Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages 2017-2022

3. Considerations

The government has a set of mechanisms from which federal institutions draw broad federal policy guidelines. In keeping with its mandate, the Department must continually rise to new challenges whenever the government articulates its priorities, whether through the Speech from the Throne, the federal budget, or the Minister’s mandate letter, or through government-wide initiatives such as the Public Service Employee Survey, Blueprint 2020, or horizontal official languages strategies, to mention just a few examples.

In its role as the federal institution responsible for supporting the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Department has a mission that includes supporting a just and law-abiding Canadian society and providing legal services to the government and to federal departments and agencies to ensure compliance with Canada’s legal framework and to preserve public trust and confidence in the integrity of the justice system.

As a federal institution subject to the OLA, the Department must ensure that this quasi-constitutional legislation is applied in accordance with the following principles:

  • Senior management provides official languages leadership within the Department of Justice.
  • English and French are the official languages of the federal courts, and the representatives of the Attorney General of Canada must respect the right of others to use either language in verbal and written pleadings and use the official language chosen by the other parties (pursuant to Part III).
  • Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with the Department's offices (including the regional offices, departmental legal services units, offices located in the National Capital Region, and Headquarters) and receive services in the official language of their choice (pursuant to Part IV).
  • Employees of federal institutions have the right to use either official language at work (pursuant to Part V).
  • English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians should have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement within the Department, and the composition of the work force shall reflect equal representation of both official language communities as in the general population (pursuant to Part VI).
  • The language requirements of positions to be staffed are to be established objectively based on the duties to be performed under Parts IV and V of the OLA (pursuant to section 91 of Part XI).
  • The Department takes positive measures to implement the government’s commitment to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities and supporting and assisting their development and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society (pursuant to Part VII).
  • Federal institutions provide detailed information to the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH) and the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) for the drafting of their Annual Report on Official Languages and other outcome reports to Parliament (pursuant to sections 44 and 48 in the OLA’s Parts VII and VIII).

The Department of Justice Canada’s Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages is a flexible, open framework that can be easily adapted to the government’s key policy directions and to the concrete actions that the Department is planning to take in the years to come regarding official languages. Through the actions outlined here, the Department will be able to fulfill its responsibilities to comply with the OLA.

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