Roadmap 2008-2013: Acting for the Future - Canadian Heritage

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Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future

Charting the course for the next five years: acting for the future

The Roadmap reflects the Government of Canada's renewed commitment to Canada's linguistic duality. It invests $1.1 billion to consolidate, adapt and modernize a variety of existing initiatives aimed at promoting the country's linguistic duality. This inclusive approach responds to changes within communities and in the Canadian population, and includes new targeted measures to give a greater number of Canadians access to the benefits of this duality.

Progress in this area has been gradual, but it has deeply affected the country's social fabric. In March 2003, the Government of Canada launched the 2003- 2008 Action Plan for Official Languages. This plan enabled the Government to increase access to services in both official languages, particularly in the areas of justice and health services. The Government believes in the importance of building on these successes, in the increased mobilization of stakeholders, and in doing more so that Canadians can benefit from the cultural, social and economic advantages of linguistic duality.

The five areas for action that plot the course of this Roadmap take many elements of the landscape into account: the Government of Canada's priorities and resources, the viewpoints of Canadians, the country's social and economic situation, the recommendations of parliamentary and community bodies, the analysis and evaluation of ongoing initiatives, and the respective provincial and territorial jurisdictions. These areas for action also correspond to the needs of official language minority communities, in terms of service, arts, culture and economic development. They reflect the advice of parliamentary committees and the Commissioner of Official Languages, among others, on matters of governance and coordination.

The five areas for action are:

  • emphasizing the value of linguistic duality among all Canadians;
  • building the future by investing in youth;
  • improving access to services for official-language minority communities;
  • capitalizing on economic benefits; and
  • ensuring efficient governance to better serve Canadians.

Emphasizing the value of linguistic duality among all canadians

Every year, the Government of Canada carries out a range of activities to promote English and French in Canadian society. Although all Government actions on official languages, including the initiatives presented in this Roadmap, aim at emphasizing the value of this asset for all Canadians, this will be the specific focus of three new initiatives in particular.

The Government will give all Canadians access, free of charge, to the Government of Canada's language portal, which is now available to federal public servants. As a single website, the portal will bring together a range of quality language tools (including TERMIUM®) developed both by federal institutions and other organizations across the country. As the first such portal of national scope, it will serve as a gateway for Canadians to use and understand both of their official languages more readily, through free access to quality language tools.

The Canada School of Public Service will aim to extend access to its learning products to Canadian universities, to support the learning of a second official language. The School has acquired internationally recognized expertise in adult language learning, and created a series of language-training tools for federal public servants. Through a pilot project, the School will share these products with Canadian universities free of charge. For Canadians, this will mean a starting point toward allowing university students access to the same quality language-learning tools that federal public servants have.

So that Canadians may have better access to the literary culture of the country's two official-language communities, a National Translation Program for Book Publishing will aim to increase the number of books available in both official languages. This program will help Canadian publishers translate works of Canadian authors in English and French. For Canadians, this will mean greater access to the cultural wealth and literature of the country's Anglophone and Francophone communities in both official languages.

Building the future by investing in youth

Investing in youth not only makes Canada's linguistic duality more sustainable; it also contributes to the vitality of official-language minority communities. This is done by emphasizing the value of learning and living experiences in both English and French.

The Government will continue to invest in the instruction of both languages and in initiatives outside the classroom. The young are at the heart of the Government of Canada's priorities: within minority communities, their parents have strived to preserve their language; it is now important for them to become fully aware of the wealth being passed along, and to make the most of it.

In the classroom, the Roadmap will continue to support provincial and territorial programs aimed at education in the language of official-language minority communities, and in second-language education, including bursary and official-language monitor programs. Through agreements, the Government of Canada will continue to invest in education, maintaining its planned investments and building on its enduring collaboration with the provinces and territories. For young Canadians, this will mean continued capacity to learn in school in their own official language, or to learn the other official language.

But school is not the only means of learning: the Government will continue to support initiatives that allow young Canadians to put the languages they have learned to use – in cultural, sport or other activities outside the classroom. Measures are also planned to support community radio and other local media that promote cultural and community activities among youth. For young Canadians, this will mean greater availability of local media and activities in the minority official language.

To improve access to Canada's linguistic duality and to offer learning opportunities to young Canadians, the Translation Bureau (of Public Works and Government Services Canada) will launch a University Scholarships Program in Translation. The translation and interpretation professions need an increasing number of graduates if they are to respond to the requirements of the language industry and of Canadian society; this program will encourage the training of the next generation of translators and interpreters. For young Canadians, this will mean continued capacity to produce, communicate or access work in both languages.

The Government of Canada considers linguistic duality not only as a basis of Canadian identity, but also an essential tool for ensuring Canadians' openness to the world. Through second-language education, the Government offers young Canadians a boost toward wider professional horizons and a key to the international stage.

Improving access to services for official-language minority communities

Health; justice; immigration; early childhood, family and literacy; and arts and culture are all essential service areas for official-language minority communities. It is therefore essential that these services be available in both official languages within these communities.

The Roadmap consolidates gains already made in access to services in both official languages and includes a new component to support arts and culture. The actions of the departments involved in these areas will support the development of these communities and the individuals in them. The Government departments involved will continue their cooperation with other governments, to extend and enhance service delivery in both official languages in the provinces and territories. They will continue to support community networks and improve the efficiency of the administrative process, building environments that encourage the regular use of minority official languages.

Health

In the health sector, the Roadmap increases available resources to provide greater access to health services in the official language of one's choice, as these services have a direct impact on both individual and collective well-being. Health Canada will increase its investments in retention, training and development of health professionals in the minority official language, facilitating service delivery in the language of Anglophone and Francophone minority communities. Support for community networks and for community and regional projects – for example, by improving information tools to better meet health needs – will reinforce previous efforts in this area. These Health Canada initiatives are aimed at all official-language minority communities, with special focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as children, youth and the elderly. For Canadians, this will mean greater access to health services in their own official language and capacity to communicate with health-service providers.

Justice

In the area of justice, the Roadmap aims to intensify training efforts to improve language skills of those working in the justice system, be they court clerks, stenographers, justices of the peace or mediators. Justice Canada will implement a new justice training initiative to encourage young bilingual Canadians to pursue careers in these areas. The Department will also continue to help provincial and territorial governments bridge gaps in bilingual service delivery, particularly when they undertake proceedings on behalf of the federal government pursuant to the Contraventions Act.

Justice must reflect the country's linguistic reality. To achieve this, the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Fund aims to sensitize the legal community and official language minority communities as to the exercise of their rights in both official languages, and to help them find ways to do so. For Canadians, this will mean improved access to justice services in the official language of the minority, both today and in the future.

Immigration

In the area of immigration, the Roadmap promotes a partnership approach, and allows for the consolidation of existing community networks. Working with service providers, the Government will implement measures to ensure the best possible integration of French-speaking newcomers by facilitating their access to French services adapted to their needs. Allocating funds for research and data analysis will make it possible to better target issues related to Francophone immigration outside of Quebec, and to address the various needs of the communities, the provinces and territories, and employers.

By welcoming a greater number of French-speaking immigrants, Francophone minority communities help to maintain their gains while providing immigrants with opportunities to contribute to the community. To this end, the Roadmap will intensify current efforts to facilitate recruiting and integration, particularly by supporting Francophone immigration in New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada.

To facilitate the recruitment and integration of Frenchspeaking immigrants, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will strengthen partnerships among communities, provinces and territories, employers, educational institutions, and organizations that recruit abroad. In September 2006, Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee launched the Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities. The main objective of this plan is to increase the number of French-speaking immigrants in Francophone-minority communities and to facilitate their reception and integration within the communities. For Canadians, this will mean a better reception for newcomers, who will be better able to contribute their talents and skills to Canadian communities.

Early childhood, family and literacy

The Roadmap maintains the Government's support to early childhood and family within official-language minority communities. Human Resources and Social Development Canada will therefore continue to provide funding to strengthen the capacity of non-governmental organizations in official-language minority communities, allowing them to promote the implementation of early-childhood programs and services for families. The Department will also continue its research to better understand the effects of programs aimed at supporting children's linguistic and cultural development and academic success.

Literacy is fundamental to the social and economic development of official-language minority communities and to the vitality of families in them. In view of this, the Department has put in place programs to improve access to family literacy services, mainly by building networks and partnerships among various community groups. For Canadians, this will mean access to community-based services for early-childhood development and family literacy, which provide the tools for lifetime success in society and on the job market.

Arts and culture

Arts and culture are ways that individuals express their linguistic identity and key drivers of community vitality. Official-language minority communities, be they Acadian, Francophone or Anglophone, must feel that their culture is a living and dynamic reflection of their identity. The Government of Canada already plays a leading role in supporting arts and culture, notably through film, broadcasting, literature, publishing, music and both visual and performing arts.

Canadian Heritage already invests in community cultural activity and its coordination. The Department supports the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française, implements the Agreement for the Development of French Canadian Arts and Culture, and supports the networking of English-speaking artists in Quebec. The Government is aware of the cultural impact of today's transition towards digital media; this is why it will ask the Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission to review, as it did in 2000, how the current broadcasting system is serving official-language minority communities – and whether it truly reflects their diversity.

The Roadmap targets arts and culture through two new Government initiatives that complement its many others.

The Canadian Heritage Cultural Development Fund will support cultural actions to foster the vitality of official-language minority communities. The Fund also aims to promote the contribution these communities make to the cultural and artistic enrichment of Canada. Preferred initiatives will be those that encourage the cooperation of many partners, and that complement initiatives already supported by Canadian Heritage cultural programs. This support will help young people develop their identity and facilitate access to community cultural products and increase their ability to reach broader audiences. For Canadians, this will mean a richer cultural life within official-language minority communities.

Canadian Heritage will launch a Music Showcase Program for Artists from Official-Language Minority Communities, which will give these artists the opportunity to produce at the local, regional and national levels. This will increase access to regional and local music for Canadians, and help to promote the artists' careers.

Capitalizing on economic benefits

The Roadmap seeks to take advantage of the economic benefits of linguistic duality, and strengthen support for the economic development of official language minority communities. Through the Enabling Fund for Official Language Minority Communities, Human Resources and Social Development Canada will continue to support economic and community development. The Fund engages community leaders and leverages partnerships to strengthen community capacity in the areas of human resources and economic development. For Canadians, this will mean continued support for minority-community economic and labour-market development, through partnerships, development plans and capacity building.

In a highly globalized and knowledge-based marketplace, linguistic duality is a key competitive advantage, which can help Canada further its economic success. Having two languages of international scope puts Canada at the forefront of societies with knowledge-based economies. This asset allows Canadian businesses easier access to global markets and partners. The language skills of Canada's workforce, particularly among youth, are also a major asset for the economy. These skills strengthen Canada's human capital advantage and allow Canadians to build stronger economic links with international partners. The National Research Council will continue to produce new technologies to support Canada's language industry and to work in close collaboration with partners such as the Language Technologies Research Centre. Through the Roadmap, the Government will implement two new initiatives to capitalize on the economic benefits of linguistic duality.

Industry Canada and the regional development agencies (the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Western Economic Diversification Canada) will implement an Economic Development Initiative to foster the development of new business expertise in communities. For Canadians, this will mean economic development tailored to their regional needs, through innovation, entrepreneurship, partnerships and iversifying economic activities.

To support the language industry, Public Works and Government Services Canada will implement a Language Industry Initiative to help Canadian translation and language-technology companies become more recognized in both Canadian and international markets. For Canadians, this will mean Canadian companies that are industry leaders and internationally competitive.

Ensuring efficient governance to better serve canadians

All federal institutions play a role in supporting official languages and Canada's linguistic duality. However, some play a leadership role that involves coordinating the overall federal effort. The Roadmap will make sure that federal institutions, particularly those with specific responsibilities under the Official Languages Act, ensure better horizontal governance and coordination. In turn, this will increase the efficiency of their respective actions, in accordance with the Official Languages Accountability and Coordination Framework.

The Official Languages Secretariat (Canadian Heritage) supports the Minister of Official Languages in the role of leadership and horizontal coordination of the federal administration, and in the area of intergovernmental relations. Through the Roadmap, the Secretariat will work together with key federal institutions to improve governance and horizontal coordination of Government actions related to official languages, in order to enhance the accountability process and ensure results.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, together with the Canada Public Service Agency, develops and coordinates the policies and programs related to the use of official languages in federal institutions. The Agency will continue its work in the field of official languages so as to monitor issues related to service to the public, language of work, and the representation of both language groups within the federal administration. Furthermore, it will continue to promote the creation of work environments that encourage federal public servants to exercise their right to work in the language of their choice in the National Capital Region and other regions designated as bilingual in terms of language of work. The Canada School of Public Service will work to improve the governance of language training provided to federal public servants.

Justice Canada will continue to offer advice on the language provisions of the Constitution, as well as the overall implementation of the Official Languages Act, and work together with Canadian Heritage and the Treasury Board Secretariat to ensure increased information sharing, and the compliance of policies, programs, initiatives and government documents with the language provisions of the Constitution and the Act.

Canadian Heritage plays a coordination and support role in the Government's commitment to official language minorities and fostering the full recognition of English and French in Canadian society. The Department's role also includes supporting and guiding federal institutions, especially those whose activities could have an important impact on official language minorities or the recognition of both official languages. The Department will expand its coordination efforts to all federal institutions and, to this end, will identify the most appropriate ways for these diverse organizations to report on their activities. It will also develop new tools to help federal institutions understand and meet their responsibilities.

To ensure the efficiency and coordination of the Government's actions, the Roadmap will include a review of its horizontal governance, and improve the mechanisms used to ensure accountability. The 2005 Horizontal Results-Based Management and Accountability Framework – one of the main tools to ensure efficient Government action – will be revised and modernized. For Canadians, this responsible approach will mean coordinated Government actions in official languages and efficient use and management of public funds.

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