Western Economic Diversification Canada
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2008-2011 Action Plan for Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act

Table of Contents


Background

Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA) commits federal institutions to take positive measures to:

  • enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and support and assist their development; and
  • foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

Federal institutions subject to the Accountability Framework for the Implementation of Sections 41 and 42 of the OLA (commonly called "designated institutions") are required to submit an annual or multi-year action plan as well as an annual report on results to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

General information

Federal institution
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Canada Place
1500, 9700 Jasper Ave. Edmonton, AB
T5J 4H7

Website : www.wd-deo.gc.ca/

Minister responsible

Minister of State, Lynne Yelich

Senior official(s) responsible for implementation of section 41 of OLA

Oryssia Lennie, Deputy Minister
Janet King, ADM OL Champion

General mandate of federal institution

To promote the development and diversification of the western Canadian economy, coordinate federal economic activities in the West, and reflect western Canadian interests in national decision-making.

National coordinator responsible for implementation of section 41

Linda Quan-Interim National OL Coordinator (August 2008-April 2009)
Jean Laberge-National OL Coordinator (May 2009-April 2011)
Number700 - 333 Seymour Street,
Vancouver, BC V6B 5G9
Telephone: 604-666-1886

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Regional coordinators

British Columbia

Regional Coordinator: Wendy Rogers
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Number700, 333 East Seymour St
Vancouver, BC  V6B 5G9
Telephone: (604) 666-3009

Alberta

Regional Coordinator: Lisa Lecky
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Suite 1500
Canada Place
9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 4H7
Telephone: (780)495-6920

Saskatchewan

Regional Coordinator: Guy Lajeunesse
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Suite 601, 119 4th Ave. S.
Saskatoon, SK
Telephone: (306) 975-6537

Manitoba

Regional Coordinator: Noreen Gallagher
Western Economic Diversification Canada
P.O. Box 777, 712-240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 2L4
Telephone: (204) 983- 2837
Facsimile: (204) 983-1280

Ottawa

Linda Quan
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Ottawa Liaison Office
141 Laurier Avenue West, 5th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
Telephone: (613) 952-9389
Facsimile: (613) 957-1154

Communications Coordinator

Rosie Colas
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Ottawa Liaison Office
141 Laurier Avenue West, 5th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
Telephone: (613) 952-9390
Facsimile: (613) 952-6775

Headquarters

Corporate Branches Coordinators:
Florence Pelletier, Stephen Lamoureux, Ben Budu
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Suite 1500, Canada Place
9700 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5J 4H7
Telephone: (780) 495-4164

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Summary of progress expected during the period covered by the Action Plan

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) recognizes the value and contribution of francophone Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) in the economy of Western Canada. Within the context of our mandate support for their economic development and diversification, as with all western Canadian communities, is a priority.

WD has developed a multi-year official languages (OL) strategy, of which this Results-Based Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41of the Official Languages Act (OLA) (Section 41 Action Plan) is a part, to coherently deliver and report on its OL activities. The Section 41 Action Plan summarizes the department's efforts to advance French and English, within the scope of its mandate and activities. That is, what we do to contribute to the vitality of the OLMCs and how we contribute to fostering the full recognition of French and English in our society. The strategy and the Section 41 Action Plan follow the WD planning cycle and are updated annually.

WD's OL related activities are aligned with our departmental priorities and strategic outcomes, and the OLA, as well as the government's "Official Languages Strategy: A Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013" (the Roadmap), that was launched in June 2008. The Economic Development Initiative (EDI) was created in order to fulfill the Roadmap priority of "capitalizing on economic benefits of linguistic duality." WD will work with OLMCs to develop new expertise through innovation, diversification of activities, partnerships, and support to small businesses. This effort supports achievement of the government's vision of "Canadians enjoy the benefits of linguistic duality, live and work in communities that reflect Canadian values with respect to the use of English and French, and have access to government services in the language of their choice." The EDI falls under the WD OL priority of "supporting and facilitating the economic development of OLMCs in the West."

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WD collaborates with other federal institutions (such as Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada, and the other Regional Development Agencies), and our Western Canada Business Service Network (WCBSN) partners, such as the Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDOs) to maximize the impacts from resources committed and to maximize economic results for OLMCs.

The Section 41 Action Plan requires that departmental OL activities be grouped under the following six expected results:

Awareness

  • WD will continue its efforts to raise and maintain employee awareness of the department's obligations under the OLA, so they not only understand their roles and responsibilities in supporting the department to fulfill these obligations, but to encourage them to be proactive. This will be done through training and awareness sessions, intranet updates to all staff, regular OL Team interaction with staff, and ADM OL Champion interaction (formal and informal) with WD senior management.
  • WD will implement internal activities to support a workplace culture of learning and awareness of western OLMCs.
  • WD will encourage the application of an OL lens to departmental business processes (decision making processes) to foster further integration of the OL lens throughout the department.

Consultation

  • WD will continue to maintain its close working relationship with the FEDOs, one our WCBSN partners, through ongoing formal and informal consultations within each region and across regions, and with other OL stakeholders such as post secondary institutions and the provinces to seek areas for collaboration to further the economic well being of OLMCs.
  • WD will continue to build and maintain dialogue, do outreach and information sharing, and collaborate with OLMCs to look for opportunities to build partnerships and pool resources to maximize project results.
  • WD will continue its participation with other government department (OGD) committees, that have economic development and/or official languages priorities, and join in internal/external consultations with OLMCs led by other OL stakeholders such as other government departments (OGDs), Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité (RDEE Canada), the Regional Federal Councils and Canadian Heritage.
  • WD will continue to consult on a regular basis with OGDs and in particular, Industry Canada, FedNor, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions to share in best practices for economic development of OLMCs.

Communications

  • WD will review its existing communications materials and tools, to determine those that can be improved or given wider distribution in order to assist 1) our employees in their work with OLMCs, and 2) our external stakeholders to enable them to better understand the WD programs and services available. Communications will be used for both federal visibility and information sharing with OLMCs, and internal education and awareness.
  • WD will create opportunities for our FEDOs to share information, and work together with the WCBSN and other stakeholders to increase communications and collaboration.

Coordination and liaison

  • WD will continue to reach out to other OLMC stakeholders to build or maintain networks and to share best practices that can be used within WD to further our OL activities.
  • WD's regional OL coordinators will be provided with opportunities to take leadership in coordination and liaison activities to raise the profile of these regional OL coordinators with OLMC stakeholders internal and external to government, and to provide them with a deeper understanding of OL issues, plus provide the department with multiple points of contact for a variety of OL issues.

Funding and program delivery

  • WD will deliver its approved funding for the FEDOs to provide business and community economic development services to the OLMCs in Western Canada.  Where appropriate, WD will provide funding for projects with the FEDOs or with other OLMC organizations that support WD priorities and those of OLMCs.
  • WD will participate in horizontal initiatives, such as implementation of the Roadmap -EDI, but also look to leverage this program with other funding partners to address needs of the western OLMCs and to better position them for future opportunities.

Accountability

  • WD will formalize the departmental accountability framework for WD OL activities and integrate these OL activities into WD's strategic planning framework.
  • WD's governance for the OL Team will be strengthened by the development of a Terms of Reference for the OL Team, and the formalization and funding of the National OL Coordinator position. As well, the OL Team will be provided with a budget for which it will be responsible to manage.
  • WD will continue to respond effectively to the mandatory planning and reporting requirements related to official languages.

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Detailed action plan

A. Awareness (In-house activities)

Training, information, orientation, awareness, communication and other activities carried out in-house in order to educate employees and/or senior managers of the federal institution about linguistic duality and the priorities of OLMCs; senior manager performance contracts and recognition programs; consideration of the viewpoints of OLMCs in research, studies and investigations carried out in-house.

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B. Consultations (Sharing of ideas and information with OLMCs)

Activities (e.g. committees, discussions and meetings) through which the federal institution consults the OLMCs and interacts with them to identify their needs and priorities or to understand potential impacts on their development; activities (e.g. round tables and working groups) to explore possibilities for cooperation within the existing mandate of the federal institution or as part of developing a new program or new policy; participation in consultations with OLMCs coordinated by other government bodies; consultation of OLMCs by regional offices to determine their concerns and needs.

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C. Communications (Transmission of information to OLMCs)

External communications activities to inform OLMCs about the activities, programs and policies of the federal institution and to promote the bilingual character of Canada; inclusion of OLMCs in all information and distribution lists; use of the federal institution's Web site to communicate with OLMCs.

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D. Coordination and Liaison (Does not include funding - Internal coordination and liaison with other government institutions)

Coordination activities (research, studies, meetings, etc.) carried out by the federal institution itself along with other federal institutions or other orders of government; participation in activities organized by other federal institutions, other orders of government, etc.; participation of official languages champions, national and regional coordinators, and others in various government forums.]

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E. Funding and Program Delivery

Implementation of the federal institution's programs and delivery of its services; funding, alone or in cooperation with other federal institutions, of OLMC projects; inclusion of the needs of OLMCs in the delivery of the federal institution's programs and services.

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F. Accountability

Activities through which the federal institution integrates its work on the implementation of section 41 of the OLA into departmental planning and accountability mechanisms (e.g. report on plans and priorities, departmental performance report, departmental business plan and status report on implementation of section 41 of the OLA); internal audits and evaluations of programs and services; regular review of programs and services as well as policies by senior managers of the federal institution to ensure implementation of section 41 of the OLA.