Questions pertaining to IT&E often are not within their purview.

However, during our visits to CFB Borden, we witnessed first hand how the intervention of a senior officer responsible for official languages, including language of training, had a positive impact on individuals faced with serious problems relating to language of training. It also reinforced the fact that language of training in one's official language of choice is a full-fledged component of language of work. Furthermore, the fact that these responsibilities are assigned to a senior officer increases the opportunities for intervention at higher levels.

Recommendation 6

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, the Canadian Forces adopt at all training bases and establishments a model similar to that which exists at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, whereby a senior officer is identified as a champion for all official languages matters including language of training.

Other governance issues were raised during our visits that affect the CF's capacity to ensure delivery of training in the official language of choice of military members. These issues include, among others, translation of the various teaching materials, the impact English has as an operational requirement on the language of training and the teaching method used by most training establishments when delivering courses. We will discuss each of these issues in the following sections.

Translation of teaching material

The availability of pedagogical material in both official languages is essential to achieve the CF's linguistic objectives with regard to IT&E. However, during our visits we noticed that the translation issue was at the heart of the problems experienced by training establishments when it came to meeting their linguistic responsibility towards Francophone students. Indeed, our interviews revealed that every training establishment had translation-related problems. On the one hand, there were long turnaround times for documents sent out for translation (usually from 10 to 12 months) and, on the other hand, we were told that in most cases the texts had to be revised to ensure that the terminology met CF requirements and was understood by all in a consistent manner. Most of these texts were related to classroom instruction (e.g. training and lesson plans with regard to the courses offered, supporting documentation such as manuals, audiovisual presentations and reference documents).

"In my opinion, technical vocabulary is often not well translated; therefore it's best to be given the vocabulary in English anyway." - Anglophone student

"The French course is more difficult to follow since the translation of the course manual was not done according to the questions that we are asked in class. They do not coincide." [translation] - Francophone student

Our interviews with representatives of the Translation Bureau (Public Works and Government Services Canada) revealed that translation costs are substantial within the CF. Translation costs for the first 10 months of 2008–2009 amounted to approximately $12 million for National Defence. Moreover, the Translation Bureau informed us that the CF meets only about two-thirds of its translation needs. We were also told that it could be difficult in the future to meet demand as there is a shortage of translators in Canada. This means that the total current translation capacity has reached its limit for the foreseeable future.

Given that the majority of work in training establishments is done in English, translation is often not planned until the end of the writing process, if at all. Therefore, it is often too late to ensure reasonable turnaround times. We noticed that some training establishments faced with this problem would sometimes delay the delivery of modified or updated courses for Francophones. This was the case in eight training establishments in the process of reviewing their course curriculum. In these instances, Francophones received what is known as legacy training (i.e. courses that had not been updated) while Anglophones had access sooner to courses that had been modified to reflect changes in technology and changing use of equipment. At one particular training establishment in Borden, school officials and the senior officer for official languages had discussed this issue of unfairness. From our perspective, legacy training is not acceptable.

However, we believe that solutions are possible for the translation problem. Clearly, translation should be better integrated into the planning process from the beginning when document production and needs are identified. Similarly, setting priorities for the translation of some types of documents could be better thought out. Perhaps more importantly, the work paradigm that drives the preparation of new documents at training establishments should be reviewed. In most cases, where documents are produced on-site, it would be advantageous to consider producing them in both official languages from the very beginning. This approach would offer the advantage of significantly reducing turnaround times for producing documents in both official languages and would also guarantee the use of terminology that meets the CF's needs. We have already suggested this approach to some training establishments and one of them said that it would be willing to try it. However, most establishments mentioned that it would be difficult to proceed this way due to a lack of human resources available to work in French and also because of the additional time it would take to produce these documents simultaneously in both official languages. We disagree with this last argument, since the time and money saved on translating the documents would largely offset the additional time spent writing them.

When we discussed this issue with Translation Bureau representatives they were open to participating, where possible, in simultaneous production in both official languages at the various training establishments.

Recommendation 7

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that:

  1. training establishments improve their practices related to planning and priority setting with regard to the translation of all course material; and
  2. the Canadian Forces undertake negotiations with the Translation Bureau in order to test the practice of producing internal documents simultaneously in both official languages in some training establishments with a view to improving the quality and turnaround time associated with these documents and eventually establishing it as a common practice.

Impact of operational requirements on language of training

As indicated earlier, a recurring theme of our visit was the impact that operational requirements have on language of training. Indeed, this issue was raised in one way or another in the majority of training establishments (58%). It was often raised by the Navy and Air Force, but also by the Land Force, although less often. We heard the argument that, in some fields, particularly in the Navy and Air Force, the operational language is English and therefore it is more efficient and safer to train Francophone members in English while making sure that they have sufficient knowledge of the English language before they take a course. These arguments were mostly made for aircraft crews, air traffic controllers, and operations and communications officers on ships. Nevertheless, we did take note of some views that more training in the candidate's official language of choice should be possible.

In other situations, where maintenance and user guides were available only in English, we were told once again that it is more efficient and safer to train candidates in English. For the most part, these arguments affected aircraft maintenance crews (who also said that it is necessary to communicate with the pilot in English to ensure better operational safety) and the more technical and specialized jobs in the Navy, such as sonar operators. We also encountered this argument in the land force, where we were told that English comprehension is essential in fields dealing with communications and signals, as well as explosives and the transportation of dangerous goods.

With respect to aviation, international conventions are at play. These conventions are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This organization stipulates that communications between the air traffic control tower and aircraft "shall be conducted either in the language of the station on the ground or in English, and that English shall be made available when pilots are unable to use the language of the station on the ground."Footnote 4 Our findings revealed that, when flying in Quebec airspace, communication in French is possible when requested by the pilot. We were informed that military air traffic controllers were given additional training in French if they were to be posted in a tower in Quebec where French could be used, such as in Bagotville. Otherwise, training was all in English.

Another point that needs to be taken into consideration is that, although standardized phraseologies have been developed to cover many situations—these help pilots whose mother tongue is not English, for instance—it is not possible to cover all situations, especially those involving emergencies and to maintain situational awareness in the air as it relates to surrounding aircraft. The ICAO in its Standards and Recommended Practices Concerning Language Proficiency Requirements pointed out the following: "Attempts to delimit the scope of a language will always fail at some point, when the need to communicate a new and unexpected situation exceeds the resources of the artificially constrained language."Footnote 5 The ICAO has also stated that "Even though suitable standards and recommended practices mandating the use of standard phraseologies and the use of the English language for international communications were in place, concern increased regarding the less than desirable English language proficiency levels evident in some high-profile accidents and incidents."Footnote 6

With regard to the Navy, international conventions, which are defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), also exist. The Foreword of the IMO's resolution, adopted in 2001, reads as follows: "In 1973, the Maritime Safety Committee agreed at its twenty-seventh session, that where language difficulties arise, a common language should be used for navigational purposes and that language should be English. In consequence the Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary (SMNV) was developed in 1977 and amended in 1985."Footnote 7 The IMO adopted in 2001 Standard Maritime Phrases for external and on-board communications. It also points out that this standard communication phraseology "builds on a basic knowledge of the English language."Footnote 8 Therefore, while this convention does not preclude the use of any other language on board a ship, it does standardize for safety purposes the communications aspect of its operations by the use of standard English-language phrases.

It is generally accepted that individuals assimilate knowledge better when it is provided in their mother tongue. However, we were often told during visits to the Navy and Air Force that it was nevertheless better to learn the functions related to certain fields in English. Specifically, learning to pilot an aircraft or to operate a ship should be done in English since it is the mandated operational language to maintain safety and efficiency. Even Francophone students with whom we met and who worked in these fields repeated the same message. They informed us that it was preferable to learn in English, assuming one had a sound knowledge of the language. We were told that in emergency situations, where instinctive reactions are required, serious safety issues can arise if someone needs to translate from one language to the other or if language skills are not sufficient to ensure clear and accurate communication. Studies have also demonstrated this to be true.Footnote 9

"My performance was not as good when I studied in English. This almost gave me an inferiority complex."

"I did not have the choice but to learn my trade in my second official language. The Navy is English."

"I learned my trade in my second official language for operational reasons. English is the language of aviation." [translation] - Francophone student

We accept this reality for the Navy and Air Force. We can also see why, in the two environments involved, the Navy and Air Force would want to provide training in English for learning techniques and manoeuvres required to provide an appropriate and immediate response in total safety. But we do not believe the same applies when students learn theory and basic notions in these fields. Instinctive reaction in real time is not at play in learning. Basic knowledge is acquired through the logical integration of abstract notions, which is more effectively understood in an individual's mother tongue. Our visits to Moose Jaw and Cold Lake, where pilots from various NATO countries are trained, helped us corroborate this opinion. In fact, in countries where English is not the everyday language, we were told that candidates mostly learn the theory in their own language until it is necessary to execute manoeuvres and techniques in real time by using designated equipment. We were also told that, before undertaking their NATO pilot training in Moose Jaw, foreign pilots had to take English-immersion courses, often in the United States.

"Pilot training is geared towards the total use of English. It is an international official language in flying with the one exception of Quebec air control. Translated course information should be available to help with students whose official language is not English so that full comprehension is achieved." - Anglophone student

These arguments help us establish some general parameters that could be applied to these fields from an official languages point of view. First, when for safety reasons it can be demonstrated that a candidate must take part of his or her training exclusively in English, we believe that basic qualifications should be obtained in the candidate's official language of choice. We also maintain that during this basic training, Francophones should be given access to the pertinent standard English phraseology, and that before moving on to more advanced training in these fields, they should be given second-language training to a level that ensures they are not at a disadvantage in their second language. With respect to training, it is clear that the current BBB functional language level (proficiency for reading, writing and oral interaction) required may not be sufficient to assimilate the required notions and automatic reactions without major difficulty.

"Aviation training could be improved for Francophones with the following tools: initial courses for students on aviation terminology, listening to live telecommunications, French assistance for the courses involving theory and the possibility of having Francophone instructors." [translation] - Francophone student

Recommendation 8

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, for aviation and naval occupations such as aircraft crewmembers, and operations and communications officers on ships governed by international conventions, the Canadian Forces:

  1. offer basic training in the candidates' official language of choice and during this basic training Francophones be given access to the pertinent English phraseology;
  2. when it is time to move on to more advanced training that requires exercising manoeuvres and techniques in real time by using designated equipment, offer this training in English only in accordance with established conventions; and
  3. ensure that Francophone candidates moving forward to more advanced training have attained a high enough competency level in their second language to fully assimilate the required manoeuvres and techniques.

With regard to technical support fields and other technical fields where we were told that work must be done in English since the terminology only exists in this language, we maintain that the previously mentioned conditions where instinctive reactions are required do not exist to justify giving training in English only. We understand the arguments that it is sometimes difficult or costly to obtain copyrights to translate manufacturers' manuals, and that English is often the language of use, even in the private sector. However, we are of the view that learning in one's mother tongue, enhanced with an English technical vocabulary where necessary, would ensure that Francophones are not disadvantaged in their learning. Furthermore, copyright issues should be raised during the procurement process to ensure that manufacturers' manuals can be translated in both official languages if need be.

"If the course is given in French, the technical terms should be taught the same as in the English course or vice versa. This will allow us to communicate easier once assigned to a unit." - Anglophone student

"It would be an asset to have a bilingual list of aerospace terminology." [translation] - Francophone student

Recommendation 9

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that:

  1. for technical support and other technical occupations, the Canadian Forces have technical course material translated and training offered in French, enhanced by the availability of English technical vocabulary and support for manufacturers' manuals if these cannot be made available in French; and
  2. during the contracting process for the purchase of equipment and machinery, the Canadian Forces require that manufacturers' manuals be translated or acquire copyrights for translation purposes.

The teaching method

There is another problem that has an impact on the capacity of training establishments to offer courses in students' official language of choice: the teaching method. In most cases, the preferred approach is to have a military instructor present the material in a classroom setting. This approach puts a lot of pressure on already limited military human resources. However, it does offer the advantage of putting instructors, who are often returning from an operational experience, in contact with students. Instructors returning from deployment can use real-life scenarios to support their teaching and have a great deal to share with students.

During our visits we noticed that each environment was experimenting in its own fields with alternative methods of delivering courses. We noticed that considerable effort was being made to offer distance learning for some courses, supported by existing technology or simulators. We also noted the use of community colleges, and, in some cases, training establishments offered training contracts to the private sector. However, we found these initiatives localized and poorly shared among environments. We know that the CDA is compiling a list of the work being carried out currently in the environments related to alternate methods of teaching.

"With respect to training, use both official languages more often, if not equally. Some courses cannot be given in both languages, but that doesn't mean the instruction has to be unilingual." - Anglophone student

We also noticed during our visits that when developing most of these alternative approaches, such as distance learning, official languages needs were usually taken into consideration from the initial stages of course development and preparation. This was the case, for example, for an interesting project with respect to professional development in the Air Force entitled Air Force Officer Professional Development Program.

It is evident that the CF is aware of the need to develop varied approaches to course delivery. In fact, this is a major initiative of the CDA at the moment. The program entitled IT&E Modernization accepts as a given that approaches must be adjusted when military resources for delivering courses are increasingly scarce, where candidates' expectations are changing with respect to technology and where efforts should be focused on students and their needs—not on traditional course delivery practices. However, a presentation from the CDA on this program did not cover in its anticipated results the positive impact of such initiatives on the language of training.

Therefore, with regard to official languages, a strategy is required based on identified needs and not on supply. This strategy should focus on establishing beforehand the appropriate teaching approach for each occupation. For example, in the case of the previously mentioned RMS Clerk, it would be necessary, in our view, to establish beforehand and to regularly review for this job category the best combination of approaches to achieve the best possible results and meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act. For instance, a combination of distance learning and the use of community resources and classroom work through a combination of military and civilian personnel might be the best approach to guarantee quality learning and ensure that the rights of individuals wanting to learn in their official language of preference are respected.

Given the responsibilities of the CDA with regard to IT&E modernization, we believe that the CDA would be in a good position to deal with the issue of varied teaching methods in concert with other training authorities. It is in this spirit of a more proactive and integrated approach that the following recommendation is made.

Recommendation 10

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, be assigned responsibility for establishing and coordinating an IT&E mechanism aimed at optimizing the teaching approach for each occupation category, taking into account a variety of options with a view to delivering quality training and meeting the requirements of the Official Languages Act.

Administrative order and directive on language of instruction

DAOD 5039-6, Delivery of Training and Education in Both Official Languages, which was recently promulgated in August 2009, focuses on the main issues related to the delivery of training and education to CF members in the official language of their choice. The following topics are broached: language of choice, access to IT&E in both official languages, language assistance and availability of educational tools in both official languages.

DAOD 5039-6 is very concise and does not provide much flexibility in its application. However, it does provide that exit examinations for certain military occupations (such as pilots) should be administered in English only according to international conventions. Additionally, the order indicates that language assistance (i.e. Language Assist) may be provided, but it does not mention that this type of assistance should be only a temporary administrative measure and should not replace training in the students' official language of choice. Furthermore, there is no mention of the notion of creating an environment conducive to learning in both official languages. This is very important to creating awareness with regard to teaching in both official languages. The following section examines this question more closely.

Conducive environment

One of the main initiatives of the Official Languages Program Transformation Model is to revise and subsequently adjust the linguistic designation of the various CF units across Canada. Hence, the application framework provides for ELUs, FLUs, BUs and Unspecified Language Units (ULUs) for the purposes of language of work. Language of work is limited to the internal functioning of the unit. However, regardless of the language of work designation or location of the unit, certain services, such as dental, medical and legal, will always be offered to the recipient in their official language of choice. Therefore, according to the Official Languages Program Transformation Model, a Francophone in an ELU, for instance, while working in English, will still have the right to receive his or her medical services in French. According to this model, all training establishments must be designated as BUs.

Accordingly, we would expect that, if these schools wish to fulfill their role as bilingual institutions, they should create an environment conducive to learning in both official languages. Among other things, this entails that all signage in the training establishments be visible in both official languages; that the memoranda and notifications that circulate be in both official languages; and that an equitable proportion of documentation in both official languages be available in the school resource centres and libraries. This would also mean that the activities of the faculty and administration should promote the respect of both language groups in training establishments and also ensure the equitable use of both official languages in speeches and presentations, and during customary ceremonies.

"In order to encourage an environment conducive to learning in both official languages, it would be important that executives take more initiatives, that there be more cultural initiatives also, like newspapers for example." [translation] - Francophone student

"It would help to have more initiative on behalf of our executives in enriching both linguistic cultures." - Anglophone student

Our visits revealed that there were major differences among the various training establishments when it came to creating an environment conducive to learning in both official languages. In general, we noticed that signage was bilingual, but many times it was noted that memoranda, notifications and written or oral communications were not always provided in both official languages, and that in many cases speeches and presentations were not in both official languages either. With regard to resource centres and libraries, many training establishments informed us that they made efforts to obtain French documentation, but that in numerous instances more technical or specialized documents were not available in French. With regard to bibliographic research capacity, we were impressed by the Canadian Forces College, which had undertaken considerable effort to ensure that references to periodicals in French were provided and that an equitable proportion of research documents were available in French. Also, the electronic research engine was available in both French and English.

During our visits we observed that some institutions had not put much thought into promoting a learning environment conducive to training in both official languages. In some cases, we were informed that the geographic location of training establishments could play an important role in establishing this type of program. In other cases, institutions told us that they were waiting for directives from the various headquarters or the DOL to establish such programs and that financial assistance would have to be allocated. (However, this was not the case at CFB Borden, where the CF Support Training Group implemented a well-structured awareness and education campaign in the base's training establishments.)

It was clear during our conversations that more awareness must be raised with respect to this issue. We believe that sharing best practices through success stories, such as that at CFB Borden, and promoting a well-structured awareness campaign would be appropriate.

Recommendation 11

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Director of Official Languages ensure that specific measures be taken by the various training authorities and training establishments to create an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.

Performance measurement systems

During our visits it was very difficult to access data about performance with respect to language of instruction. In most cases, these data were not regularly available and often had to be manually collected. Generally speaking, information pertaining to the number of Anglophones and Francophones registered in the various courses was available. But very little data were available (and it took considerable effort to obtain it) with respect to the following: success or failure rate of Anglophones and Francophones, dropouts for linguistic reasons and number of Francophones who had to take their training in their second language. When we asked questions about the data, we were informed that it was gathered empirically and numerous responses were based on personal experience. The students we interviewed provided similar responses. The individuals who were interviewed had their own experiences and incidents to recount, but no one ever referred to statistical reports on the issue. The CF must look into defining formal ways to systematically and periodically measure its performance with regard to language of training.

However, during our visit to the Armour School in Gagetown, New Brunswick, we were particularly impressed by the diligence used to review the assessments of courses completed by students with regard to language of training issues. The school demonstrated a precise and well-organized way to continually improve performance in official languages.

We mentioned earlier that the CDA was implementing an IT&E modernization plan. In this plan, we noted an initiative that aims to implement a comprehensive IT&E performance measurement system across the CF. This plan includes broad system parameters regarding the capacity to meet needs, efficiency, affordability, student satisfaction, collaboration and access. Based on these parameters, it is our opinion that the CDA should integrate into this system a series of performance measures related to language of instruction. IT&E language objectives and sub-objectives should be identified and certain measures should be made to verify that these objectives have been achieved.

Recommendation 12

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, integrate into the current IT&E performance measurement initiative a component on language of training to ensure that the achievement of objectives and sub-objectives in this regard will be measured.

Objective 3

Ensure that the IT&E system does not negatively impact the employment, posting or advancement of non-commissioned members and officers from both official language groups.

Recruiting

The 2007 document Canada First – Defence Strategy recommends that the number of members of the CF Regular Force should be increased to 70,000 by the year 2028. During our meetings we were told that this would be difficult to accomplish in the current environment, where there is a fairly high attrition rate of baby boomers and where attraction to military life has diminished. In 2007–2008, it was estimated that 6,865 new recruits would enlist and 6,774 did so. Targets are only just being met. Nevertheless, the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group (CFRG) informed us that the percentage of Anglophones (73%) and Francophones (27%) reflect the language demographics of the Canadian population. This does not hold true for the Navy, where Francophones make up approximately only 15% of personnel.

In recruitment centres, official languages are addressed to the extent that candidates are asked to indicate their first official language and may also indicate whether they are proficient in both languages or in other languages. However, candidates who indicate they are bilingual are not formally assessed in their second official language. We also learned that the choice of first official language will be used as the language of choice for recruit training in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS). New courses are continuously offered in both official languages to accommodate the recruitment process throughout the year.

The CFLRS students we met during our interviews repeatedly mentioned that the language indicated on their application form as their first official language was not necessarily their preferred language for training purposes. Numerous individuals at the training establishments also made this comment. This was surprising, as the Defence Administrative Order pertaining to delivery of training in both official languages refers to training in one's official language of choice, which may not be the same in some cases as training in one's first official language. The DOL is aware of this issue and will follow up with CFRG and CFLRS.

Promotion of bilingualism

With respect to the choice offered on the enrolment form for candidates to indicate that they are bilingual, we were not able to identify during our interviews what becomes of this information. However, during our meetings, Anglophones and Francophones often mentioned that it was very advantageous to be bilingual in the CF and that it opened doors in terms of career choice and living in various geographical locations. However, personnel stated that the advantages were not promoted enough. The CF should create an environment and promote opportunities so that both official language groups see bilingualism as an advantage for assignments and promotions. In our opinion, bilingualism is a goal that must be fostered upon entry into the CF.

"We should learn to work in both official languages at the earliest possible time because we will always need both official languages in the Canadian Forces." - Anglophone student

Recommendation 13

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, during the recruitment process and the promotional campaigns, the Canadian Forces highlight the professional and personal advantages of being bilingual in the Forces.

After recruit training at the CFLRS, candidates move on to their occupational training or to one of the two military colleges for officers in Kingston or Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Earlier in this report, we touched on issues related to language of training for the various occupations, but we did not refer to what specifically takes place at the two military colleges and we did not discuss non-commissioned officer training. These two issues are addressed in this section. We will also touch on more general issues linking language of training with posting opportunities and career advancement.

New officer training

Two years ago, the Royal Military College (RMC) located in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, reopened its doors as a military college. This institution offers an academic program enabling officer cadets to obtain a CEGEP (Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel)—equivalent diploma in Quebec and then pursue their university education at the RMC of Canada, located in Kingston, Ontario. These two facilities provide courses in both official languages. Moreover, officer cadets take a second-language training program with the goal of attaining, at a minimum, a language proficiency level of BBB (reading, writing and oral interaction) in their second official language over the course of their training. Once officer cadets attain the BBB functional proficiency level, whether they do so during their training at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu or during their first years at Kingston, they are accredited for the bilingualism component of their program of study and no longer need to formally pursue second-language training unless they wish to.

Moreover, at Kingston the language of use within the college alternates between English and French every two weeks. This permits officer cadets to apply their second official language when interacting with colleagues and school staff with the objective of gaining practice in real situations. Students not having obtained the BBB functional level of bilingualism also have the opportunity to take immersion courses during the summer at their college, whether it is at Kingston or Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Generally speaking, officer cadets at Kingston indicated they were satisfied with the training program in the official language of their choice, although some of them mentioned that they found it difficult at times to find reference books in French.

"Having bilingual groups in which students can express themselves in English or in French at the RMC Saint-Jean or the RMC of Canada is an excellent start." [translation] - Francophone student

"Second-language training would be easier if taught in an environment that forces you to learn your second language." - Anglophone student

"Immersion in a second language is often more useful than taking a class where we have little opportunity to express ourselves." [translation] - Francophone student

It should also be mentioned that, at RMC Kingston, to graduate with the traditional red tunic and receive the military college diploma including the post-nominal RMC letters next to their name, officer cadets must complete and pass the four components of the RMC program: academic, military, athletic and bilingualism. Officer cadets may still obtain their university degree in their chosen discipline and pursue a career in the military without the military and athletic standards or the BBB level in their second language. However, during the formal graduation ceremony, these individuals are not permitted to wear the red tunic or the RMC pin, both of which are national symbols of the college. Most cases (on average 70% between 2002 and 2008) in which officer cadets failed to meet one of the standards involved not meeting the language proficiency component.

After graduation there is no guarantee that officers will be assigned to functions that correspond with their official language of choice. Assignments are made according to operational needs in the various environments. Most officer cadets with whom we spoke told us that the BBB proficiency level did not adequately prepare them to work in their second language.

The Non-Commissioned Members Professional Development Centre (NCMPDC), located on the campus of RMC Saint-Jean, provides leadership courses to non-commissioned members wishing to become officers (Sergeant, Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer, etc.). The leadership program comprises courses with durations of nine to ten weeks and with a distance-learning component available in both official languages. However, from a language of training standpoint, the situation is not the same as it is for officer cadets at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu or Kingston. Regarding the primary leadership course, while the NCMPDC is responsible for this course, and while it is available in both official languages, it is actually offered by the various environments themselves in eight locations across the country. As for other course levels (intermediate and advanced), even though students can work in groups in their official language of choice, courses are provided in English with Language Assist. Furthermore, plenary sessions and presentations are usually prepared or delivered in English. On several occasions, we were told that, after having reached intermediate and advanced course levels, Francophone non-commissioned members preferred to continue taking courses in English since they had spent most of their careers up to that point working in English (nearly 20 years in some cases).

The situations described above raise a number of official languages issues. One of these issues is the bilingualism component, which is one of the four main pillars of the RMC located in Kingston. There are two concerns in this respect. First, there is the question of the minimum competency level of BBB required to successfully complete the program. It should be noted that the B level is no guarantee of being able to competently express oneself in a work situation. Military personnel made this comment on numerous occasions during our visits. Furthermore, while the Public Service Commission standards may associate this level with situations that may be non-routine, these situations are relatively simple and for the most part adapted to the performance of concrete tasks. Therefore, we can appreciate the concerns of officer cadets and of students in many training establishments who fear being assigned to a function that requires the use of their second language. In our opinion, this is a serious disadvantage for them.

"I believe it is essential as an officer in the Canadian Forces to have the highest proficiency in both official languages." - Anglophone student

It is our view that RMC Kingston and RMC Saint-Jean students should be given the opportunity while at the colleges to attain a higher language proficiency level than BBB. The Commissioner has on many occasions referred to language mastery as a key component of leadership in the public sector. The C competency level for oral interaction assures greater capacity to be persuasive, to explain a complex issue, to intervene in a conflict, to give advice and to better understand the subtleties of any situation. Leaders must be able to do all these things. The CBC language proficiency level ensures a level of language mastery worthy of the leadership and management cadre of the Canadian public service. It is our opinion that attaining the CBC language proficiency level at the beginning of their careers would enable officer cadets to better perform in their second language from the outset and would ensure better retention capability, thereby reducing the load on second-language training down the line.

Recommendation 14

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, while studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, officer cadets be given the opportunity and be supported in their efforts by the Canadian Forces to pursue their second-language training to attain a higher level of language proficiency after having achieved the required BBB level.

With respect to meeting the requirements for obtaining a degree, we are concerned about the fact that bilingualism has the highest failure rate. Apart from the embarrassment that this could cause for students graduating without honours, the underlying message is that the bilingualism component is not that important. We believe that this is the wrong impression for new officers to have at the beginning of their careers. We believe that RMC officials should look into the underlying causes for this high failure rate and take necessary steps to correct the situation. This is particularly important in light of Recommendation 14, which proposes that students be given the opportunity to attain a higher proficiency level in their second official language.

Recommendation 15

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that officials at the Royal Military College examine the reasons behind the higher failure rate for the bilingualism component and take the necessary steps to reduce it as much as possible.

Regarding the intermediate and advanced leadership courses offered to non-commissioned members, we understand why in many cases Francophones, having reached higher levels in their careers and having worked mostly in English, would prefer to take these courses in English. However, we are hoping that the DOL's recent efforts to establish linguistic designations for all work units in the CF will further standardize opportunities in which French could be used in a work situation and enable Francophone non-commissioned members in leadership positions to work more often in their first official language. To increase demand for French leadership courses over the long term, the CF needs to change the work habits within the various bilingual units. In the short term, those responsible for these courses should be encouraged to use proactive measures that will enable Francophones to take leadership courses in their first official language. Those responsible should also increase their efforts to hire external experts capable of giving presentations to participants during plenary sessions in English and French.

Recommendation 16

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Non-Commissioned Members Professional Development Centre take proactive measures to ensure that, in plenary sessions and during presentations made by experts, every opportunity is given to Francophones to participate in the official language of their choice.

Well-defined assignment and promotion processes and systems govern postings and advancement within the CF.

Assignments

Responsibility for assignments lies with commanding officers and the Director General Military Careers (DGMC). The DGMC administers military personnel assignments as soon as the basic training period is complete and military personnel are accredited in a specific field. The DGMC relies on, among other things, well-defined assignment priorities. We alluded to some of these priorities earlier in this report when we addressed the issue of the shortage of instructors at the various training establishments.

Our interviews with representatives from the DGMC group revealed that there was a shortage of personnel in many fields and at some ranks. We were told, for example, that overall, the CF is short at least 20% of established strength for the rank of captain and nearly 10% for the rank of major. According to the DGMC, this kind of personnel shortage affects the CF's ability to meet its objectives in general and, by extension, its ability to assign bilingual personnel to bilingual functions. At the time of our visits, there were no data available for the DGMC's success rate in this regard.

From our point of view, these personnel shortages seriously hinder the capacity of the CF to post members who have completed their training in one language and who are looking to pursue a career in this same language (Francophones being the most numerous in this category). These shortages also limit the capacity of the CF to appoint candidates who have the required language skills to work in their second language. Such postings are more of a possibility now, since one of the objectives of the Official Languages Program Transformation Model is to establish language of work regimes according to the linguistic designations of the work units.

"More opportunities to pursue second-language training should be offered to military members. However, this must be accompanied by a contract which states that the individual who will receive language training will be expected to work in a unit or environment that corresponds to the individual's second language." [translation] - Francophone student

We believe, however, that there might be solutions to address such problems. First, linking the linguistic designations of work units with the functional management concept as stipulated in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model increases the number of opportunities in which assignments can be proposed to meet the needs of managers in the various units. As a result, one relies on a larger pool of personnel to deliver quality services in both official languages. Second, it is absolutely imperative that second-language training be integrated into the training plans of employees who desire or have been asked to work in units requiring skills in their second language. It is also a means of targeting the best moment to access language training.

Recommendation 17

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  1. hold mandatory discussions between the career management group and the commanding officers of the various bilingual units to ensure that a sufficient number of military personnel can be posted in the context of the functional management concept as stipulated in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model to meet the linguistic requirements of these units; and
  2. integrate language training into the training plans of members who will be called upon to work in units requiring skills in their second language.

Promotions

With respect to promotion or advancement, there are systems and procedures in place specifying the conditions under which officers and non-commissioned members are to be promoted. A points system is used, which includes language skills. This system determines the order in which officers and military personnel are ranked on the merit list for promotion. Up to five points are given for bilingualism for officers, regardless of rank. These values encompass the three linguistic skills: reading, writing and oral interaction. For non-commissioned members only oral interaction is assessed, which is worth two points. For senior officers, language skills are an unchanging requirement that must be met by specific dates for them to be promoted. For example, all brigadier generals/commodores must meet and maintain a linguistic profile of CBC by December 31, 2011. A recent memo from the Chief of the Defence Staff to the Officer Corps, dated January 5, 2009, stated that "All General Flag Officers who do not achieve and/or maintain a CBC profile required for the rank by the date indicated will not be recommended for promotion or subsequent appointments." We believe that this is a significant message about the importance of bilingualism as a key component of leadership. For other ranks, bilingualism is still an asset qualification as a factor in promotion and is part of the required leadership qualities for promotion.

With respect to the current promotion system, we commend the Chief of the Defence Staff for his directive on the promotion of senior officers. This is a step towards reaching a goal that has eluded the CF for many years. In this directive, language skills are associated with fundamental CF skills for senior officers. That said, given that at present an average of 18% of generals and 37% of colonels and navy captains do not meet the required CBC language competency level, the application of this directive should be monitored closely.

It would also be advisable to adopt an equally visible and strict approach for the three other employment and rank categories identified in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model: commandants of training establishments, chief warrant officers and chief petty officers, 1st class. These ranks are highly important in creating an environment that promotes the use of both official languages at training establishments and in the various bilingual units.

Furthermore, we feel that it is necessary, in the current context, with the linguistic designation of units just completed and the language designation of functions still ongoing, to assess the three skills (reading, writing and oral interaction) required for promotion of non-commissioned members who need to work in both official languages. Each of these skills is important for providing high-quality service.

Recommendation 18

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  1. implement a tracking system for promotions of senior officers in line with the recent directive from the Chief of the Defence Staff and provide progress reports on this initiative to the Chief of Military Personnel, and adopt an equally visible and strict approach with respect to the promotion of chief warrant officers, chief petty officers, 1st class and commandants of training establishments, all with a view to ensuring that corrective measures are taken in a timely fashion; and
  2. ensure that the point system for promotion of non-commissioned members who are bilingual and who wish to occupy key positions or receive senior appointments takes into account the three language skills (reading, writing and oral interaction) for these promotions.

Canadian Forces College

With regard to the issue of higher ranks in the CF, we also visited the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. The College's mission is to provide professional military education to high-ranking CF officers with the objective of preparing them to take on greater leadership roles. This is an environment where participants are selected based on their leadership potential.

Our visit to this establishment revealed that Canadian Forces College management has devoted great effort to ensure that English and French are on equal footing as languages of training. We noted many initiatives through which the College has improved its capacity to provide document research possibilities in both official languages, hired more instructors capable of working in French and increased translation services and course delivery mechanisms in both official languages. Many officers taking courses at the College told us during our visit that the school promotes a learning environment that encourages the use of both official languages. They indicated they were particularly satisfied with syndicate work, where all the candidates were able to use their official language of choice, and with opportunities for doing their research and academic work in their own language. When examining its performance report for 2007–2008, we did notice that the College had difficulties attracting bilingual and Francophone personnel in Toronto, but efforts were being made to rectify this issue.

Given the strategic importance of this school with respect to leadership development in the CF, a leadership that reflects the values of Canadian society and that will reflect these values to other countries with which Canada will be involved, we encourage the College to pursue its efforts to create an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.

Objective 4

Ensure that language training is provided in a way that increases the language competencies of officers, as provided for in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model.

Second-language training

Second-language training has been discussed many times throughout this report. We raised it when we addressed strategic planning; we recommended prioritizing second-language training for military personnel wishing to become instructors; we recommended ensuring that candidates be able to access second-language training when courses were available in English only; we touched on this issue again with respect to officer cadets at RMC Kingston; and, finally, we recommended that language training be mandatory for any candidate promoted to a function where the candidate would be required to perform functions in his or her second language. This places enormous responsibility on a program that is clearly so vital to the success of IT&E.

Our analysis thus far brings us to the conclusion that second-language training can and should be used with two goals in mind: it should support the acquisition of work-related language skills, and it should be used for career development. The order on second-language training (DAOD 5039-7, Second Official Language Education and Training [SOLET]), promulgated in June 2009, confirms these two application parameters. Furthermore, it states that SOLET is an important component of IT&E. We agree wholeheartedly. In our opinion, one of the major weaknesses of IT&E is that language training is not an integral part of it at this time.

Regarding access to second-language training, DAOD 5039-7 states that access to SOLET is based on obligations under the Official Languages Act as well as CF operational requirements as determined by each environment and the DOL on an annual basis. We would like to make the case in this audit for priority access for one category of potential candidates that repeatedly came up during our interviews. This category was non-commissioned members from both language groups who repeatedly mentioned that it was quite difficult for them to access second-language courses. This access was needed either because of the function they were occupying or would soon occupy, or because they were going to be promoted as officers in a bilingual unit.

"Please make French courses as a second language available to Anglophone personnel below the rank of warrant officer. A second language civilian course could supplement the reduced availability of seats in larger centres." - Anglophone student

Limited access to second-language training was a major concern for non-commissioned members, except for those candidates who had been identified in succession planning and for whom language training was a part of their preparation. We feel that access to second-language training should be a priority for these members and integrated at specific stages in their career development (as is the case for the Officer Corps). Non-commissioned members exercising leadership roles work closely with other non-commissioned members and we believe that, as a group, they exercise a great deal of influence.

"It would appear that we need to wait longer in our career to get the second-language training. By then our career will most likely be a higher importance than learning another language." - Anglophone student

Recommendation 19

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces give priority for second-language training, as is the case for the Officer Corps, to non-commissioned members who will need to assume leadership roles in bilingual units at specific stages in their careers.

BBB language proficiency standard

The BBB linguistic standard seems to be used for a variety of purposes in the CF. We have come across the concept of a functional level throughout this audit. There is a general belief that this level can be applied to most situations requiring second-language skills. As is the case in the public service, each function or employment category should be assessed according to its specific requirements in each competency (reading, writing and oral interaction). We were often told that the BBB level was not appropriate for all situations and, in many cases (>e.g. for instructors), it was not sufficient. Moreover, it should be noted that in some cases, level B proficiency may be appropriate for one or two of the targeted skills, such as reading or writing, but not necessarily sufficient for oral interaction. We are aware that the DOL is currently reviewing the linguistic requirements for the various functions and that he is aware that a differential approach is required based on all skills, including reading, writing and oral interaction. In addition, the draft order on second-language training, which does not provide any details on this issue, is also being reviewed to take this into account.

Linguistic competency of officers

The Official Languages Program Transformation Model includes a series of priority activities, such as ensuring that officers meet the CBC language profile before being promoted to senior levels. For example, the model anticipates that brigadier generals and commodores should achieve and maintain a CBC language profile by 2011. As stated previously, at present, not all generals, colonels and navy captains meet these levels. Equally important, one must maintain the required level once it is acquired. On many occasions we were told that once the required level was reached, some candidates did not make the necessary efforts to maintain their skills or did not have the opportunities to apply their newly acquired language skills.

In addition, our discussion with those responsible for the career management system for military personnel revealed that it is impossible at present to guarantee that an officer who has completed language training will be assigned to functions requiring the use of his or her newly acquired language skills. We were also told that it might be difficult to find a sufficient number of bilingual positions in line with operational needs to deliver on this. The Official Languages Program Transformation Model specifies that it will be necessary to make major adjustments to the career management system of military personnel in order to select personnel to take second-language training and then assign them to functions where they will be able to use their second language. This situation deserves special attention, as it is central to the success of the language-training program as an integral part of IT&E and the Official Languages Program Transformation Model.

"As a member of the Canadian Forces, I would like more availability of language training to encourage bilingualism." - Anglophone student

Recommendation 20

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Chief of Military Personnel, in light of the concerns raised, undertake a review of the existing career management system to improve access to second-language training and retention for officers required to work in their second language and maintain these second-language skills once acquired.

8. Conclusion

Generally, the audit showed that many issues still prevent the CF from being fully compliant with the Official Languages Act with respect to the IT&E system.

We assessed four major areas related to the IT&E of military members as carried out in the CF. The first dealt with strategic and operational planning to ensure that IT&E plans that result from these processes take into account the need to provide training in the official language of choice of military members. The second area focused on how well the CF defines accountability for IT&E and manages the delivery of training and education to ensure that this system respects the language preference of its members. The third area concerned ensuring that, from an official languages point of view, the IT&E system does not hinder the recruitment, posting and advancement of military members. Finally, we examined how second-language training was integrated into IT&E and how it contributed to enhancing the CF's capacity to meet its linguistic obligations.

In each area, specific recommendations were made to help the CF better comply with the Act through its IT&E system. Generally, these recommendations were aimed at better integrating official languages into the planning, management and processes related to IT&E. As IT&E now stands, official languages are seen mainly as an administrative function to be managed outside the parameters of IT&E.

Finally, in many instances, we touched on subjects covered by the Official Languages Program Transformation Model. Our analysis from an IT&E perspective showed that deficiencies existed in some areas that could hinder the CF in achieving its goals in the Transformation Model. We made specific recommendations about second-language training and retention, the persistent shortage of linguistically qualified instructors, the translation of technical course material and the assignment and promotion of linguistically qualified officers and non-commissioned members.

Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs. Examples include the recent involvement of the DOL in the yearly review of operational needs leading to the preparation of IT&E plans, and the recent directive from the Chief of the Defence Staff requiring that senior officers meet the language requirements of their rank to be recommended for promotion or subsequent appointments. Implementing this report's recommendations will ensure that the CF fully meets the requirements of the Act for its IT&E system and furthers its progress towards implementing its Official Languages Program Transformation Model.

Appendix A - List of training establishments visited

Chief of Military Personnel (CMP)

  • Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), Kingston
  • Canadian Forces College, Toronto
  • Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics (CFSAL), Borden
  • Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS), Saint-Jean Garrison
  • Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean), Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
  • Non-Commissioned Member Professional Development Centre (NCMPDC), Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
  • Canadian Forces Language School, National Capital Region
  • Canadian Forces Training and Development Centre, Borden

Chief of the Land Staff (CLS)

  • Tactics School, Gagetown
  • Infantry School, Gagetown
  • Armour School, Gagetown
  • Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics (CFSCE), Kingston
  • Canadian Forces School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (CFSEME), Kingston

Chief of the Air Staff (CAS)

  • Central Flying School (CFS), Winnipeg
  • Canadian Forces Air Navigation School (CFANS), Winnipeg
  • Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies (CFSAS), Winnipeg
  • Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering (CFSATE), Borden
  • 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (2 CFFTS), Moose Jaw
  • 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Cold Lake
  • 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (3 CFFTS), Winnipeg

Chief of the Maritime Staff (CMS)

  • Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt (CFFSE), Esquimalt
  • Canadian Forces Naval Operations School (CFNOS), Halifax
  • Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School (CFNES), Halifax
  • Venture – Naval Officer Training Centre (NOTC Venture), Esquimalt

Appendix B - List of audit objectives and criteria

Objectives Criteria
1. Ensure that strategic planning leading to the IT&E plans takes into account the need to provide training in the official language of choice of Canadian Forces members.
  1. Verify whether, in the Annual Military Occupational Review process and the preparation of strategic intake and production plans, the number of human resources required is identified while taking into consideration the language designations of the various Canadian Forces units.
  2. Verify whether the IT&E plans include an estimate of training needs based on the official language of choice of military personnel.
2. Ensure that IT&E governance promotes the respect of the official language of choice of non-commissioned members and officers with respect to their training and education.
  1. Verify whether the structure and sharing of responsibilities of the various stakeholders support training in the official language of choice.
  2. Verify whether training establishments take the necessary measures to integrate training in the official language of choice into their operational planning.
  3. Verify whether training in the training establishments is adapted to the language requirements of non-commissioned members and officers.
  4. Verify whether the training establishments promote an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.
  5. Verify whether the IT&E performance measurement system takes into account the issue of training in the official language of choice.
3. Ensure that the IT&E system does not negatively impact the employment, posting or advancement of non-commissioned members and officers from both official language groups.
  1. Verify whether recruits from both official language groups who want training in their official language of choice are not prejudiced by systemic barriers at the enrolment stage.
  2. Verify whether non-commissioned members and officers from the two language groups who took training in their official language of choice are not hindered by systemic barriers in terms of their posting or advancement.
4. Ensure that language training is provided in a way that increases the language competencies of officers, as provided for in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model.
  1. Verify whether IT&E integrates the language training of officers as planned.
  2. Verify whether newly trained bilingual officers are assigned to positions requiring the use of both official languages.

Appendix C - List of recommendations by objective

Objective 1

Ensure that strategic planning leading to the IT&E plans takes into account the need to provide training in the official language of choice of Canadian Forces members.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces permanently integrate the identification of language requirements into the Annual Military Occupational Review process in order to take the necessary measures to address the shortage of linguistically qualified personnel, as required.

Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces use the data from the annual needs analysis process by occupational category in combination with the language designation of the various work units to better plan the number of courses required and to better establish the training schedules of the various establishments in French and English to accommodate language of preference.

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces ensure that the staffing priority assigned to education always be included in the first three priority staffing levels, and that as much effort as possible be devoted to staffing instructor positions, with a view to increasing the capacity to deliver and support training in the member's official language of choice.

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that each year the training authorities, the commandants of the training establishments and the career managers identify the number of instructors required for each occupational category in order to meet the training needs in both official languages, and take the necessary measures with regard to language training to offset the lack of linguistically qualified instructors, as needed.

Objective 2

Ensure that IT&E governance promotes the respect of the official language of choice of non-commissioned members and officers with respect to their training and education.

Recommendation 5

To be more in line with the need for an integrated and unified workforce, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy complete the review of DAOD 5031-2 in order to better integrate official languages into the IT&E management framework both in the order as such and in the composition and work of the IT&E Committee.

Recommendation 6

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, the Canadian Forces adopt at all training bases and establishments a model similar to that which exists at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, whereby a senior officer is identified as a champion for all official languages matters including language of training.

Recommendation 7

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that:

  1. training establishments improve their practices related to planning and priority setting with regard to the translation of all course material; and
  2. the Canadian Forces undertake negotiations with the Translation Bureau in order to test the practice of producing internal documents simultaneously in both official languages in some training establishments with a view to improving the quality and turnaround time associated with these documents and eventually establishing it as a common practice.

Recommendation 8

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, for aviation and naval occupations such as aircraft crewmembers, and operations and communications officers on ships governed by international conventions, the Canadian Forces:

  1. offer basic training in the candidates' official language of choice and during this basic training Francophones be given access to the pertinent English phraseology;
  2. when it is time to move on to more advanced training that requires exercising manoeuvres and techniques in real time by using designated equipment, offer this training in English only in accordance with established conventions; and
  3. ensure that Francophone candidates moving forward to more advanced training have attained a high enough competency level in their second language to fully assimilate the required manoeuvres and techniques.

Recommendation 9

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that:

  1. for technical support and other technical occupations, the Canadian Forces have technical course material translated and training offered in French, enhanced by the availability of English technical vocabulary and support for manufacturers' manuals if these cannot be made available in French; and
  2. during the contracting process for the purchase of equipment and machinery, the Canadian Forces require that manufacturers' manuals be translated or acquire copyrights for translation purposes.

Recommendation 10

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, be assigned responsibility for establishing and coordinating an IT&E mechanism aimed at optimizing the teaching approach for each occupation category, taking into account a variety of options with a view to delivering quality training and meeting the requirements of the Official Languages Act.

Recommendation 11

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Director of Official Languages ensure that specific measures be taken by the various training authorities and training establishments to create an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.

Recommendation 12

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, integrate into the current IT&E performance measurement initiative a component on language of training to ensure that the achievement of objectives and sub-objectives in this regard will be measured.

Objective 3

Ensure that the IT&E system does not negatively impact the employment, posting or advancement of non-commissioned members and officers from both official language groups.

Recommendation 13

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, during the recruitment process and the promotional campaigns, the Canadian Forces highlight the professional and personal advantages of being bilingual in the Forces.

Recommendation 14

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, while studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, officer cadets be given the opportunity and be supported in their efforts by the Canadian Forces to pursue their second-language training to attain a higher level of language proficiency after having achieved the required BBB level.

Recommendation 15

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that officials at the Royal Military College examine the reasons behind the higher failure rate for the bilingualism component and take the necessary steps to reduce it as much as possible.

Recommendation 16

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Non-Commissioned Members Professional Development Centre take proactive measures to ensure that, in plenary sessions and during presentations made by experts, every opportunity is given to Francophones to participate in the official language of their choice.

Recommendation 17

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  1. hold mandatory discussions between the career management group and the commanding officers of the various bilingual units to ensure that a sufficient number of military personnel can be posted in the context of the functional management concept as stipulated in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model to meet the linguistic requirements of these units; and
  2. integrate language training into the training plans of members who will be called upon to work in units requiring skills in their second language.

Recommendation 18

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  1. implement a tracking system for promotions of senior officers in line with the recent directive from the Chief of the Defence Staff and provide progress reports on this initiative to the Chief of Military Personnel, and adopt an equally visible and strict approach with respect to the promotion of chief warrant officers, chief petty officers, 1st class and commandants of training establishments, all with a view to ensuring that corrective measures are taken in a timely fashion; and
  2. ensure that the point system for promotion of non-commissioned members who are bilingual and who wish to occupy key positions or receive senior appointments takes into account the three language skills (reading, writing and oral interaction) for these promotions.

Objective 4

Ensure that language training is provided in a way that increases the language competencies of officers, as provided for in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model.

Recommendation 19

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces give priority for second-language training, as is the case for the Officer Corps, to non-commissioned members who will need to assume leadership roles in bilingual units at specific stages in their careers.

Recommendation 20

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Chief of Military Personnel, in light of the concerns raised, undertake a review of the existing career management system to improve access to second-language training and retention for officers required to work in their second language and maintain these second-language skills once acquired.

Appendix D - Recommendations made to the Canadian Forces for each objective, the Canadian Forces action plan, and the Commissioner's comments

We thank the Canadian Forces for having submitted its action plan in response to the recommendations contained in this report. We recognize that this action plan is clearly intended to be a strategic plan, and that it must be supported by more detailed operational action plans. These latter plans will be established by the various authorities responsible for training and education within National Defence. We also realize that the Director of Official Languages (DOL) will vigorously monitor and follow up on these operational action plans. We accept this approach, given the organizational complexity of the Canadian Forces and the large number of contributors involved. We believe that the Canadian Forces' strategic action plan reflects its willingness to implement our recommendations.

Generally speaking, the Canadian Forces has given itself the next two years to implement our recommendations. It is the wish of the Canadian Forces to maintain the spirit of collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages that has characterized the audit from the very outset. We share this willingness to continue in this vein and are ready to participate in any manner in the follow-up of the various detailed action plans.

The Canadian Forces has accepted each of the 20 recommendations. Generally, we are satisfied with the measures it foresees to implement our recommendations at the strategic level. However, notwithstanding the strategic nature of the proposed action plan, we believe that some of the measures could be more detailed. This is the case, for example, with some of the measures to address the shortage of linguistically qualified instructors and the lack of translated classroom material. These two problems are long-standing, as indicated in the report. In the detailed action plans, we would like to see more concrete measures to resolve these two systemic issues. Our detailed comments regarding several of the measures envisaged appear after some of the action plans proposed by the Canadian Forces.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces permanently integrate the identification of language requirements into the Annual Military Occupational Review process in order to take the necessary measures to address the shortage of linguistically qualified personnel, as required.

CF Action Plan

We agree with this recommendation. The AMOR process is one of the strategic planning tools that the CF can explore to ensure that efforts leading to the IT&E plans take into account the need to provide training in the OL of choice of CF members. Following the recommendation and ensuing discussions over common issues, the CF will undertake a series of incremental measures to integrate linguistic requirements into the AMOR process. As part of these measures, starting Fiscal Year (FY) 10/11, DOL will provide awareness and informational briefings at each AMOR to ensure that Occupational Authorities, Branch Advisors and other key stakeholders are aware of the functional management concept as it relates to their respective occupations and the need to integrate language training into the plans of members who will be called upon to work in units requiring skills in the second language. The importance of identifying language training early as part of the succession planning process for high performers is well understood and will also be emphasized (through some recommendations below). In the same vein, there will be information provided on new programs and services being introduced by DOL in the near future to facilitate second-language ability throughout our members' careers.

Finally, the Air Force has agreed to take the lead in developing and implementing a process whereby linguistic requirements – by occupation, rank, and position – are identified and validated during the AMOR process so as to help address the shortage of linguistically qualified personnel. This process, once functional, will be transmitted to the other environments, ultimately so they can adapt and implement it within their own framework.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DPGR and DOL)
    • FY 10/11
  • CAS
    • FY 10/11
  • Other TAs
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces use the data from the annual needs analysis process by occupational category in combination with the language designation of the various work units to better plan the number of courses required and to better establish the training schedules of the various establishments in French and English to accommodate language of preference.

CF Action Plan

We concur with the recommendation. As has been contended in the previous recommendation, the current approaches to the AMOR process (and its associated results) do not provide the data necessary to improve the planning of course requirements and training schedules. Planning of individual training varies slightly from one environment to the other, but processes remain similar in nature: they are based on results from the AMOR as well as inputs from the occupational schools responsible for the delivery of training. At present, the product is the number of courses required, based on the number of personnel requiring training. To allow personnel to train in their OL of choice will require refinement of these figures. Consequently, Recommendation 2 requires that, among others, Recommendation 1 be solved. From there, and in keeping with the Functional Approach as outlined in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model (OLPTM), we will endeavour to identify individual SOLET requirements through the AMOR process.

Once some results are received, CDA will task the IT&E Committee to develop a mechanism to analyze the raw data generated by the AMORs and consider strategic institutional SOLET requirements. As well, through the IT&E Committee, this time with the assistance of the Professional Development Council (PDC) for guidance and direction, CDA will then identify a priority list and develop a plan for implementation.

It should be noted that all environments have indicated their wish (and are striving) for the development of a pan-CF solution. It is anticipated that once Recommendations 1 and 2 are satisfied, they will go a long way to ensure that strategic planning leading to the IT&E plans take into account the need to provide training in the OL of choice of CF members. The CF can then turn its attention to the issue of adequate resourcing.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA, DPGR and DOL)
    • FY 10/11
  • CAS (2 Cdn Air Div)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces ensure that the staffing priority assigned to education always be included in the first three priority staffing levels, and that as much effort as possible be devoted to staffing instructor positions, with a view to increasing the capacity to deliver and support training in the member's official language of choice.

CF Action Plan

We understand the requirement for this recommendation and, in principle, we accept it. Unfortunately, we are doubtful that it will contribute to adequate staffing of our schools – the situation being more complex.

CF schools and training institutions are, by internal policy, priority three units (out of six priorities). Only units engaged in operations, high readiness forces, as well as critical sustaining or change initiatives have a higher priority. That, in itself, is not the issue; lack of personnel is. The CF is currently short of about 4,500 trained personnel (about 9%). Many of the shortages are in technical occupations and at key rank levels (Sgt/WO and Capt/Maj, essentially the ones occupying the majority of instructor positions), which impacts our ability to meet staffing requirements in all priorities. Staffing for our training and educational institutions is given as high a priority as is feasible given the constraints in the distribution of our trained strength.

The CF will continue to explore ways and means to fill as many of the bilingual instructor positions as it can (which translates to 96%, the manning threshold for priority three units), keeping in mind the realities and demands of our operations.

Timelines and responsibility

  • VCDS
    • No further action required
Comments from the Commissioner

We understand that the Canadian Forces is faced with a shortage of personnel at certain ranks, which limits their ability to staff instructor positions. Nevertheless, we maintain that particular attention needs to be given to the instructor situation, which has existed for a number of years. While the Action Plan indicates that no further action is required on this recommendation, the Canadian Forces nevertheless proposes to continue exploring ways to staff as many bilingual instructor positions as possible. We expect that concrete measures will be proposed in the detailed action plan.

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that each year the training authorities, the commandants of the training establishments and the career managers identify the number of instructors required for each occupational category in order to meet the training needs in both official languages, and take the necessary measures with regard to language training to offset the lack of linguistically qualified instructors, as needed.

CF Action Plan

The yearly identification and selection of linguistically qualified naval, army and air force personnel for instructor positions is a process that is already in place within the environmental training communities. The process is coordinated through the career managers, but may not have been as formal as it should. We recognize the requirement for formal integration of linguistic considerations throughout the whole spectrum of human resources processes and, in this light, we accept the recommendation.

Worthy of note, following the steps taken at Recommendation 1, the Air Force will review language designation requirements for instructors in concert with course delivery requirements. It is expected that this will provide a basis for decisions between career managers and the leadership cadre of its training establishments (TEs). It will then develop a cyclical mechanism for capturing gaps upon which action plans can be established. In the same fashion as Recommendation 1, these plans will then be transmitted to the other environments, ultimately so they can adapt and implement them.

Timelines and responsibility

  • TAs
    • Start FY 10/11
    • End FY 11/12
Comments from the Commissioner

We note with interest the Air Force's initiative to review the language requirements for instructors along with those for course delivery. The intent is to share this approach with other environments. We believe that the action taken by the Canadian Forces should not limit itself to a single initiative and that the Navy and the Land Force could also establish innovative ways to resolve this issue and share them with one another. We would like to see concrete initiatives from all of the environments in the detailed action plan.

Recommendation 5

To be more in line with the need for an integrated and unified workforce, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy complete the review of DAOD 5031-2 in order to better integrate official languages into the IT&E management framework both in the order as such and in the composition and work of the IT&E Committee.

CF Action Plan

We agree with this recommendation. Acknowledging that the CF must ensure that IT&E governance promotes the respect of OL of choice of officers and non-commissioned members (NCMs) with regard to their training and education, it has been agreed that CDA will initiate the creation of an OL and SOLET subcommittee of the IT&E Committee to provide a forum to discuss key issues associated with this requirement. CDA will also review DAOD 5031-2 to ensure that the structure and membership of the IT&E framework and committees take into account OL direction and requirements. Finally, DOL, now a permanent member of the IT&E Committee, will discuss the annual requirement for SOLET and other strategic OL matters, as required.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 6

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, the Canadian Forces adopt at all training bases and establishments a model similar to that which exists at the Canadian Forces Base Borden, whereby a senior officer is identified as a champion for all official languages matters including language of training.

CF Action Plan

In the past two years, the renewal of the CF-wide OL Coordinator network has advanced OL in DND. The main roles of OL Coordinators are to provide advice and guidance and to assist their Commanders and Group Principals in the implementation of their OL internal plans. DOL has already promulgated a document identifying the role and competency profiles for Coordinators of OL and an on-line course. The appointment of local OL Champions throughout the CF is the next logical step and we support the recommendation.

The role of the local OL Champions will be to increase the visibility of OLs with the leaders and senior managers to ensure that OLs are at the "heart" of decision-making. DOL, in collaboration with CDA, will develop guidance for local OL Champions in order to avoid duplication of efforts with the Coordinators of OLs.

TAs have also agreed to review and integrate best practices from CFB Borden into their respective TEs. In this regard, we are progressing well.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DOL with CDA)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 7-A

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that training establishments improve their practices related to planning and priority setting with regard to the translation of all course material.

CF Action Plan

We understand the need for and agree with the recommendation. As was pointed out in the report, the CF provide about 1,500 courses per year, spread over five and a half time zones, in locations sometimes difficult to access, delivering those to just short of 40,000 trainees every year. The circumstances and complexity of our operations make it a challenging task. All environments, to different degrees, have experimented with various methods for improving the efficiency and timeliness of course material delivery, but success has been elusive. Given the fiscal realities, it is more than urgent that we improve our collective practices related to planning and priority setting with regard to the translation of all course material. In this light, we are undertaking several initiatives.

First, CDA will work with CMP staff to ensure that the Force Planning Guidance provides direction on priorities for ensuring that all CF courses are available in both OLs. This will include any matter related to translation. Accordingly, CDA will provide clear and prescriptive direction to its units and TEs through the strategic planning process.

The other TAs will continue to improve practices and priorities with regard to translation of course materials. These could include measures such as translators in situ, etc. These measures are constantly being discussed between the different TAs, Group Principals and our colleagues at the Translation Bureau.

As you are well aware, the CF has substantially increased its funding for translation of course material in the past two years. The Bureau has indicated that it will continue to provide maximum response to our demand, despite the fact that the CF translation needs exceed their capacity because of a world-wide shortage of professional translators. Be that as it may, the exceptional support we have been given by our colleagues at the Translation Bureau (PWGSC) must be mentioned.

Timelines and responsibility

  • All TAs
  • Army
    • FY 12/13
  • Others, beyond.

Recommendation 7-B

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that the Canadian Forces undertake negotiations with the Translation Bureau in order to test the practice of producing internal documents simultaneously in both official languages in some training establishments with a view to improving the quality and turnaround time associated with these documents and eventually establishing it as a common practice.

CF Action Plan

We accept this recommendation, as we welcome any suggestion to improve the delivery of a strong CF OL program. As mentioned at [Recommendation 7-A], negotiations with the Translation Bureau have been ongoing with regard to a number of initiatives, including testing the practice of producing internal documents simultaneously in both OLs. These discussions are also ongoing with the TAs.

To reiterate the point made at [Recommendation 7-A], the Translation Bureau meets on a regular basis with TAs and other significant portfolio representatives to discuss volume and priorities. Given that the industry is working at maximum capacity and that a significant volume of translation is still required, meeting this commitment is a long-term goal.

Timelines and responsibility

  • DOL
    • FY 11/12 and beyond
Comments from the Commissioner (Recommendations 7-A and 7-B)

We recognize that the shortage of translators in Canada is an important factor in implementing this recommendation, and that it is prompting the Canadian Forces to propose much longer timelines for its implementation. However, we believe that the Canadian Forces should specify tangible results to be attained over the course of the next three years in its detailed action plan to maintain a certain momentum throughout this period. The development of directives regarding the priority to be given to the translation and simultaneous publication of internal documents in both official languages is an example that comes to mind.

Recommendation 8-A

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, for aviation and naval occupations such as aircraft crewmembers, and operations and communications officers on ships governed by international conventions, the Canadian Forces:

  • offer basic training in the candidates' official language of choice and during this basic training Francophones be given access to the pertinent English phraseology.

CF Action Plan

Both the Navy and the Air Force, having implemented portions of this recommendation to various degrees, are in agreement. Its implementation requires the development of a framework mechanism closely related, if not tied, to that of Recommendation 4. The development of directives will be issued to increase provision of generic-type material in both OLs.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMS, CAS (2 Cdn Air Div)
    • FY 10/11
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 8-B

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that the Canadian Forces, when it is time to move on to more advanced training that requires exercising manoeuvres and techniques in real time by using designated equipment, offer this training in English only in accordance with established conventions.

CF Action Plan

Directives to formalize the application of this recommendation will be developed and implemented over the next two years and inserted in the appropriate operational level orders.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMS, CAS (2 Cdn Air Div)
    • FY 10/11
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 8-C

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that the Canadian Forces ensure that Francophone candidates moving forward to more advanced training have attained a high enough competency level in their second language to fully assimilate the required manoeuvres and techniques.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation. The Navy and the Air Force both deliver training in the candidates' language of choice during basic and some initial occupational training, albeit not all. However, formalization of this process is required. Again, directives to formalize the application of this recommendation will be developed and implemented over the next two years.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMS, CAS (2 Cdn Air Div)
    • FY 10/11
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 9-A

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that, for technical support and other technical occupations, the Canadian Forces have technical course material translated and training offered in French, enhanced by the availability of English technical vocabulary and support for manufacturers' manuals if these cannot be made available in French.

CF Action Plan

We accept this recommendation. Although already taken into consideration and applied, particularly during the initial occupation training phases (to various degrees, depending on environments), the CF will explore the feasibility of increasing its capacity in translated technical course material and technical courses. Where possible, mechanisms will be identified or updated and directives drafted to formalize this application.

Timelines and responsibility

  • TAs
    • FY 10/11
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 9-B

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that, during the contracting process for the purchase of equipment and machinery, the Canadian Forces require that manufacturers' manuals be translated or acquire copyrights for translation purposes.

CF Action Plan

We accept the recommendation as this policy is now in place. A review of policies and procedures for contracting confirmed that provision for the translation of technical documents is embedded in the ADM (Mat) contracting policy.

Timelines and responsibility

  • ADM (Mat)
    • No further action required
Comments from the Commissioner (Recommendations 9-A and 9-B)

We believe that it would be important for the Canadian Forces to identify in its detailed action plan first, the various mechanisms it foresees implementing to increase its capacity to translate technical documentation, and second, the control measures put in place regarding the departures from the existing contracting policy on the translation of technical documentation.

Recommendation 10

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, be assigned responsibility for establishing and coordinating an IT&E mechanism aimed at optimizing the teaching approach for each occupation category, taking into account a variety of options with a view to delivering quality training and meeting the requirements of the Official Languages Act.

CF Action Plan

We support this recommendation and are happy to report that some of our TAs have adopted an aggressive strategy to meet OLA requirements.

In the near future, all TAs will continue, as part of the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System (CFITES) process, to determine the optimum training and education strategy depending on the material to be learned and the learning audience. Meanwhile, CDA will continue to explore this area with the TAs as a key component of the IT&E modernization project.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA) and other TAs
    • FY 10/11
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 11

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Director of Official Languages ensure that specific measures be taken by the various training authorities and training establishments to create an environment conducive to learning in both official languages.

CF Action Plan

To clarify the scope of the recommendation, as per DND Policy on Individual Training and Education in OLs (DAOD 5039-6, Delivery of Training and Education in Both Official Languages), individual training and education must be made available in both OLs. TEs must offer this so that students can exercise their right to receive training in their OL of choice, rather than "learning in both OLs," as stated in the recommendation. In fact, to be proactive, this choice should be made at several junctures within a member's career.

That said, we are thankful to the OCOL's team for having encapsulated "a conducive environment" within manageable parameters. In the audit report's terms, the creation of this environment involves bilingual signage, memoranda and notifications and an equitable proportion of documentation in both OLs available in the school resource centres and libraries. It also mentions that the activities of the faculty and administration of TEs should promote the respect of both language groups as well as ensure the equitable use of both OLs in speeches and presentations and also during customary ceremonies. In this context, we agree with the recommendation and intend to fully support it.

First, DOL will endeavour to ensure that the TAs and Commanding Officers of National Schools have the necessary tools to educate their personnel with regard to their responsibilities. DOL is currently working on additional OL products that are intended to foster awareness. Also, to assist schools, TAs and senior leadership in monitoring our progress, DOL has developed a performance measurement system which will soon be operational. As an important component of the OLPTM, the system will improve our ability to ensure that our training environment is indeed conducive to learning in one's OL of choice.

Leadership is equally important in this matter. For this reason, Commanding Officers of national TEs will be reminded that it is part of their mandate to create and maintain such an environment, with the support of their respective TAs. It is the implementation of the measures described above, under the responsibility of Commanding Officers of TEs, that will contribute to the creation and maintenance of a work environment conducive to the use of both OLs.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DOL)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 12

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Defence Academy, together with the other training authorities, integrate into the current IT&E performance measurement initiative a component on language of training to ensure that the achievement of objectives and sub-objectives in this regard will be measured.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation. The IT&E Committee has achieved numerous successes since its inception. Having matured, this forum will continue to address all issues related to training and education, concentrating on framework and governance. As indicated at Recommendation 5, CDA will engage the active support of IT&E senior leadership in order to integrate a component on language of instruction into IT&E performance measurement.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 13

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, during the recruitment process and the promotional campaigns, the Canadian Forces highlight the professional and personal advantages of being bilingual in the Forces.

CF Action Plan

We support the recommendation. With the support of multiple career managers, we attempt to meet recruiting staff obligations with bilingual personnel. CFRG as a whole, and more specifically our recruiters, are capable of showcasing the linguistic duality of the CF and, thus, communicating with the public in both OLs. CFRG and the Public Affairs Branch will continue to incorporate the importance of a bilingual environment and promote its benefits in future promotional campaigns.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CFRG)
  • ADM (PA)
    • FY 10/11
Comments from the Commissioner

The purpose of the recommendation is to ensure that the advantages of being bilingual in the Canadian Forces is emphasized during the recruiting process and in promotional campaigns. We expect the action plan to be more explicit in this regard.The purpose of the recommendation is to ensure that the advantages of being bilingual in the Canadian Forces is emphasized during the recruiting process and in promotional campaigns. We expect the action plan to be more explicit in this regard.

Recommendation 14

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, while studying at the Royal Military College in Kingston and the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, officer cadets be given the opportunity and be supported in their efforts by the Canadian Forces to pursue their second-language training to attain a higher level of language proficiency after having achieved the required BBB level.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation. CDA continues to investigate effective means of providing students the opportunity to improve their linguistic profile beyond the BBB level keeping in consideration the demands of the other Canadian Military College pillars (academics, fitness and military culture) and report to the Senior Leadership with a plan to address the outcome.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 15

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that officials at the Royal Military College examine the reasons behind the higher failure rate for the bilingualism component and take the necessary steps to reduce it as much as possible.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation. The higher failure rate for the bilingualism component at RMC has long been a concern. CDA has recently developed a potential set of solutions to address any shortfall on SOLET success. They will be proposed to senior leadership.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA)
    • FY 10/11 and
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 16

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Non-Commissioned Members Professional Development Centre take proactive measures to ensure that, in plenary sessions and during presentations made by experts, every opportunity is given to Francophones to participate in the official language of their choice.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation and believe that Recommendation 16 is an extension of the environment mentioned at Recommendation 11. CDA, in this case, will work with key stakeholders who have made progress in the area of securing experts able to present professional development material in both OLs in order to address this issue.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (CDA)
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 17-A

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  • hold mandatory discussions between the career management group and the commanding officers of the various bilingual units to ensure that a sufficient number of military personnel can be posted in the context of the functional management concept as stipulated in the Official Languages Program Transformation Model to meet the linguistic requirements of these units.

CF Action Plan

Although we accept the recommendation in principle, the chronic lack of personnel resources, exacerbated by the operational tempo within which the CF evolves, will not permit us to hold such discussions. Notwithstanding, we intend to, at the very least, use other venues, such as emails, etc., to ensure that there is "communication" between the commanding officers of the various bilingual units and career managers.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DGMC)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 17-B

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  • integrate language training into the training plans of members who will be called upon to work in units requiring skills in their second language.

CF Action Plan

We agree with the recommendation and intend to give it the strongest support. We agree with the Audit Team's assessment that it is time the CF dealt with the perception of the lack of fairness affecting Francophone instructors, who are seen to be burdened with most of the responsibility of meeting the training demand in the members' official language of choice. We cannot argue that there should be a sufficient number of instructors from both language groups to ensure a fair distribution of the workload. Hence, more Anglophones need to be trained in their SOL to shift the balance away from a bilingual Franco-centric environment, and we must do so much earlier in their career. Fortunately, we are moving in that direction. Currently, the career management authorities and the Branch and environment succession planning committees have fully embraced the requirement for bilingualism and are also including language training as a crucial step in officer and senior NCM development.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DGMC)
    • FY 10/11
Comments from the Commissioner (Recommendations 17-A and 17-B)

We understand that the shortage of resources can make it more difficult to hold face to face meetings between career managers and commanding officers of bilingual units. However, we maintain that these meetings are unique opportunities to express differing points of view and to find innovative solutions. It should be possible to hold discussions during visits or during other meetings in certain cases where problems are particularly acute or pressing, at least as a starting point. By doing this, one could establish the precedent initially and then increase its application to more and more situations in time. We would like to see the Canadian Forces adopt a phased approach in implementing this recommendation.

Recommendation 18-A

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  • implement a tracking system for promotions of senior officers in line with the recent directive from the Chief of the Defence Staff and provide progress reports on this initiative to the Chief of Military Personnel, and adopt an equally visible and strict approach with respect to the promotion of chief warrant officers, chief petty officers, 1st class and commandants of training establishments, all with a view to ensuring that corrective measures are taken in a timely fashion.

CF Action Plan

We accept the recommendation.

A tracking system for promotions of senior officers already exists. At the time this response is written, we can provide progress reports on this initiative, and others, to the Chief of Military Personnel.

Corporately, a way forward has emerged, which should align the nomination of commandants of TEs and appointments of chief warrant officers and chief petty officers 1st class with the CDS's recent directive. It is expected that this new direction will be approved and implemented. Details will be provided once available.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DGMC)
    • FY 11/12

Recommendation 18-B

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces:

  • ensure that the point system for promotion of non-commissioned members who are bilingual and who wish to occupy key positions or receive senior appointments takes into account the three language skills (reading, writing and oral interaction) for these promotions.

CF Action Plan

We support this recommendation and DOL is currently preparing a position paper that will be submitted for consideration by senior leadership.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DOL)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 19

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Canadian Forces give priority for second-language training, as is the case for the Officer Corps, to non-commissioned members who will need to assume leadership roles in bilingual units at specific stages in their careers.

CF Action Plan

We agree with this recommendation and are happy to report that our career management authorities have already started to implement a system that allows strong, promising NCMs to attend language training. All agree with the assessment that NCMs who will need to assume leadership roles need to start the process early in their careers.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DGMC)
    • FY 10/11

Recommendation 20

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Chief of Military Personnel, in light of the concerns raised, undertake a review of the existing career management system to improve access to second-language training and retention for officers required to work in their second language and maintain these second-language skills once acquired.

CF Action Plan

Again, we agree with the recommendation and intend to give it full support.

Timelines and responsibility

  • CMP (DGMC)
    • FY 10/11

Footnotes

Footnote 1

National Defence, National Defence Official Languages Program Transformation Model, p. iii.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Derived from the DAOD 5031-2 and 8015-0.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Canadian Defence Academy presentation to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, March 2009.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

International Civil Aviation Organization, Standards and Recommended Practices Concerning Language Proficiency Requirements, page 2.3.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

Ibid., p. 1.3.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

Minutes of the second meeting of the ICAO Regional Airspace Safety Monitoring Advisory Group, October 8, 2004.

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

International Maritime Organization, Standard Marine Communication Phrases, Annex 1, Foreword.

Return to footnote 7 referrer

Footnote 8

Ibid., page 12.

Return to footnote 8 referrer

Footnote 9

Atsushi Tajima, Use of Second Language and Aviation Safety: Analysis of Fatal Miscommunication and Attempts for Prevention, paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, 2008. References to other studies given.

Return to footnote 9 referrer