Evidence of meeting #42 for Official Languages in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was official.

A recording is available from Parliament.

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Graham Fraser  Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Ghislaine Charlebois  Assistant Commissioner, Compliance Assurance Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Lise Cloutier  Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Management Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Le président Michael Chong

Thank you.

I believe Mr. Trottier has worked for IBM.

May 10th, 2012 / 9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Yes, and I appreciate your efforts.

Thank you for being here today. I know that the office of the commissioner is doing a good job with regard to the protection and promotion of linguistic duality in Canada.

I have a few questions about the main estimates of the commissioner's office. Then I would like to ask a few specific questions about my city, Toronto.

With regard to your budget, the allocation between internal services, promotion and protection is approximately one-third for each of those three parts. Has that been the trend for a number of years? Is that changing? What are the projections in that regard?

9:20 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

Once this considerable four-year investment is complete, I hope the internal services percentage will be reduced.

Once again, I'm going to ask Ms. Cloutier to answer your question in greater detail.

9:20 a.m.

Assistant Commissioner, Corporate Management Branch, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Lise Cloutier

The part of the budget allocated to internal services, which you see in the Report on Plans and Priorities, includes an additional amount of $1.2 million, which was added to fund our integrated information management solutions project this year. Obviously, once we have completed the investments in the shared services optimization initiatives and all the other initiatives that we are pursuing, the cost of internal services will be proportionately lower than the cost of the other two activities.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

That's what we expect; we find ways to work more intelligently. That's one theme that we note in all the departments, when we ask them about their efforts in this new environment.

Mr. Fraser, in your presentation, you talked about a new framework, or efforts to establish a performance measurement framework. It's one thing to talk about costs, investments, if you will, but performance measurements are something else. Could you give us an overview of how you measure your efforts to see whether you are succeeding in what you do?

9:25 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

I believe so. We introduced service standards in the Compliance Assurance Branch a few years ago, establishing the ideal time required to complete an investigation, based on its complexity. We are increasingly successful in completing our investigations within those service standards.

We also have a performance evaluation system that applies to employees and managers. I believe it is a very useful tool, a way to set objectives, to conduct an evaluation during the year and to see whether managers have achieved the objectives established at the start of the year.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Especially in case management.

9:25 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

That's correct.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

An important event, the Pan American Games, will be taking place in Toronto. It is very important for the city. I know that the commissioner's office was involved in the Vancouver Olympic Games. Some questions were raised. For example, people wondered whether linguistic duality had really been reflected at those Olympic Games. I am involved with the city and province in ensuring that the games are a major success. I recently received trilingual communications from the games' organization. Bravo! However, they were in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The francophone fact was absent from those communications.

How are you going to get involved in planning to ensure that we can really say we are a bilingual country when we present ourselves to the hemisphere that embraces the countries of both Americas?

9:25 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

That's a very interesting question. I frankly didn't know that kind of failure had occurred. I have met members of the Pan American Games executive committee a number of times, and I was very impressed with their openness to the language issue and the French fact. I made a few suggestions at the first meeting, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had already accepted some of those suggested.

They made the person responsible for the language issue a member of the executive committee, an initiative that the Vancouver Olympic Games organizing committee did not take. We made sure those people received our events guide. Our Toronto office is monitoring their work very closely. We are preparing to cooperate with them in the same way as we did during the Olympic Games.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bernard Trottier Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

For several weeks now, we have been conducting a study on the performance of the roadmap. Could you comment on the success of the roadmap and make any recommendations for the next version of the roadmap?

9:25 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

First, I was relieved to see that the budget would not have any impact on the programs of the current roadmap. In the evaluation of the roadmap components for the purpose of establishing the program that will succeed it, it would be very important to consider the vitality of the communities. We must know which programs have a direct impact on the vitality of the official language minority communities and those that might have an impact on visibility.

One of the major challenges for the official language minority communities is the lack of visibility. There are also some challenges with regard to the majority institutions or communities, but I can give you more details by answering another question.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Thank you.

Mr. Williamson, you have the floor.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to thank you, Mr. Fraser and your team, for being here today. I appreciate your efforts and the work you are doing for us and for all Canadians.

I would like to go back for a few moments to expenditures and the budget that was tabled on March 29.

As the budget outlined, your budget was not terribly impacted by the deficit elimination measures that are in place, but the modernization of your IT was rejected.

I guess my first question is, do you think you're capable of finding those savings within the department? Are you comfortable with this reallocation—recognizing that it's not a perfect world, but we don't live in a perfect world.

9:30 a.m.

Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Graham Fraser

I've never seen my own personal comfort as one of the issues that should be discussed.

I think we can do it. We went through a process of quite carefully analyzing our expenditures. As part of the Treasury Board submission, we did an A-base review. We followed the advice of the A-base review, which suggested some areas in which we had some elements that were a bit rich for an organization our size. We followed the advice in trimming those, using attrition to reduce the number of positions. We didn't follow their advice in terms of adding positions, for example, in the regions.

We went through a separate process of reassessing the role of our representatives in the regions. Our plan had been—and the recommendation had been from the consultants who did that study—to strengthen the number of personnel in the regions with promotional responsibilities. So we haven't done that.

We're readjusting. I'm confident that we will be able to finance the changes necessary.