Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Review on the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act 2013-2014 (Part VII)

Minister responsible: The Honourable Michelle Rempel

Deputy Head: Daphne Meredith

Official Languages Champion (or other senior official(s) responsible for official languages): James Meddings
Assistant Deputy Minister - Policy and Strategic Direction

Name of the national coordinator or contact person responsible for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the Official Languages Act:

Linda Quan
National Coordinator for Official Languages 613-952-9389
linda.quan@wd-deo.gc.ca

Name(s) of the regional contact person(s) for section 41 of the OLA(if applicable):
Arabella Olomide
British Columbia - Regional Official Languages Coordinator 604-666-1352
arabella.olomide@wd-deo.gc.ca

Lisa Lecky
Alberta - Regional Official Languages Coordinator780-495-6920
lisa.lecky@wd-deo.gc.ca

Noreen Gallagher
Manitoba - Regional Official Languages Coordinator
204- 983-2837
noreen.gallagher@wd-deo.gc.ca

Matt Deutscher
Saskatchewan - Regional Official Languages Coordinator
306-975-5874
matt.duetscher@wd-deo.gc.ca

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General Information

Context

In accordance with section 44 of the Official Languages Act (OLA), the Minister of Canadian Heritage must submit an annual report to Parliament on matters relating to its mandate. Therefore, the Minister must report on the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA by federal institutions.

The information provided by your institution through this questionnaire will be used to write the Minister of Canadian Heritage’s 2013-2014 Annual Report on Official Languages.

Open-ended questions are used to document your institution’s results that could be highlighted in this annual report.

Instructions

Please return this duly completed questionnaire in both official languages to Canadian Heritage no later than May 30, 2014, to:

portail41-gateway41@pch.gc.ca.

For more information, please contact the Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability Directorate at Canadian Heritage (819-994-3577) or
portail41-gateway41@pch.gc.ca.

A hard copy of this document should be sent to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and to both Parliamentary Standing Committees on Official Languages. You will find their addresses below:

Mr. Graham Fraser
Commissioner of Official Languages
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Canada Building
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T8

Ms. Suzie Cadieux
Clerk of the Committee
House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages
House of Commons of Canada
131 Queen Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Mr. Daniel Charbonneau
Clerk
Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages
Senate of Canada
Chambers Building, Room 1051
40 Elgin Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4

Please note

Federal institutions are responsible for communicating their results regarding the implementation of Part VII of the OLA to interested community stakeholders (the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) and the Quebec Community Group Network (QCGN), amongst others).

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Development of official-language minority communities (OLMCs) and promotion of English and French in the Canadian society (section 41, part VII of the Official Languages Act)

Tangible Results

1. That key initiatives does your institution want to highlight in relation to the development of official-language minority communities (Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec)? What are the tangible impacts of these initiatives on/in the communities? What is the determining success factor for these initiatives?

Western Economic Diversification Canada’s (WD) mandate contributes to economic development in Western Canada. Therefore, the department’s focus is to seek opportunities for positive measures such as leveraging departmental programs and services, and other funding such as the 2013-18 Roadmap’s Economic Development Initiative (EDI) to contribute to the economic development and vitality of western Official Language Minority Communities (OLMC).

In 2013-14, WD had a number of initiatives that contributed to the economic development of Western Canada’s francophone communities.

First, WD continued its support of the Francophone Economic Development Organizations (FEDO), which are WD’s partners in the Western Canada Business Service Network. There is a FEDO in each of the western provinces of British Columbia (BC), Alberta (AB), Manitoba (MB) and Saskatchewan (SK). In 2013-14, the FEDOs received a total of $2.2 million in annual core funding from WD to deliver business, advisory and training services targeted to francophone entrepreneurs and businesses throughout the four western provinces. WD confirmed that the same level of funding is in place for the FEDOs in 2014-15.

2013-14 results include: 2,776 information services, 2,098 business advisory services and 1,263 participants in business training services delivered. Moreover, 203 youth, 582 immigrants and 2,612 tourists received services from the FEDOs.

Second, WD obtained $3.2 million in renewed Economic Development Initiative (EDI) funding for delivery in Western Canada, under the 2013-18 Roadmap for Canada’s Bilingualism: Education, Immigration, Communities. The funding level was maintained from the last Roadmap.

In preparation for the renewal of the EDI, WD consulted western OLMCs by engaging the FEDOs and participating in Canadian Heritage (PCH) or Industry Canada (IC) led consultations, and used the input to inform the development and implementation of the EDI. This ensured that the EDI continued to respond to OLMC economic development priorities. The 2013-18 renewal follows WD’s successful implementation of the 2008-13 EDI under the “2008-13 Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality”.

Third, the needs of OLMCs continually informed WD’s decision making processes as it achieved its own departmental priorities. For example, WD considered the francophone communities’ needs in its outreach activities related to the development of its Call For Proposal (CFP) process.

Also, WD undertook targeted outreach in the form of French language information sessions and communications materials to promote the new Western Innovation Initiative and the CFP to OLMCs.

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2. What key initiatives does your institution want to highlight in relation to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society (do not confuse with obligations related to service to the public or language of work, e.g. bilingual Web site, language training for staff)? What are the tangible results of these initiatives in Canadian society? What is the determining success factor for these initiatives?

WD promotes French and English in Canadian society through its communications and outreach activities, and through its programs.

Communications

All of WD’s social media activities are carried out in both French and English. WD continues to use new technologies and platforms to communicate with Canadians and provide information about its programs and services that support business development, innovation and communities.

In March 2014, WD joined LinkedIn, a business social networking forum. The department participates using both official languages. Currently, WD has 640 followers, of which approximately 79 percent are in management or executive ranks.

As highlighted in the 2012-13 Annual Review on OL, WD launched a departmental bilingual Twitter Account.

English @WD_Canada  Français @DEO_Canada

In that first year of activity, WD’s Twitter attracted 775 direct followers and 21 percent of these followers used the Francophone feed. Now there are 1,916 followers and 27 percent of these followers use the French feed.

Twitter and LinkedIn are additional communication tools to share important departmental news and information with targeted audiences, and increase the visibility of departmental activities with stakeholders. WD will continue to communicate to all stakeholders on these social media platforms, in anticipation that they will learn and share information about our events and programs.

Programs

WD’s programs provide funding for projects and all proposals are screened with an internal review tool, the “OL Lens”. This tool aids in the assessment of a project for francophone impacts such as economic benefits, or that contribute to the promotion of French and English.

An example of a WD project that promoted French and English in Canadian society involved the Manitoba Aerospace Association (MAA). WD provided $90,000 for a $610,000 project to support the International Western Canadian Aerospace Expo 2013, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Specific funding was directed to support French language services and marketing materials, bilingual website access for the event and the infrastructure to accommodate a future bilingual MAA website.

Two key factors that contributed to the success of this project were:

  1. WD’s OL Lens triggered a discussion that led the MAA to consider the potential economic benefits of using both French and English at its event (i.e., linkage to Quebec aerospace sector and raised credibility of the MAA event with international companies), and
  2. WD’s OL Team provided networking/path-finding to introduce the MAA to francophone communities that could benefit from the project and to relevant economic development partners such as the MB FEDO.

As a result, the MAA undertook its first endeavour to highlight Western Canada's ability to conduct business in both languages. With WD funding, the MAA was able to capitalize on an opportunity to promote Canada’s bilingualism to a domestic and international audience.

One hundred sixteen companies, including eight international manufacturers and 313 people attended, and approximately 28 percent of participants indicated that they created, maintained or expanded a contact with a francophone enterprise. The French language capacity provided at the event demonstrated that the West is open for business to the world in both official languages.

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3. What key achievements with a regional impact (success stories or results on/in the communities or on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society) does your institution want to highlight?

WD encourages western OLMC stakeholders to look for ways to maximize partnerships, funding sources and other resources when developing projects. Multi-region or pan-west projects permits the sharing of skills, experience and capabilities to projects that could benefit all four provinces, such as leveraging of resources to gain broader impacts and to facilitate the sharing of best practices across geographic regions.

An example of a multi-region project:

WD is supporting a $3.46-million international trade initiative led by the Manitoba Music Industry Association (MMA) in collaboration with SaskMusic and Alberta Music. WD will contribute $1.39 million to this three-year initiative. The partners are undertaking a project to promote music industry small and medium sized enterprises in the USA and the continents of Europe and Australia. WD funding includes a component for a pan-western Francophone music development initiative to build market access and capacity of SMEs by coordinating their participation at domestic events that develop business connections across the West, and international opportunities at trade shows in niche Francophone markets.

Factors that will contribute to the success of this project include leadership and funding by the Province of Manitoba; MMA’s partnership with Francophone organizations in MB, AB and SK, which have sector-relevant expertise and credibility in the Francophone community; and MMA’s robust approach to leveraging opportunities at other sector events to achieve the goals of this project. It is anticipated that the project will result in economic impacts, product licences, and export ready companies.

An example of the sharing of ideas across regions:

The AB FEDO is undertaking the creation of a network of municipalities – the Alberta Concerto Network – that want to promote themselves as "bilingual". The idea was inspired by the MB FEDO and the Province of Manitoba’s work with the Association of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (AMBM) to develop bilingualism and supporting local economic development initiatives.

By way of background, the AMBM represents 17 Manitoba municipalities that have adopted a policy of active offer of bilingual services in their communities. Its mandate is to bring together bilingual municipalities and help them to adopt bilingual policies, to develop and offer municipal services in French, to promote and develop bilingual municipalities, and to facilitate access to resources for delivery of bilingual municipal services.

The Alberta Concerto Network focuses on four areas of economic development: tourism development; recruitment and employability; attraction of bilingual residents, entrepreneurs and investors; and sustainable development and Green economy. To date, five AB municipalities have joined the Concerto Network to promote the value added of bilingualism for sustainable economic development; to help improve their competitiveness; to share best practices; to attract entrepreneurs; to encourage business creation; and to ensure visibility at the provincial, national and international levels. Discussions are ongoing with several other municipalities that are interested in joining the network.