Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Drummond for his speech and his contribution, which were very constructive.
In fact, he has identified a large part of the problem. As in the case of the Phoenix payroll system, we inherited a very unfortunate situation, a mess, if you will, from the previous government. It seemed that the objective on the other side was to tear down the major institutions of government. Fortunately, as I will explain, we have plans for rebuilding in all these cases.
We are obviously proud to be the party of official bilingualism. We will continue to promote, support, and protect bilingualism in Canada. We are determined to put an end to the previous government’s era of cuts and to reinvest in our capacity to offer high-quality translation and interpretation services. This is a good time to thank the interpreters who follow us every day, who are here for us every day, and who do world-class work.
Our government is taking steps to ensure that the Translation Bureau is able, now and in future, to provide high-quality linguistic services. What we are doing is restoring the Translation Bureau’s reputation. As an officially bilingual country with one of the largest francophone populations in the world, Canada is a global leader that must uphold the most stringent standards when it comes to terminology, translation, and interpretation. The Translation Bureau is a core contributor to these rigorous standards, and it has a solid reputation for excellence throughout the government of Canada and at the international level.
The services provided by the bureau have been the subject of a study by the Standing Committee on Official Languages, as my hon. colleague mentioned. The Minister of Public Services and Procurement appeared before the committee on February 9 to outline the measures that she and our department have taken to strengthen the bureau’s capabilities. The work to revitalize the organization of the Translation Bureau and act on the minister’s commitments is well under way. I am proud to report on it.
A new chief executive officer was recently appointed to lead the Translation Bureau. The position was filled not long ago, on May 23, 2017, following a rigorous competition. The bureau has developed a quality assurance framework that includes a quality control system, a rigorous process to recruit world-class employees and freelancers, and world-class training programs for its linguistic experts.
To further guarantee the quality of its linguistic services, the bureau has created a new position, namely, chief quality officer, and it is also hiring new employees to provide federal departments with access to high-quality linguistic services. Twelve new translators are now providing linguistic services in specific areas, such as parliamentary proceedings, national protection, and meteorology. Seven new interpreters have also been added to bureau staff. I want to underscore that the association of translators and interpreters has expressed its satisfaction not only with the commitments we have made but also with the measures taken in the past budget presented by the Minister of Finance.
In addition, the bureau will hire a minimum of 50 students per year in each of the next five years and is also restoring a co-op program. Many Canadian universities, including the University of Montreal, the University of Ottawa, and my alma mater, the University of Moncton, are participating.
Our government also allocated more funding to the Translation Bureau in budget 2017, as I said. The government proposed to invest $7.5 million per year ongoing, beginning in 2017-18. With these new initiatives in place, the Translation Bureau is embarking on a new era. It is an exciting time for everyone at the bureau, who deserve greater recognition for the excellent work they do.