Archived - Beyond Bilingual Meetings: Leadership Behaviours for Managers

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Executive summary

In the summer of 2009, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages contracted PGF Consultants Inc. to conduct a study to establish a Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages. This profile is for senior and middle managers, and is based on the principle that the leadership demonstrated by the managers and individuals of an institution is a contributing factor in federal employees exercising their right to use the official language of their choice in the workplace.

The Office of the Commissioner adopted a new approach for this study that involved identifying the positive behaviours of managers who foster the creation of a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages. During the study, information was collected through a literature review, case studies, discussion groups and a working session with experts. A total of 110 federal employees, representing 36 federal institutions, were consulted between the fall of 2009 and the summer of 2010.

The Government of Canada's Key Leadership Competencies Profile was released in 2005 and served as the conceptual framework for this study. Because the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages is modelled after the Government of Canada's profile, the four key competencies (Values and Ethics, Strategic Thinking, Engagement and Management Excellence) were repeated. This approach could facilitate the integration of the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages with the Key Leadership Competencies Profile used in the federal public service.

Within Canadian society, linguistic duality is a fundamental value and should be an essential part of the public service. Creating a public service that reflects this value is a major challenge that requires action at all levels of the federal government, starting at the most senior levels. The Government of Canada needs to develop and communicate a clear vision and clearly defined directives. Institutions must implement this vision and develop priorities that encourage commitment from all employees to linguistic duality within the public service.

Managers must also play a key role. They have to be official languages champions guided by the values of linguistic duality and respect. Not only must they have good language skills in both official languages, they must also be willing to use both languages at work and demonstrate behaviour that shows their commitment to linguistic duality in the public service.

The consultations conducted during this study helped to identify the essential characteristics and behaviours of a good leader in a bilingual public service. The study suggests that managers' actions have a direct impact, on a daily basis, on the use of both official languages within the public service. The Commissioner of Official Languages made five recommendations to facilitate the creation or maintenance of a workplace that is conducive to the use of both official languages.

The Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages is a tool for all public service managers. It includes a description of the competencies and behaviours for managers so that they can ensure that more federal employees exercise their right to use the official language of their choice.

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Over 40 years ago, Parliament adopted Canada's first Official Languages Act (the Act), which aimed to ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada and to establish equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions. This Act focused on service to the public.

After the proclamation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, the Act had to be updated in order to better reflect the constitutional language rights in the Charter. In 1988, Parliament adopted the current Act,Footnote 1 whose broader scope included the right of employees of federal institutions to work in the official language of their choice in designated bilingual regionsFootnote 2(Part V).

Treasury Board and Public Service Commission Circular No. 1977-46 defines the regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes. As stated in the Act and in Treasury Board policy, English and French are the languages of work in all federal institutions.Footnote 3 Therefore, it is expected that federal institutions within designated regions create and maintain a workplace that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages.Footnote 4 In unilingual regions, the language of work is the language that predominates in the province or territory where the work unit is located.

The Act reflects one of the fundamental values of Canadian society: linguistic duality. Creating an inclusive culture within federal institutions must ensure full respect for the language rights of Canadian citizens and of employees who work there. Public service renewal, one of the federal government's current priorities, is an opportunity to change how linguistic duality is perceived—not as a burden or an obligation that needs to be fulfilled, but as a value.

This study maintains that, to achieve full respect for language rights in the workplace, public service leaders must present linguistic duality as a fundamental value and conduct themselves in a way that promotes respect for it.

Official Languages in CanadaFootnote 5

The language rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Official Languages Act are ways to sustain linguistic duality. Canada's two main language groups, Anglophones and Francophones, are spread out across the country. The vast majority of Francophones in Canada live in Quebec (6,373,225); nearly 1 million Francophones (997,125) live in other provinces and territories. Quebec also has close to 1 million Anglophones (994,725).

The largest concentrations of Francophones outside of Quebec are in New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba, where they account for approximately 33%, 5% and 4% of the provincial population, respectively.

1.2 Language-of-work issues

Before 1988, there were no language-of-work rights in the federal public service. And so, over the decades, a particular atmosphere and certain work habits developed and became ingrained within federal institutions. The result is that today, using both official languages in the workplace does not come naturally. Even though the Act was amended over 20 years ago, there is still a significant gap between what the Act states and actual opportunities for employees to exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice.

Three studies conducted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages between 2004 and 2006Footnote 6 on language of work found that, overall, and from a strictly geographical point of view:

  • English is still the dominant language in federal institutions located outside of Quebec. And even though French is generally the language of work in regional offices located in Quebec, English is still prevalent in communications between regional and head offices. According to the studies, this is explained by the fact that:
    • Managers use little French even if they meet the language requirements of their positions.
    • Anglophones are not comfortable working in French, which results in the use of English.
    • Francophones have good knowledge of their second official language, which again results in the use of English. This situation culminates in the professional assimilation of Francophones, who then fail to maintain their French language skills.
    • To their own detriment, Francophones tend to use the language of their supervisor so that their work is fully appreciated.
  • In Quebec, Anglophones also experience difficulties using the official language of their choice at work.

Language-of-work issues are not limited to geographical considerations, however. Federal institutions also have offices, units and work teams that operate mainly in a particular official language because of the nature of their work, regardless of the geographical linguistic context. Federal employees whose preferred official language is not the one used by their team can also find themselves inherently in a minority situation and have difficulty asserting their language-of-work rights.

Thus, the minority-majority context goes beyond geographical borders, even in the workplace. When it comes to language-of-work rights, and particularly for the purposes of this study, the language of the minority is not just a matter of English in Quebec and French outside of Quebec; it's also the language that is under-represented within any given work environment.

In regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, the right to work in the official language of their choice is an individual right belonging to all public service employees, both English- and French-speaking. To some degree, federal employees are responsible for asserting this right. However, given Canada's linguistic context, senior and middle management need to create a work environment that makes employees feel comfortable doing so.

An Overview of Language of Work Around the World

Many countries have adopted language legislation for various reasons. In some cases, the purpose of the legislation is to establish the status of one official or national language, while in other countries the legislation stipulates the recognition of two or more official or national languages. In some countries where there is more than one official language, these languages are rarely seen together in the same workplace because they are used in different territories. This is the situation in Belgium, for example, which chose a territorial approach.

A brief review of international practices, particularly in South Africa, Spain and Finland, shows that countries with more than one official language do not worry too much about integrating these languages in the workplace. Looking at the language practices in other countries revealed the lack of concrete models for creating multilingual workplaces in the public administration. Canada is breaking new ground in this area, and must develop its own models and establish best practices to help meet its objectives.

2. Mandate and methodology

2.1 Mandate

In the summer of 2009, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages contracted PGF Consultants Inc. to conduct a study to establish a Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages. The objective of the study was to determine the skills and behaviours that must be adopted by senior management (directors general, assistant deputy ministers, deputy ministers) and middle management (supervisors, managers, directors) to create work environments “conducive to the effective use of both official languages.”Footnote 7 Within the same department, the ease or difficulty with which employees are able to exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice fluctuates, depending on the level of leadership demonstrated by managers.

Unlike the three previous studies on language of work conducted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the approach used for this study involved a new way of looking at the same issue in order to obtain different results. While recognizing that challenges exist, the objective was to identify the actions that managers must take to ensure that employees exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice and to change the way official languages are perceived within the federal government.

Employees and their supervisors can use the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages from this study to stimulate discussion on specific behaviours that should be adopted in order to increase opportunities for employees to exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice. Also, given that the profile was based on the Government of Canada's Key Leadership Competencies Profile, the two profiles can be used together. Integrating the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages with the federal government's profile could strengthen the government's commitment to official languages and help federal institutions fulfill their obligations under Part V of the Act.

2.2 Methodology

This study, conducted between the fall of 2009 and the summer of 2010, took a qualitative approach and was carried out in four stages: a literature review, case studies, discussion groups and a working session with experts. Each stage served as a stepping stone to the next. An advisory committee created when the study was launched consisted of representatives from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Public Service Commission of Canada, the Canada School of Public Service and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. This committee provided support during the various stages of the study.

A total of 110 federal employees, representing 36 federal institutions, were consulted. The profile of study participants is presented in Appendix A.

2.2.1 Literature review

The objective of the literature review was to examine the issues related to the use of official languages in Canada's public service. This involved documenting the legislation, policies, directives and practices in place in Canada and abroad, particularly in South Africa, Spain and Finland, which are recognized as having language policies.

Many references and sources consulted were collected beforehand by the Office of the Commissioner.

The bibliography is presented in Appendix B.

2.2.2 Case studies

The purpose of the case studies was to describe the organizational contexts, the obstacles encountered, the progress achieved and, most importantly, the skills and behaviours needed from leaders to create a work environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages and to ensure respect for employees' right to use either official language.

In cooperation with the study's advisory committee, three institutions were targeted based on their mandate, size, location, history, and progress or successes in creating a bilingual work environment. They were not selected as being representative, but rather based on specific criteria in order to obtain an interesting variety of information. To maintain the anonymity of the participants, these institutions are not named. However, it can be said that two are departments and one is an agency, and that two have their headquarters in the National Capital Region while the other is headquartered in Montréal.

Case studies consisted of individual one-hour interviews with senior and middle managers from each of the institutions. The interviewees were identified and invited to participate with the help of key people within these institutions, particularly official languages champions.

In total, 17 managers were interviewed: 7 senior managers and 10 middle managers. The interviews were conducted in the official language of the participants' choice.

The interview guide is presented in Appendix C.

2.2.3 Discussion groups

The aim of the discussion groups was to expand on the comments gathered in the case studies about managers' exemplary behaviour and to identify specific qualities, values and attitudes related to that behaviour. These discussions led to a draft Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages.

Ten discussion group sessions, each lasting a half day, were held in four cities located in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes: Moncton, Montréal, Ottawa and Sudbury. Five of the groups consisted of managers, including one group of young managers 35 years old and under, and the other five consisted of employees, including one group of young employees 35 years old and under.Footnote 8

Participation was voluntary and discussions were carried out in both official languages without interpretation services, as they would be during a bilingual meeting, with the facilitators alternating between languages and the participants using the official language of their choice.Footnote 9 Official languages champions and coordinators from various federal institutions shared information about the discussion groups with their networks.

The discussion guide is presented in Appendix D.

2.2.4 Working session with experts

A half-day working session with a group of experts helped to validate and revise, if necessary, the skills and behaviours identified during the two previous stages. Participants examined the skills and behaviours in terms of their relevance, applicability, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Among the invited experts were federal employees specializing in official languages, human resources and key leadership competencies, as well as public service managers. The composition of the group took into consideration the front-line role that managers will have to play in acquiring the identified skills and behaviours.

During the working session, participants were divided into two sub-groups to discuss specific issues. The results of these discussions were then presented and discussed in plenary.

The working document used by the group of experts is presented in Appendix E.

2.3 Conceptual framework

The federal government's Key Leadership Competencies Profile was used as the conceptual framework for the study. The following sub-sections define the key concepts.

2.3.1 Key Leadership Competencies Profile

In 2005 the federal government released a Key Leadership Competencies Profile that outlines the leadership skills and abilities that public service managers must demonstrate in order to meet current and future challenges.

The profile comprises four key competencies and related definitions, described below.Footnote 10

Values and ethics: Integrity and respect
Public Service (PS) leaders serve Canadians, ensuring integrity in personal and organizational practices, and respect people and PS principles, including democratic, professional, ethical, and people values. They build respectful, bilingual, diverse and inclusive workplaces where decisions and transactions are transparent and fair. They hold themselves, their employees, and their organizations accountable for their actions.
Strategic thinking: Analysis and ideas
PS leaders advise and plan based on analysis of issues and trends, and how these link to the responsibilities, capabilities, and potential of their organization. They scan an ever-changing, complex environment in anticipation of emerging crises and opportunities. They develop well-informed advice and strategies that are sensitive to the various needs of multiple stakeholders and partners, reflect the strategic direction of the PS, and position the organization for success.
Engagement: People, organizations, partners
PS leaders engage people, organizations, and partners in developing goals, executing plans, and delivering results. They lay the groundwork by building coalitions with key players. They mobilize teams, building momentum to get things done by communicating clearly and consistently, investing time and energy to engage the whole organization. They use their negotiation skills and adaptability to encourage recognition of joint concerns, collaboration, and to influence the success of outcomes. They follow and lead across boundaries to engage broad-based stakeholders, partners, and constituencies in a shared agenda and strategy.
Management excellence: Action management, people management, financial management
PS leaders deliver results by maximizing organizational effectiveness and sustainability. They ensure that people have the support and tools they need and that the workforce as a whole has the capacity and diversity to meet current and longer-term organizational objectives. They align people, work, and systems with the business strategy to harmonize how they work and what they do. They implement rigorous and comprehensive human and financial resources accountability systems consistent with the Management Accountability Framework (MAF). They ensure that the integrity and management of information and knowledge are a responsibility at all levels and a key factor in the design and execution of all policies and programs.

2.3.2 Key concepts of the study

The key concepts of the study were defined with the help of the Key Leadership Competencies Profile.

  • Competencies: skills, abilities and characteristics that a person, in this case a manager, applies in performing his or her work and that are observable as behaviours or actions.Footnote 11

    The skills, abilities and characteristics can include knowledge (for example, knowing or understanding a language); aptitudes, habits and attitudes (for example, using a language, identifying with a language, being open to a language); inherent qualities (for example, sociability or integrity); and the values or principles guiding the behaviour (for example, respect for official languages and for the equality of official languages).

  • Behaviours: observable, measurable and ongoing demonstration of a person's, in this case a manager's, skills, abilities and characteristics in performing his or her work.
  • Actions or practices: observable and measurable actions, carried out on an ad hoc basis.

2.4 Scope and limitations of the study

The purpose of this study was not to provide a comprehensive study of the language-of-work issue in the federal public service, but rather to suggest a new way of looking at official languages and language of work within the federal public service.

This study sought to highlight the fact that individual and institutional leadership are contributing factors in creating a workplace that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages. With this objective in mind, qualitative data was collected to show the importance of the managers' role in creating such a workplace, and to develop a Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages. The institutions that were examined in the case studies have already demonstrated leadership in the way they manage language of work.

This study undertook to identify the everyday behaviours of managers that have a direct impact on the use of the official language of employees' choice in the workplace, not to identify ad hoc initiatives or create an inventory of best practices. Many tools already exist for that purpose: for example, the report entitled Workplace and Workforce Taskforce - Compendium of Practical ApproachesFootnote 12 prepared by Monique Collette while she was President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. Ms. Collette was mandated to perform this work in August 2008 by Kevin Lynch, Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet. Ms. Collette was asked to explore ideas and practical approaches in three areas that have an impact on the workplace and on employee efficiency: creating and promoting a truly bilingual federal public service, improving lines of communication and promoting diversity.

3. Linguistic duality: A fundamental value

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms stipulates that English and French are the official languages of Canada, which is reiterated in the Official Languages Act. Linguistic duality is thus a fundamental value of Canadian society that should be an integral part of the public service. A change in corporate culture is necessary so that linguistic duality can be seen as a value and so that the language rights of all Canadian citizens, including those who work in the public service, are respected.

Making this type of change is a major challenge that requires action at all levels of the federal government, starting at the most senior levels. The federal government and each of the federal institutions must have an official languages vision and issue clear directives that are consistent with this vision. Official languages must be taken into consideration and integrated into the federal government's policies. In addition, senior management in each federal institution must commit to the priorities that support the government's official languages vision.

As pointed out by Ms. Collette in her report on the workplace and workforce, linguistic duality, like diversity, is key to building a representative, diverse and skilled public service.Footnote 13 Bilingualism in this context is a skill that enables federal employees to be more effective. There was a common understanding among many participants in the various stages of this study: once linguistic duality is an integral part of the methods and behaviours of public service managers and employees, official languages will no longer be perceived as a burden or as an obligation to be fulfilled. Only then will the federal workplace be conducive to the use of French just as much as English.

“There is a need to see official languages as a core value, as a sign of respect for one's fellow citizens and fellow civil servants.” – Study participant

3.1 A shared vision

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and federal institutions need to have a common vision of linguistic duality in order to better foster the use of both official languages in the workplace.

Within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

A significant number of study participants noted the need to develop an official languages vision. The vision must be clearly explained and conveyed, and take into account that there is a general misunderstanding of federal language policy and of language rights in general, particularly as they relate to language of work. Without a common vision of official languages in the public service, official languages will continue to be perceived as a burden and progress will be slow.

The most recent Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat survey on attitudes toward the use of both official languages in the public serviceFootnote 14 revealed federal employees' lack of understanding of language policy. For example:

  • Many employees—40% of Francophones and 29% of Anglophones—believe that the goal of the policies is to make most positions bilingual, when in fact the aim is to ensure respect for language rights (40% of public service positions are bilingualFootnote 15).
  • Most employees—over 70%—believe that they have the right to work in the official language of their choice even though this right is only for employees working in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes.
  • A significant number of employees—33% of Francophones and 21% of Anglophones—believe that, according to language policies, supervisors determine the language of work. In actual fact, in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, employees have the choice of working in either official language. Elsewhere, the language of work is the language that predominates in the province or territory where the work unit is located.

The survey results also indicated that there was no official languages vision within the public service. Study participants seemed to have difficulty agreeing on the goal of federal language policy or the way to describe an “ideal” workplace in terms of official languages.

Federal employees need to be properly informed about federal language policy—its objective, the resulting rights and obligations, and the overall official languages vision—in order to understand its importance and to share and promote the applicable values. It is very important for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as a central agency, to set the tone for official languages so that all federal institutions, which are responsible for implementing the Act, respect and champion the language rights of their employees.

“It is important for managers to feel that their superiors support them … If the department and its senior management aren't ready to take action, it will be difficult for managers to follow suit.” [translation] – Study participant

Within federal institutions

Senior executives in each federal institution have an important role to play in making linguistic duality a fundamental value of the public service. Above all else, senior management must develop an official languages vision, especially for language of work, for the institution as a whole. This vision should be based on the government's vision and encourage the commitment of managers at all levels. Many managers consulted during this study said that this vision must be focused on achieving meaningful results and come with an action plan that includes initiatives and tools with measurable outcomes.

Creating an environment and work methods that foster the use of both official languages at work is a major undertaking that requires action on a number of fronts. The means to accomplish this already exist, including designating supervisory positions as bilingual, providing opportunities for language training and learning retention, and assessing managers' performance. It is a question of being more strategic when implementing and using these means.

Designating supervisory positions as bilingual

Designating supervisory positions as bilingual is an essential condition for federal employees to exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice. Closely linked to this is the condition that the incumbents actually have the language skills necessary to communicate orally and in writing in both official languages and to understand and comment on documents in both official languages. If these conditions are not met, it is difficult, if not impossible, for federal employees to work and be supervised in the official language of their choice.

Data from the 2008 Public Service Employee Survey showed that there are still employees who do not feel that they can use the official language of their choice with their supervisor (close to 20% of Anglophones and Francophones), for writing (close to 40% of Francophones and 30% of Anglophones) or during meetings (close to 35% of Francophones and 30% of Anglophones).Footnote 16

According to study participants, too many bilingual positions, including supervisory positions, are still held by unilingual employees. The latest data indicates that in 2009, approximately 92% of employees in designated bilingual supervisory positions met the language requirements of the position.Footnote 17 On the surface, this statistic seems reasonably good. However, in reality, the situation is not as positive as it seems:

  • Even if nearly 92% of employees in designated bilingual supervisory positions meet the language requirements of their positions, half of those positions only require level B oral language skills.Footnote 18 Many study participants did not think this was a sufficient level to qualify someone as bilingual or to be able to communicate and supervise in both languages.
  • Many study participants noted that, in many cases, once incumbents achieve the level of language proficiency required for their position, they no longer use their second language, which means that they do not maintain that skill. And so even if the incumbents meet the language requirements on paper, they do not all necessarily have the language skills in their second official language.

“Both Anglophones and Francophones work in English. The Francophone managers and employees even write in English. Only Francophones who are proficient in the language write in French.” [translation] – Study participant

“One unit is mostly composed of Francophones who will speak in French but write in English. English is the written language of work, which has considerable impact considering that what remains and makes history is the written work.” – Study participant

In the end, it is not enough to designate supervisory positions as bilingual and to staff them imperatively. All supervisory positions must have a language profile of CBC and the incumbents must maintain their skills in their second official language to ensure actual bilingual capacity and foster a bilingual workplace.

Providing opportunities for language training and learning retention

Once the basic structure is put in place, which means that supervisory positions are designated bilingual and at an appropriate level, it is essential for incumbents to acquire and maintain the required language skills. The individual and the institution share the responsibility for this. The individual's responsibility consists of making a commitment to learn the other official language and using it daily in order to maintain this learning.

For its part, senior management must provide supervisors with the opportunity to participate in various language training programs, as needed, to achieve the appropriate level of skill in their second official language. The institution's official languages action plans must anticipate the financial resources required for language training (including costs of replacing positions).

“After language training, create an environment that supports the continued learning and practice of the language.” [translation] – Study participant

It is even more important that managers foster the use of both official languages at work—for example, through their commitment to linguistic duality and to respecting language-of-work rights—in order to create an environment that enables language skills to be maintained. Currently there do not seem to be enough opportunities to take language training and to use the acquired skills.Footnote 19

According to a number of study participants, opportunities for language training should not be reserved only for supervisors and managers. For proper succession planning, senior management must consider the language training and learning retention needs for the entire institution.

“Human resources planning and ensuring new recruits receive official languages training in their career will be key for the future.” – Study participant

Assessing managers' performance

Official languages are often perceived by managers as just one of the many obligations that need to be fulfilled. If this issue is not identified as a departmental priority, it will not receive the attention needed in order for workplaces to be truly conducive to the use of both languages. Also, if it is not included in managers' performance agreements, they will be less inclined to make it a priority.

Many study participants noted that managers and supervisors are not routinely assessed on their ability to create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages. This oversight has two negative consequences on federal employees: first, they do not feel that they can use the language of their choice at work, and second, they think that their work environment does not foster or value linguistic duality. Study participants consider it essential to include specific provisions in all managers' performance agreements that measure and assess their performance in the promotion and use of official languages in the workplace.

Including Official Languages in Performance Agreements

Managers from one of the federal institutions participating in the study said that official languages are included in the performance agreements for human and financial resources management. Specifically, managers' performance agreements take into account the promotion and use of official languages. In their opinion, it is a positive practice that makes linguistic duality a real priority within the institution.

Many study participants believe that making linguistic duality a fundamental value of the public service would make it easier for employees to use the official language of their choice at work. By developing, promoting and implementing an official languages vision, federal public service managers at all levels can create an inclusive work environment in their institutions and thereby foster the use of both official languages in the public service workplace. All senior executives and managers consulted during the study insisted on the importance of management's active commitment. They pointed out the importance of developing an integrated approach to the department's activities and priorities, and highlighted the relevance of including official languages in the department's strategic and operational planning process. Meaningful results can be achieved through the exemplary behaviour of senior management, through respect and sensitivity toward individuals, through the acquisition and promotion of a good understanding of both official languages and through an open-mindedness toward the two cultures.

“Progress needs constant attention. In times of crisis, good practices tend to lose attention.” – Study participant

3.2 A matter of respect

According to study participants, the Act resonates at the very heart of the Canadian identity, and the values it defends need to be integrated in the daily activities of all federal employees at all levels of government. These values include equality, respect, tolerance and integrity. Senior management must lead the way and set an example by ensuring that all federal managers manifest these values. Language is not just a method of communication; it is also a reflection of a culture and of a vision of Canadian society. Linguistic duality is an important milestone toward a society that is more diverse and more open to that diversity.

“Leaders in official languages need to believe, share core values, have respect in regard to official languages, linguistic duality, bilingualism.” – Study participant

A review of the literature on cultural diversity managementFootnote 20 highlights the close ties between managing diversity and managing linguistic duality. In fact, these two types of management originate from the same source: the need to respect the person as a whole, as an individual with a specific culture, a specific identity and a specific language.

Managing cultural diversity is not just about appropriate representation of individuals from various backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures within an organization; it is also about respecting people in the workplace as individuals and as representatives of their culture and background. This type of management requires special attention to the variations between cultures and individuals as well as an open-mindedness to these variations. Today, the vast majority of public service managers accept cultural diversity principles and put them into practice. Sound management of cultural diversity ensures the well-being of employees in the workplace because respect for their ethnicity and cultural background is an essential condition of this well-being.

Managing linguistic duality should be based on the same elements and have the same objectives, particularly the respect and well-being of employees. Generally, the two language communities have different cultural references and different ways of living, of doing things and of understanding the world.Footnote 21 Respecting linguistic duality is therefore not just a matter of respecting language differences; it is also a matter of respecting cultural differences. Looking at the issue in this way leads to the conclusion that, to foster respect for linguistic duality in the workplace, it is important for both language groups to have positive interactions so that they can get to know each other better and understand their differences.

“There needs to be an understanding of the link between language and culture. There needs to be more training, not only language training, but learning of culture, context, history, cultural sensitivities.” – Study participant

The consequences of not respecting language rights are significant. Based on consultations conducted during the study, some of the consequences were on a more practical level whereas others affected individuals in a more personal way. On a practical level, not being able to use the language of one's choice in the workplace has an impact on the quality of work produced. For example, because they are less comfortable in their second language, employees who do not have the opportunity to write in the official language of their choice could find it more difficult to express themselves and would therefore be less effective. On a personal level, employees whose language rights are not respected on a daily basis often feel like second class citizens and can experience significant stress. Discussion group participants said that not being able to work in the official language of their choice resulted in feelings of being misunderstood and underappreciated. Also, if the environment within the organization is not conducive to the use of both official languages, employees who exercise their right to work in the official language of their choice risk being singled out and identified as a “problem employee.”

The negative consequences of not respecting language rights do not end there, but go way beyond. Some researchers maintain that, over time, the lack of respect for the right to work in the official language of their choice could lead to the professional assimilation of members of a minority group.Footnote 22 According to research conducted by Matthieu LeBlanc, Francophones experience linguistic insecurity because of their intense contact with English. Various discussion group participants also noted a loss of skills in their first language because of the regular and continued use of their second language, to the point where they now prefer to use their second official language in certain aspects of their work.

“Francophones tend to switch to English, particularly when they don't know the technical terms in French, because the language of work has always been English.” – Study participant

To counter these effects, senior executives and managers need to understand the negative consequences of inaction on this issue and must give the same attention to language rights in the workplace as they do to cultural diversity. Sound management of diversity requires more than just complying with the law, it also requires adherence to the intrinsic values of cultural diversity. For linguistic duality management that goes beyond the Act, priority must be given to the equality of both official languages, and to the need to foster and value their use in the workplace, thus reflecting their status as a value of the public service and Canadian society. To achieve this, managers and senior executives must be proactive champions and defenders; they must find innovative practices and be constantly guided by these values.Footnote 23

4. Role of leaders in the public service

Within each federal institution, managers have a duty to promote the value of linguistic duality by setting an example in all areas and taking action that reflects this value. Otherwise, according to many study participants, the work environment does not foster the use of both official languages. Individual leadership in the public service is therefore a crucial element in creating a bilingual workplace. Many studiesFootnote 24 have demonstrated this connection, including:

  • The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages' studies, which showed that there is a close relationship between the importance given to official languages by public service leaders and the integration of official languages in the workplace.
  • Bourhis' research, which also highlighted the key role of managers and supervisors as a factor that influences the choice of language used in the workplace.
  • Boisvert and LeBlanc's report, which observed that senior management's lack of leadership is an obstacle to the use of both official languages in the public service.
  • The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's survey on the Attitudes towards the use of both official languages within the Public Service of Canada, in which leadership was identified as an important element in fostering a bilingual workplace. According to study participants, the behaviours and attitudes of senior management are among the major factors in determining the language of work.
  • Reports by the Young Professionals Network of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, in which participants in both of the forums on language of work emphasized the importance of having senior managers who are exemplary leaders.

“There is a need for very bilingual managers who set the standard and ensure the permanence of good practices” – Study participant

The consultations conducted during this study helped to identify the essential characteristics and behaviours of a good leader within a bilingual public service. A summary of these characteristics and behaviours is presented in the following sub-sections.

4.1 Essential characteristics

According to many study participants, having language skills in both official languages is perceived as an essential characteristic of a good leader within a bilingual public service. These skills enable managers to better serve Canadians in the official language of their choice. Bilingualism also helps senior executives and managers to foster a bilingual workplace and thereby properly exercise a leadership role. Language skills must be considered to be as important as any other leadership skill.

According to some study participants, there must be a sufficient number of senior executives who are comfortable in both official languages. Even though unilingual individuals can support bilingualism and demonstrate diligence in the application of the Act, the implementation of linguistic duality principles would be easier if the senior executives were bilingual themselves. It is not that they need to have a perfect knowledge of official languages, but rather that they be willing to use them. Furthermore, the responsibility of bilingualism should not only lie with one language group; it should be shared between the two groups to show that it is a value shared throughout the public service.Footnote 25

“You don't need to be perfectly bilingual to be a leader, but you need to have enough skills to understand and answer in the second language. You have to be willing to speak in your second official language in formal and informal settings.” – Study participant

“Managers who have difficulty speaking [their second language] are especially good examples because they show that it's not easy and it's okay to make mistakes. As a result, they are even more inspiring.” [translation] – Study participant

During the study, questions were raised about language skills and the use of both official languages in the workplace in highly specialized, technical or scientific fields. This issue seems to present some significant challenges. It is a reality that cannot be ignored, however, and should be further explored in order to find solutions, which may include providing specialized training in both official languages within the institution, or working with post-secondary institutions so that training in these types of fields is available in both official languages. Leaders in highly specialized fields need to recognize the difficulties involved and do their best to foster bilingualism and to respect their employees' language-of-work rights.

Other skills, besides language skills, that are essential to diversity management also apply particularly well to linguistic duality management. Based on the literature review and feedback from study participants, in order to be good leaders, public service managers must also be:

  • proactive defenders. When it comes to fostering a bilingual workplace, managers must be official languages champions and understand linguistic duality issues. They must promote official languages and speak out against inappropriate behaviour. They must show considerable determination in order to make official languages a priority within their institution.
  • skills-development oriented. Managers must commit to making skills development for employees one of their priorities. They must remove language barriers that hinder this development.
  • innovators. Managers must be able to provide an inclusive work environment and find opportunities to try new ways of doing things. They must find new solutions and be open to suggestions about how to overcome challenges, ensure respect for their employees' language rights and promote the use of both official languages.
  • values-oriented decision makers. Managers must consistently be guided by public service values in their decision making and their behaviour. They must recognize mistakes and deal with difficult situations immediately. They must be sensitive to conflicts and be able to face resistance or resentment toward the Act.
  • able to encourage their team to achieve results. Managers must consider official languages achievements as a key part of their overall performance framework.

“It takes courage to speak French and stand up for and respect our values … Managers must respect co-workers who dare to speak French during team meetings or in other situations.” [translation] – Study participant

4.2 Behaviours of a leader

Managers' actions reflect their values. According to the vast majority of study participants, leaders' actions have a direct impact on the use of both official languages within the public service.

  • Develop a vision: As mentioned in section 3 of this report, senior executives of federal institutions must develop a clear and measurable vision, including performance indicators, for official languages and particularly for language of work. This vision must be linked to departmental priorities and official languages in the workplace. More specifically, as discussion group participants noted, managers must identify key official languages results and share them with employees.
  • Promote rights and obligations: Study participants indicated that managers must actively and consistently commit to promoting official languages in the workplace. In their opinion, it involves reminding employees and supervisors of their language-of-work rights and obligations, and informing them about the strategies developed to ensure that the language rights of all employees are respected within the institution.
  • Ensure good planning: Study participants also identified certain behaviours that should be adopted when it comes to planning. First, when planning projects and activities, managers need to anticipate the time and space required to produce documents in both official languages at various steps in the process. It involves the kind of forethought that is unfortunately rarely done at the preliminary planning stages.

Second, it is important to include language training in employees' learning plans, even for incumbents of positions that are not designated bilingual. This will enable interested employees to have access to management positions because they will already have the required language skills. It is also important for managers to understand the various issues related to second-language learning so that they can provide proper support for language learning and retention.

“Actions speak louder than words … Knowing the obligations, responsibilities and rights is only a small part. What's most important is the behaviour and messages conveyed by the actions, like speaking in both official languages, writing in both official languages, accepting and reading documents in both official languages, and providing language training to all employees who request it” [translation] – Study participant

Study participants also identified certain behaviours that managers should adopt in their daily interactions with employees in order to foster the use of both official languages in the public service. In their opinion, in order to be good leaders within a bilingual public service, managers must:

  • Encourage employees to write in the official language of their choice. Employees should feel comfortable working in the language of their choice regardless of their supervisor's preferred language.
  • Respect their employees' preferred official language in individual communications. To do this, managers must first find out what the preferred official language of each of their employees is.
  • Have a good understanding of their employees' official languages needs and make work tools as well as editing and translation tools available in both official languages.
  • Hold bilingual meetings. Managers must make the effort to hold their meetings in a truly bilingual format and provide documentation in both official languages.

“Behaviour is extremely important, sometimes even more important than knowledge. Behaviour can be seen, particularly by employees.” [translation] – Study participant

“Walk the talk. To be a good leader, you have to do more than just give instructions, you have to practise what you preach in all situations.” [translation] – Study participant

5. Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages

The following table outlines the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages that was developed using data gathered from the study. The profile is essentially based on the contributions of participants throughout the study's last three stages. However, the Office of the Commissioner has made some additions to establish logical connections and to make some behaviours more explicit.

In order to make it easier to use and eventually integrate it into the Government of Canada's Key Leadership Competencies Profile, the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages uses the same general competencies headings.

Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages
General Competencies Intermediate Competencies Behaviours
Values and Ethics Communicates, through behaviour, the values of bilingualism and equality in official languages
  • Understands the impact of his or her actions and behaviours on employees and acts as a role model;
  • Feels comfortable communicating in both official languages and looks for opportunities to use them;
  • Follows bilingualism directives during meetings, individual meetings, etc.;
  • Treats employees equitably and fairly regardless of their language group or their language preference at work.
Shows respect for the language preferences of his or her employees
  • Finds out which official language each employee prefers to use at work;
  • Speaks to employees in the official language of their choice;
  • Consults employees to determine their language-of-work needs.
Maintains an environment of respect for both official languages
  • Ensures that employees feel comfortable using the official language of their choice;
  • Ensures equal treatment of both official languages in all areas of work (communications, documents, work tools, etc.);
  • Checks regularly to see whether employees' language needs are met;
  • Never hesitates to take measures to correct situations where official languages are not respected;
  • Uses both official languages in all work situations.
Demonstrates leadership in official languages
  • Maintains and demonstrates ongoing commitment toward bilingualism;
  • Finds tangible opportunities to promote bilingualism;
  • Informs employees of language-of-work responsibilities and meets these responsibilities;
  • Never hesitates to make difficult decisions to correct situations where employees' language-of-work rights are not respected;
  • Continuously seeks to improve the work environment so that it is conducive to the use of both official languages.
Strategic Thinking Develops a vision for official languages in the workplace
  • Develops a vision for official languages in the workplace that goes beyond the strict application of the Official Languages Act and that is focused on respect for employees and on their well-being;
  • Develops an official languages vision based on the Canadian values of linguistic duality and cultural diversity;
  • Develops a vision that reflects the institution's mandate while adhering to the principles and spirit of the Official Languages Act.
Takes the necessary measures to ensure that the vision is understood within the institution
  • Takes the necessary measures to ensure that all employees in the institution have a common understanding of the vision (through training, concrete examples, discussion groups, workshops during annual meetings, etc.);
  • Communicates this vision to employees (regular discussions, etc.);
  • Clearly understands his or her own responsibilities in the implementation of the vision and shares them with employees.
Uses strategic methods to ensure that the vision is respected
  • Is aware of the issues associated with implementing the vision and does not hide or ignore them;
  • Involves employees in implementing the vision;
  • Develops a series of best practices in cooperation with various working groups;
  • Outlines specific expectations with respect to language of work;
  • Clearly identifies objectives and expected results;
  • Measures the extent to which the objectives are met;
  • Uses both official languages in all work situations.
Engagement Communicates his or her commitment and departmental commitment
  • Communicates departmental vision and commitment regarding language of work to all employees;
  • Regularly reminds employees that respect for official languages in the workplace is a priority.
Demonstrates, through action, his or her commitment to ensuring that language-of-work rights are respected
  • Ensures that language-of-work objectives are included in supervisors’ performance agreements;
  • Develops specific indicators to achieve organizational objectives;
  • Includes official languages in the team’s mission statement;
  • Demonstrates diligence in taking corrective action, when necessary.
Shows consistency in his or her commitment to official languages
  • Communicates on a daily basis in both official languages;
  • Informs employees of their language rights on an ongoing basis;
  • Informs managers of employees’ language rights on an ongoing basis;
  • Ensures that good practices are systematically implemented.
Demonstrates persistence in applying Part V of the Official Languages Act
  • Recognizes that change can be slow and perseveres without being discouraged;
  • Develops a long-term vision and steadily implements it.
Demonstrates courage in taking corrective action to ensure that employees’ rights are respected
  • Represents employees to ensure their rights are respected;
  • Shows boldness, creativity and initiative in the action taken to ensure that Part V of the Official Languages Act is respected;
  • Is honest and transparent with managers and employees when they do not respect Part V of the Official Languages Act;
  • Takes corrective action, when needed.
Shows sensitivity in dealing with language-of-work issues
  • Recognizes potential conflicts related to language-of-work issues and handles them with discretion and tact;
  • Is sensitive to cultural differences and to the connection between language and identity;
  • Shows empathy and consideration when dealing with emotional issues regarding language of work;
  • Is sensitive to sociocultural and other factors that influence the language of work and the language dynamic;
  • Is able to distinguish between the personal opinions of some, while ensuring that the language rights of all are respected;
  • Understands and analyzes his or her own language-of-work issues;
  • Uses persuasion rather than coercion.
Management Excellence Ensures that communications with employees are bilingual and that the preferred official language of each individual is respected
  • Ensures that all general interest e-mails are in both official languages;
  • Ensures a good balance of official languages in staff presentations, general meetings, etc.;
  • Ensures that all employees can communicate in the official language of their choice with personal and central services (human resources, safety, etc.).
Ensures that written documents are available in both official languages
  • Anticipates translation needs and plans projects accordingly;
  • Ensures that documents are translated professionally rather than relying on employees who speak that language;
  • Makes documents available simultaneously in both official languages and ensures that they are of equal quality;
  • Encourages employees to prepare documents in the official language of their choice;
  • Anticipates translation costs while preparing the budget and regularly reviews them.
Ensures that employees have the required language skills
  • Regularly re-evaluates the skill levels needed for supervisory positions;
  • Determines with employees, during their performance assessment, whether they still have the language skills required for the position and discusses all the training and learning retention needs;
  • Includes language training and learning retention in the training plan;
  • Reminds employees, during performance assessments, of their responsibilities with respect to learning retention;
  • Informs employees that proficiency in both official languages is an essential skill for access to supervisory positions;
  • Encourages employees to anticipate their future language needs and helps them meet their objectives.
Provides training and learning retention opportunities
  • Seeks innovative ways to ensure opportunities for training or learning retention (coaching, on-line courses, etc.) so that employees can integrate their training into their career path;
  • Creates opportunities for discussion in the workplace (lunches in the second language, information sessions, etc.);
  • Provides employees returning from language training with work tools (editing and translation software, etc.) that will help them use and maintain their second language.
Fosters harmony within the teams
  • Creates opportunities for discussions on official languages and related cultures (lunch-and-learn sessions, etc.);
  • Seeks to resolve conflicts as soon as they occur.
Holds bilingual meetings and encourages employees to participate
  • Holds meetings in a bilingual format from start to finish;
  • Encourages employees to speak in the official language of their choice;
  • Ensures that all meeting documents are available in both official languages;
  • Ensures that assistants can draft minutes and follow-ups in both official languages;
  • Posts the protocol for bilingual meetings in the meeting rooms or elsewhere;
  • Speaks in the other official language when the meeting is being held mostly in one language;
  • Ensures that employees understand what is required to hold a bilingual meeting: as needed, distributes the protocol on holding bilingual meetings to employees and encourages them to use it;
  • Periodically assesses respect for official languages during meetings and reminds individuals of the procedures to follow;
  • Provides training on holding bilingual meetings, as needed.
Ensures that training and work tools are available in both official languages
  • Checks the preferences of employees as soon as they arrive and informs them of their right to have tools (software, manuals, etc.) and training in the official language of their choice;
  • Regularly checks that employees' needs have been met.

6. Conclusion and recommendations

Linguistic duality is a fundamental value of Canadian society that must also be fully integrated within the public service. A change in corporate culture is needed to ensure that official languages are no longer perceived as an administrative burden, but instead as an asset that enables the public service to be more representative of the population that it serves, and therefore more relevant.

Creating a corporate environment where official languages are valued requires commitment and a willingness to act from all executives and managers at all levels of government. The Government of Canada needs to develop and communicate a clear vision and clearly defined directives. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Office of the Chief of Human Resources Officer must demonstrate exemplary leadership in order to set an example for all federal institutions. This is a critical role that they must play to ensure that Part V of the Act is implemented consistently within federal institutions.

Institutions must also develop and communicate a vision and priorities that encourage employees' commitment to linguistic duality in the workplace. Senior management must be more strategic in its various actions and work toward achieving concrete results in this area.

Lastly, to help create a bilingual work environment where openness to both official languages is present and valued, linguistic duality must be conveyed through the behaviour of senior executives and managers within federal institutions. The actions of managers have a direct impact, on a daily basis, on the use of both official languages within the public service.

Managing linguistic duality on a daily basis—and ensuring that federal employees who work in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes can effectively use the official language of their choice—is a matter of respect. Fostering linguistic duality in the workplace requires more than just acknowledging linguistic differences: it involves respecting each person as a whole, including their culture, identity and language. Looking at the issue in this way means that, to foster respect for linguistic duality in the workplace, it is important for both language groups to have positive interactions so that they can get to know each other better and understand their differences. Managers, through their actions, can have a significant influence on this.

Managers must be official languages champions, guided by the values of linguistic duality and respect. Not only must they have good language skills in both official languages, they must also be willing to use both languages at work and demonstrate behaviour that shows their commitment to linguistic duality within the public service.

Recommendations

Based on the observations of this study, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that:

  1. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, when revising language policies, take into account the importance of promoting linguistic duality as a fundamental value of the public service and of institutional and individual leadership.
  2. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat consider the possibility of including the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages when revising the Key Leadership Competencies Profile.
  3. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat examine the language-of-work issue as a whole in order to broaden its interpretation of Part V of the Official Languages Act to include all employees who work in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, regardless of the linguistic designation of their position.
  4. Public service managers at all levels adopt the behaviours identified in the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages and that their supervisors take these efforts into account.
  5. The Canada School of Public Service add an official languages component, which includes the Leadership Competencies Profile for Official Languages, to its leadership training.

Appendix A - Profile of study participants

Case studies: Interviews with managers

Participants in case studies by level of management and language chosen at interview
  English French English and French Total
Institution A
National Capital Region
Senior managers 1 1   2
Middle managers   4   4
Institution B
National Capital Region
Senior managers 2 1   3
Middle managers 1 2   3
Institution C
Montréal
Senior managers   1 1 2
Middle managers 1 2   3
Total 5 11 1 17

Discussion groups in the regions

Participants in discussion groups by region and pre-selected language
  English French English and French Unknown Total
Managers
Moncton 1 4 1 2 8
Montréal 2 3 2 0 7
National Capital Region (youth) 2 3 0 0 5
National Capital Region 1 4 3 0 8
Sudbury 1 2 2 1 6
Employees
Moncton 1 4 2 1 8
Montréal 1 8 1 0 10
National Capital Region (youth) 2 3 2 0 7
National Capital Region 3 3 2 0 8
Sudbury 1 1 3 1 6
Total 15 35 18 5 73

Working session with experts

Professional expertise of participants at working session with experts
  Managers Human resources experts Experts in key leadership competencies Official languages experts
Note: Since the areas of expertise are not mutually exclusive, the totals on each line are greater than the number of participants shown in parentheses in the left-hand column.
Participants (11) 7 8 3 4
Representatives of the Office of the Commissioner (6) 3 1 1 5
Consultants (3) 2 1 1 3

Federal institutions represented in the study

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canada School of Public Service
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Courts Administration Service
  • Environment Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
  • Industry Canada
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • National Defence
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Parks Canada
  • Privy Council Office
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Public Service Commission of Canada
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Service Canada
  • Statistics Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
  • VIA Rail Canada

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Canada. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Policy on Language of Work / Politique sur la langue de travail. Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2004. Also available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12520 (accessed 29 October 2010).

Canada. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Policy on Learning, Training, and Development / Politique en matière d'apprentissage, de formation et de perfectionnement. Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2006. Also available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12405 (accessed 29 October 2010).

Canada. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Policy on Official Languages for Human Resources Management / Politique sur les langues officielles pour la gestion des ressources humaines. Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2004. Also available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12521 (accessed 29 October 2010).

Canada. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Policy on the Use of Official Languages for Communications with and Services to the Public / Politique sur l'utilisation des langues officielles pour les communications avec le public et la prestation des services. Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2005. Also available online at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=12526 (accessed 29 October 2010).

Clément, Richard, Susan C. Baker and Peter D. MacIntyre. “Willingness to Communicate in a Second Language: The Effects of Context, Norms, and Vitality.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 22,2 (June 2003): 190–209.

Collette, Monique. Workplace and Workforce Task Force – Compendium of Practical Approaches / Groupe de travail sur le milieu de travail et l'effectif – Recueil d'approches pratiques. Ottawa, Ontario: Canada School of Public Service, 2009. Also available online at www.csps-efpc.gc.ca/pbp/pub/ww-cpa-eng.asp (accessed 29 October 2010).

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Heller, Monica. “Aspects sociolinguistiques de la francisation d'une entreprise privée.Sociologie et sociétés 21,2 (October 1989): 115–128. Also available online at http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/001344ar (accessed 29 October 2010).

Henein, Amal, and Françoise Morissette. Made in Canada Leadership: Wisdom from the Nation's Best and Brightest on Leadership Practice and Development. Mississauga, Ontario: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., 2007.

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LeBlanc, Matthieu. Pratiques langagières et bilinguisme dans la fonction publique fédérale : le cas d'un milieu de travail bilingue en Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick. PhD thesis. Université de Moncton, 2008. Also available online at  http://professeur.umoncton.ca/umcm-leblanc_matthieu/files/umcm-leblanc_matthieu/wf/wf/Th__se_PhD_MLeBlanc.pdf (accessed 29 October 2010).

Leclerc, Jacques. “Afrique du Sud : La politique linguistique du multilinguisme.L'aménagement linguistique dans le monde. Québec, Quebec: Université Laval, 2010. www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/afrique/afriquesud-4pol-linguistique.htm (accessed 29 October 2010).

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McRae, Kenneth D. Conflict and Compromise in Multilingual Societies: Finland. Vol. 3. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1997.

New Brunswick. Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Annual Report 2009–2010: Building the Future…with Two Languages. Fredericton, New Brunswick: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, 2010. Also available online at www.officiallanguages.nb.ca/publications/2009-2010%20ANNUAL%20REPORT1.pdf (accessed 29 October 2010).

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Young Professionals Network of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Report of the Young Professionals Forum on Language of Work Held on November 10, 2009. Ottawa, Ontario: unpublished report produced for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, 2009.

Appendix C - Interview guide: Case studies

Part A – Institutional Practices

Interviewee's practices

1. What do you think needs to be done to encourage managers and staff to use the official language of their choice?

2. What do you do on an everyday basis to show your support for linguistic duality in your workplace?

Institutional practices

3. Over the past five years, has your institution had difficulties regarding the use of both official languages?

4. Over the past five years, has your institution made significant progress in terms of the use of both official languages? Progress can result from formal or informal initiatives, or even cultural change. We would like examples of any types of progress.

5. During the past five years, has your institution implemented any best practices to promote the use of both official languages, especially the use of the official language of the employee's choice in the workplace?

Part B – Exemplary Leadership in Linguistic Duality in the Public Service

Definition and demonstration of exemplary leadership in fostering the use of both official languages

6a. Imagine a manager who is a leader in fostering the use of both official languages in the workplace. What skill or knowledge do you think they would need to be a leader in this field? Does this apply to all levels of management?

6b. What behaviours or practices do you think are necessary for leadership? Does this apply at all levels of management?

6c. What do you think is the most effective behaviour a manager can adopt to demonstrate their commitment to linguistic duality and to enable employees to work in the official language of their choice? Does this apply at all levels of management?

Conditions for exercising exemplary leadership promoting the use of both official languages

7. Some institutions have more success than others in managing a bilingual public service. In your opinion, are there organizational conditions that foster the use of both official languages in the workplace?

Part C – Conclusion

Other comments, suggestions and closing remarks

8. The information obtained during the case studies will be added to the information we collect from discussion groups, which will then be validated during a working session with experts in order to determine an official languages competencies profile. Do you think an official languages competencies profile would be a useful tool?

9. Do you have any other comments or suggestions to make regarding this study?

10. Would you agree to be contacted in the future, for example to participate in further stages of the study?

Appendix D - Discussion guide: Discussion groups

Leadership discussion

  1. Based on the information collected, managers themselves must be a model of respect for official languages if they want them to be respected.
    • In your opinion, and based on your personal circumstances, what should a manager do to be a model?
  2. Based on the information collected, managers should remind their staff about their language rights and create a work environment in which the rights of some and the obligations of others coexist.
    • In your opinion, what is the best way to do this?
  3. Based on the information collected, managers should be sensitive to individuals' language of choice and to cultural and emotional aspects of language issues.
    • How should this sensitivity be demonstrated?
  4. Based on the information collected, there should be a vision for official languages in the work environment.
    • In your opinion, what would such a vision consist of?
  5. Among the qualities and values of a manager, which are the most important to demonstrate leadership? Why?

Appendix E - Working document: Working session with experts

1. Meetings

Questions

  1. Do you think that this behaviour is relevant or likely to help create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages?
  2. Do you think it is realistic to believe that managers would put into practice such behaviour?
  3. Do you think that this statement of behaviour is well formulated, with clarity and accuracy? Is it redundant?

Identified behaviours

  • 1.1 Be open to and comfortable with speaking your second language (values and ethics).
  • 1.2 Show your openness by conducting meetings that are truly bilingual from start to finish; don't just say a few words at the beginning and the end (values and ethics).
  • 1.3 Show respect by making documentation available in both official languages: agenda, minutes, documents to be discussed during the meeting (management excellence).
  • 1.4 Teach managers how to lead truly bilingual meetings (management excellence).
  • 1.5 Respect your employees by knowing their language preferences and addressing them in the language of their choice (values and ethics).

2. Personal and central services

Questions

  1. Do you think that this behaviour is relevant or likely to help create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages?
  2. Do you think it is realistic to believe that managers would put into practice such behaviour?
  3. Do you think that this statement of behaviour is well formulated, with clarity and accuracy? Is it redundant?

Identified behaviour

  • 2.1 Develop at the corporate level a bilingualism facilitator service, who will work on-site with managers and employees (management excellence).

3. Training

Questions

  1. Do you think that this behaviour is relevant or likely to help create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages?
  2. Do you think it is realistic to believe that managers would put into practice such behaviour?
  3. Do you think that this statement of behaviour is well formulated, with clarity and accuracy? Is it redundant?

Identified behaviours

  • 3.1 Encourage employees to take language training and support them by creating learning opportunities such as events and presentations (management excellence).
  • 3.2 Support employees who have just completed language training by pairing them with bilingual employees and making translation and correction tools available (management excellence).
  • 3.3 Be open to creating opportunities for second-language maintenance (bilingual info lunches, official languages days) (management excellence).
  • 3.4 Include an official languages component in language training programs (management excellence).
  • 3.5 Include language training in employee development plans (management excellence).
  • 3.6 Make sure employees are aware and informed of their language rights (values and ethics).
  • 3.7 Encourage employees to share responsibility for learning the other official language and maintaining their skills (engagement).
  • 3.8 Respect employees by planning for the human and financial resources and time needed for translation (management excellence).

4. Supervision/Management

Questions

  1. Do you think that this behaviour is relevant or likely to help create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages?
  2. Do you think it is realistic to believe that managers would put into practice such behaviour?
  3. Do you think that this statement of behaviour is well formulated, with clarity and accuracy? Is it redundant?

Identified behaviours

  • 4.1 Lead by example (engagement).
  • 4.2 Believe in the importance of official languages.
  • 4.3 Develop, with your team, a vision and strategies for implementing the Official Languages Act, identify the results, and set out your expectations (strategic thinking).
  • 4.4 When developing activities, plan for the time and space necessary to ensure that everything is fully bilingual (time limitations are too often used as an excuse) (management excellence).
  • 4.5 Build ties between departmental priorities and official languages in order to integrate them into program implementation (strategic thinking).
  • 4.6 Know and fulfill your obligations as a manager (engagement).
  • 4.7 Use professional translators rather than asking bilingual employees to do translations (management excellence).
  • 4.8 Comply with the letter and spirit of Part V of the Official Languages Act (values and ethics).

5. Communications

Questions

  1. Do you think that this behaviour is relevant or likely to help create a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages?
  2. Do you think it is realistic to believe that managers would put into practice such behaviour?
  3. Do you think that this statement of behaviour is well formulated, with clarity and accuracy? Is it redundant?

Identified behaviours

  • 5.1 Plan for the necessary resources to ensure that reports, work tools, messages, etc. are available simultaneously and of equal quality in both official languages, including documents circulated in draft form (values and ethics).
  • 5.2 Ensure that all communications are in both official languages simultaneously (values and ethics).
  • 5.3 Know employees' official language preference and always use their preferred language when communicating with them (values and ethics).
  • 5.4 Inform new employees of their rights upon their arrival and include information in their welcoming kit (management excellence).
  • 5.5 Be frank and open in difficult and complex situations, initiate dialogue, and explain to employees the reasons for your decisions/actions (values and ethics).
  • 5.6 Write bilingual e-mails (management excellence).
  • 5.7 Ensure that you have a bilingual voicemail message (management excellence).
  • 5.8 Give equal priority to documents prepared in the other official language (values and ethics).
  • 5.9 Consult with employees to learn their needs (management excellence).
  • 5.10 Promote use of templates for voicemail messages, e-mail signatures, and other tools in both languages (management excellence).

Appendix F - List of designated bilingual regions for language-of-work purposes

Regions of Canada prescribed under subsection 35(2) of the Official Languages Act

The following is a copy of the list of regions of Canada set out in the Treasury Board and Public Service Commission Circular No. 1977-46 of September 30, 1977, in Annex B of the part entitled "Official Languages in the Public Service of Canada: A Statement of Policies".

A. The National Capital Region


B. The Province of New Brunswick


C. The bilingual region of Montréal

1. The county of Deux-Montagnes including:

(a) Cities
Deux-Montagnes
Ste-Scholastique

(b) Towns
Oka-sur-le-Lac
St-Eustache

2. The county of Île-de-Montréal and Île-Jésus including:

(a) Cities
Beaconsfield
Côte-St-Luc
Dorval
Lachine
LaSalle
Laval
Montréal
Montréal-Nord
Outremont
Pierrefonds
Pointe-aux-Trembles
Pointe-Claire
St-Laurent
St-Léonard
Verdun
Westmount

(b) Towns
Anjou
Baie-d'Urfé
Dollard-des-Ormeaux
Hampstead
Île-Dorval
Kirkland
Montréal-Est
Montréal-Ouest
Mont-Royal
Roxboro
Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue
Ste-Geneviève
St-Pierre

3. The county of La Prairie including:

(a) Towns
Brossard
Candiac
Delson
La Prairie

4. The county of Vaudreuil including:

(a) Towns
Dorion
Hudson
Île-Cadieux
Île-Perrot
Pincourt
Pointe-du-Moulin
Rigaud
Vaudreuil


D. The bilingual regions of "other parts of Quebec"

1. The county of Bonaventure including:

(a) Town
New-Richmond

2. The county of Gaspé-Est including:

(a) Cities
Gaspé
Percé

(b) Town
Chandler

3. The county of Brome including:

(a) Towns
Bromont
Lac-Brome
Sutton

4. The county of Compton including:

(a) Towns
Cookshire
East-Angus
Scotstown
Waterville

5. The county of Huntingdon including:

(a) Town
Huntingdon

6. The county of Missisquoi including:

(a) City
Farnham

(b) Towns
Bedford
Cowansville

7. The county of Richmond including:

(a) Towns
Asbestos
Bromptonville
Danville
Richmond
Windsor

8. The county of Sherbrooke including:

(a) City
Sherbrooke

(b) Town
Lennoxville

9. The county of Stanstead including:

(a) City
Magog

(b) Towns
Coaticook
Rock Island

10. The county of Argenteuil including:

(a) City
Lachute

(b) Town
Barkmere

11. The county of Pontiac (excluding those sections of the county located in the National Capital Region)


E. The bilingual region of Eastern Ontario

1. The county of Glengarry including:

(a) Town
Alexandria

2. The county of Prescott including:

(a) Towns
Hawkesbury
Vankleek Hill

3. The county of Russell including:

(a) Town
Rockland (excluding those sections of the county located in the National Capital Region)

4. The county of Stormont including:

(a) City
Cornwall


F. The bilingual region of Northern Ontario

1. The county of Algoma including:

(a) City
Sault Ste Marie

(b) Towns
Blind River
Bruce Mines
Thessalon

2. The county of Cochrane including:

(a) Towns
Cochrane
Hearst
Iroquois Falls
Kapuskasing
Smooth Rock Falls
Timmins

3. The county of Nipissing including:

(a) City
North Bay

(b) Towns
Bonfield
Cache Bay
Mattawa
Sturgeon Falls

4. The county of Sudbury including:

(a) City
Sudbury

(b) Towns
Capreol
Coniston
Copper Cliff
Espanola
Levack
Lively
Massey
Webbwood

5. The county of Timiskaming including:

(a) Towns
Charlton
Cobalt
Englehart
Latchford
New Liskeard

Appendix G - Part V of the Official Languages Act

Official Languages Act, Part V, Language of Work

Rights relating to language of work

34. English and French are the languages of work in all federal institutions, and officers and employees of all federal institutions have the right to use either official language in accordance with this Part.

Duties of government

35. (1) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that

a) within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed, work environments of the institution are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its officers and employees; and

b) in all parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (a), the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where one official language predominates is reasonably comparable to the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where the other official language predominates.

Regions of Canada prescribed

(2) The regions of Canada set out in Annex B of the part of the Treasury Board and Public Service Commission Circular No. 1977-46 of September 30, 1977 that is entitled “Official Languages in the Public Service of Canada: A Statement of Policies” are prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a).

Minimum duties in relation to prescribed regions

36. (1) Every federal institution has the duty, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to

a) make available in both official languages to officers and employees of the institution

i) services that are provided to officers and employees, including services that are provided to them as individuals and services that are centrally provided by the institution to support them in the performance of their duties, and

ii) regularly and widely used work instruments produced by or on behalf of that or any other federal institution;

b) ensure that regularly and widely used automated systems for the processing and communication of data acquired or produced by the institution on or after January 1, 1991 can be used in either official language; and

c) ensure that,

i) where it is appropriate or necessary in order to create a work environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages, supervisors are able to communicate in both official languages with officers and employees of the institution in carrying out their supervisory responsibility, and

ii) any management group that is responsible for the general direction of the institution as a whole has the capacity to function in both official languages.

Additional duties in prescribed regions

(2) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), such measures are taken in addition to those required under subsection (1) as can reasonably be taken to establish and maintain work environments of the institution that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its officers and employees.

Special duties for institutions directing or providing services to others

37. Every federal institution that has authority to direct, or provides services to, other federal institutions has the duty to ensure that it exercises its powers and carries out its duties in relation to those other institutions in a manner that accommodates the use of either official language by officers and employees of those institutions.

Regulations

38. (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations in respect of federal institutions, other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer or office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner,

a) prescribing, in respect of any part or region of Canada or any place outside Canada,

i) any services or work instruments that are to be made available by those institutions in both official languages to officers or employees of those institutions,

ii) any automated systems for the processing and communication of data that must be available for use in both official languages, and

iii) any supervisory or management functions that are to be carried out by those institutions in both official languages;

b) prescribing any other measures that are to be taken, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to establish and maintain work environments of those institutions that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by their officers and employees;

c) requiring that either or both official languages be used in communications with offices of those institutions that are located in any part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, specified in the regulations;

d) prescribing the manner in which any duties of those institutions under this Part or the regulations made under this Part in relation to the use of both official languages are to be carried out; and

e) prescribing obligations of those institutions in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada by the institutions in respect of offices in parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages.

Idem

(2) The Governor in Council may make regulations

a) adding to or deleting from the regions of Canada prescribed by subsection 35(2) or prescribing any other part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to

i) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking officers and employees who constitute the work force of federal institutions based in the parts, regions or places prescribed,

ii) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking persons resident in the parts or regions prescribed, and

iii) any other factors that the Governor in Council considers appropriate; and

b) substituting, with respect to any federal institution other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer or office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, a duty in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada in place of a duty under section 36 or the regulations made under subsection (1), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages, if there is a demonstrable conflict between the duty under section 36 or the regulations and the mandate of the institution.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

In 2005, the amendment of Part VII on the advancement of English and French was added.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

See Appendix F.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

The language obligations for service to the public, for supervision and for provision of central and personal services to employees take precedence over the right of employees to use the official language of their choice.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages interprets the Official Languages Act in a less restrictive way than the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The Office of the Commissioner interprets some provisions of Part V of the act as granting a right available to all federal employees who work in a designated bilingual region, regardless of the linguistic designation of their position, while the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat provides this right only to incumbents of bilingual or either/or positions.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

Data from Statistics Canada 2006 Census.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

Official Languages Act, Part V, paragraph 35(1) (a). See Appendix G.

Return to footnote 7 referrer

Footnote 8

The groups of young public servants (managers and employees) were created to determine whether they would have different views with regard to the skills and behaviours that public service managers need to adopt to foster a bilingual workplace. No significant difference was reported.

Return to footnote 8 referrer

Footnote 9

Because of the bilingual format of the discussions, some federal employees who are not comfortable using both official languages may have excluded themselves from the study. Therefore, the opinions gathered during the discussion groups are limited to a certain group of employees.

Return to footnote 9 referrer

Footnote 10

Canada Public Service Agency and the Pubic Service Commission, Key Leadership Competencies (Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada), 2006, p. 3.

Return to footnote 10 referrer

Footnote 11

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Frequently Asked Questions on Key Leadership Competencies (Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), 2006.

Return to footnote 11 referrer

Footnote 12

Monique Collette, Workplace and Workforce Task Force - Compendium of Practical Approaches (Ottawa, Ontario: Canada School of Public Service), 2009.

Return to footnote 12 referrer

Footnote 13

Collette, Workplace and Workforce Task Force.

Return to footnote 13 referrer

Footnote 14

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Attitudes Towards the Use of Both Official Languages Within the Public Service of Canada – Executive Report (Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), 2002.

Return to footnote 14 referrer

Footnote 15

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Annual Report on Official Languages 2008–2009 (Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), 2010, p. 1.

Return to footnote 15 referrer

Footnote 16

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 2008 Public Service Employee Survey Results (Ottawa, Ontario: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), 2008.

Return to footnote 16 referrer

Footnote 17

Treasury Board, Annual Report on Official Languages 2008–2009, p. 4.

Return to footnote 17 referrer

Footnote 18

Treasury Board, Annual Report on Official Languages 2008–2009, p. 4.

Return to footnote 18 referrer

Footnote 19

This observation was identified by many study participants and supported by the literature review, particularly the studies by Bourhis and by Boisvert and LeBlanc. See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 19 referrer

Footnote 20

Particularly the works of Aiello and Iwata. See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 20 referrer

Footnote 21

While there are common points within a linguistic group, there are also cultural differences. Therefore, we cannot talk about only one Francophone identity or only one Anglophone identity.

Return to footnote 21 referrer

Footnote 22

For example, Matthieu LeBlanc, in his PhD thesis. See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 22 referrer

Footnote 23

Based on Aiello and Iwata. See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 23 referrer

Footnote 24

See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 24 referrer

Footnote 25

This observation has been made in studies by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages on language of work and in the research of Matthieu LeBlanc. See Appendix B.

Return to footnote 25 referrer