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Canada Post Corporation 2007-2008

 Report Card 2007–2008
Canada Post Corporation

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data

Rating

Management (15%)

(a) An accountability framework, an action plan and accountability mechanisms are in place (5%)

The Official Languages Program document sets forth the roles of the various individuals responsible for official languages (OL). Among other things, the document describes managers’ responsibilities for ensuring that the OL Program is integrated into the Corporation’s programs and activities, as well as the responsibilities of the Corporation’s auditor for determining the extent to which the components of the Program are understood and implemented. Furthermore, the guide outlines the manner in which the obligations under the Official Languages Act (the Act) are to be fulfilled, specifically in terms of services to the public, language of work and equitable participation.

The Corporation’s 2007–2008 Annual Report to the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) contains, in addition to the targeted review, a series of implementation plans that outline measures related to Parts IV, V and VI. A separate action plan for Part VII is included in the Annual Report submitted to Canadian Heritage. These documents are approved by the Executive Council and the Board of Directors and endorsed by the CEO.

The OL team takes every opportunity to reiterate the importance of respecting the OL rights of employees and members of the public. Discussions are taking place with the President and other executives regarding the Corporation’s Annual Review submitted to CPSA and the Action Plan submitted to Canadian Heritage.

The OL team produces monthly progress reports that it submits to key OL stakeholders, quarterly progress reports that it submits to the CEO, as well as an annual progress report that it submits to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

A

(b) Visibility of official languages in the organization (5%)

The 2005–2009 Business Plan sent to the Treasury Board outlines the Corporation's commitment to OL issues. The Plan reaffirms institutional bilingualism and assistance to official language minority communities (OLMCs). The Executive Committee discussed this business plan, which was then approved by the Corporation’s Board of Directors.

The 2006 Annual Report sets forth the Corporation’s commitment to meeting its obligations under the Act, including adopting policies which promote the equitable treatment of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians when communicating with clients and employees.

The OL policy review is part of the scheduled cyclical audit of the Corporation’s policy framework. The Retail Sales Branch carries out a “mystery customer” program to assess specific aspects of service delivery in the clients’ OL of choice. The program involves telephone observations of all designated bilingual service points every quarter, and repeat audits of offices that did not meet requirements during the first observation exercise.

Annual reports submitted to CPSA and Canadian Heritage are sent to the Chief Operating Officer, senior vice-presidents and vice-presidents and posted on the Corporation’s intranet site.

A new vice-president was appointed OL champion. She is the Vice-President, Compliance. The OL Champion sits on the Executive Council, where in November 2007, she introduced the new Official Languages Policy Framework. The Champion maintains regular contact with the OL Manager and keeps abreast of all aspects of the Corporation’s compliance with OL requirements.

The Corporation has a national and regional network of OL coordinators who maintain ongoing communication with the OL manager in Ottawa. The latter is responsible for the implementation of all parts of the Act and coordinates with the OL Champion through weekly discussions or meetings. This ensures effective coordination of Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act.

A

(c) Complaints and follow-up (5%)

A mechanism is in place for dealing with complaints filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). In order to better involve managers responsible, the complaints investigation process has been decentralized. Thus, the regional coordinator concerned is informed of the complaint and discusses it with the appropriate manager. The manager, after consulting with the regional coordinator, determines what corrective measure should be taken, and shares this information with OCOL and the OL Manager.

The OL team prepares a quarterly report on complaints to the CEO and appropriate head office and regional managers for discussion, in order to prevent the recurrence of similar problems in the future. The complaints report does not include corrective measures that were taken. The OL team discusses the progress on the implementation of corrective measures.

A

Subtotal:

A

Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

(a) Bilingual services advertised to the public and sufficient bilingual staff (3%)

The telephone numbers of designated bilingual postal outlets are published in both official languages in the telephone directory white pages.

The Corporation also has a toll free number where clients can obtain information on all services and products in both OL. The Corporation’s Web site has an electronic directory of all its service points, and bilingual service points can easily be identified.

The Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with CPSA so that updates of their bilingual service points are carried out within five working days of receiving a monthly update report.

Furthermore, it informed OLMCs of the locations where they can receive service in the official language of their choice when it sent out its 2006–2007 activity report.

Canada Post Corporation cannot provide statistics on whether employees in bilingual positions who deliver service to the public meet the language requirements of their positions. It says it identifies functions that require service delivery in both languages and staffs its positions with incumbents who are bilingual according to the test administered when they are selected.  

The Corporation’s OL group carries out regular observations at its postal outlets and submits recommendations on corrective measures to implement, based on its audits and the complaints submitted to OCOL.

C

(b) Observations on active offer and service delivery (15%)

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 96% of cases; an active offer by staff was made in 21% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 81% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 77% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 91% of cases.

C

(c) Service agreements delivered by third parties or in partnership provide for the delivery of bilingual services (2%)

Bilingual dealer contracts include a language clause which stipulates that they must serve clients in both official languages, in accordance with the Corporation’s standards, failing which the contract may be terminated. Moreover, by signing the contract, dealers agree to write a qualifying exam that evaluates, among other things, their language proficency in both OL.

The OL team visits designated bilingual outlet operators to make them aware of the importance of offering services in both OL and providing these services in the clients’ official language of choice.

This year, in order to better equip postal outlets located in the National Capital Region (NCR), the OL team launched an info-training program to make dealer employees more aware of their obligations regarding service delivery in both OL and to carry out an audit on visual active offer on the premises, together with the dealer.

Local retail sales managers also regularly visit dealers in their jurisdiction to ensure that language requirements are being met and corrective or administrative measures are in place, where necessary.

During 2007, a third party conducted quarterly audits of the Corporation’s 800 designated bilingual outlets on its behalf.

A

(d) Policy on service to the public and bilingual services quality monitoring (5%)

A policy on service to the public is included in the Official Languages Program document. It sets out the requirements for communications and service delivery in both OL. The policy also indicates that, as a Crown corporation, Canada Post has the duty to serve its clients in the official language of their choice. The Policy on Service to the Public is supported by the Policy on Client Service, the Code of Ethics for Canada Post Employees and the OL Program. Although the documents complement one another, references among the documents are not entirely clear.

In order to raise employee awareness regarding effective service delivery, the Corporation published an article in the April 2007 issue of its semi-monthly newsletter, InfoPost, entitled Post Offices that Are Not Designated Bilingual: How Does the Official Languages Act Apply? Also, in July 2007, it published an article in that publication entitled Providing Excellent Service in Both Official Languages.

Several methods are used to monitor service delivery in both OL, including “mystery clients” and internal audits that frequently include questions on bilingual services. Regional managers also conduct on-site visits to help bilingual dealer outlets in applying the Act.

A

Specific problem

In 2006–2007, OCOL identified a specific problem regarding service delivery in the clients’ official language of choice at dealer outlets. During this past year, the Corporation spent a great deal of effort on raising the awareness of postal outlet operators about their OL obligations. More specifically, the OL unit did training tours for dealer outlet operators to remind them of their obligations under the OL Program.
 
Moreover, the Retail Sales Branch tightened its monitoring measures for services provided in designated bilingual outlets and conditions for issuing permits to dealers.

These initiatives and the Corporation’s efforts should be reflected in the results of the next observation exercise on services offered to the public.

 

Subtotal:

C

Language of work—Part V (25%)

(a) Language of work policy and adequate bilingual supervision (12.5%)

A policy on the language of work is included in the Official Languages Programdocument and sets forth employees’ and supervisors’ rights and obligations in designated bilingual regions, for language of work purposes.

Measures have been put in place to support the Corporation’s internal language of work policy, including tool development, language training, and the “Bilingual Stars” Review Committee, as well as translation, terminology and interpretation services. 
 
A total of 65% of supervisors in bilingual regions who must supervise employees in both OL are able to do so (Source: data from Annual Review of Official Languages, Official Languages Information System [OLIS II], March 31, 2007).

C

(b) Use of each official language in the workplace (12.5%)

The Corporation reminds its managers and employees in designated bilingual regions for language of work purposes of their rights and obligations through internal publications such as pamphlets and presentations, and through its intranet site.

During the fall of 2007, the electronic weekly newsletter distributed to all head office employees included an article reminding staff members of their obligation to respect their colleagues’ preferred language of communication whether in Ottawa or the rest of the country. The article reiterated the importance of creating a work environment in which respect for language preferences is a value. Moreover, the article explained all the available measures to support drafting and translating messages in both official languages.

The Corporation’s Code of Conduct, entitled Living our Values, stipulates that the Corporation is committed to creating a work environment conducive to the use of both English and French in bilingual regions. The Code directs employees to the Corporation’s Language of Work Policy, which is posted on its intranet site.

Management Committee meetings are conducted in both official languages and the minutes of Board of Directors meetings are bilingual. 

The Corporation also uses its Annual Review of OL (Parts IV, V and VI), which it submits to CPSA, to monitor the application of the Language of Work Policy. In that regard, an annual status report is submitted to the Management Committee and to the Board of Directors.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that 72% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region (NCR), New Brunswick and bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. In Quebec, 62% of Anglophone respondents "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime.

C

Subtotal:

C

Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

 (a) Percentage of Francophone participation throughout Canada (5%)

Overall, the workforce is 21.8% Francophone (Source: OLIS II, March 31, 2007).

A

(b) Percentage of Anglophone participation in Quebec (5%)

In Quebec, the workforce is 5.4% Anglophone (Source: OLIS II, March 31, 2007).

C

Subtotal:

B

Development of official language minority communities and promotion of linguistic duality—Part VII (25%)
 

 

The OL Manager, the personnel of the Government Liaison and of the Regulatory Affairs sectors, review submissions to the Treasury Board and memoranda to Cabinet to ensure that they take into account the obligation to foster the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) and the impact of these documents on these communities, as well as the obligation to promote the use of both English and French. The Corporation's Business Plan also includes a separate statement regarding its commitment to its obligations under Part VII of the Act. 
 
The 2006–2007 Annual Report on Part VII submitted to Canadian Heritage, as well as the results-based action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Act, have been presented to all vice-presidents in order to make them aware of obligations resulting from the amendments to the Act.

Regional OL coordinators have an objective in their performance plans of meeting with OLMC representatives in order to become aware of their needs and provide them with information about the Corporation’s initiatives.

Last June, the Corporation sent an email to the OLMCs providing them with the contact information for the persons in charge of liaising with them and for regional coordinators. General information on Part VII, including the obligation to take positive measures to support OLMC development and to promote linguistic duality, is regularly presented to internal interest groups such as the national and regional coordinators responsible for the program’s implementation, literacy coordinators and the communications team.

Employee awareness is also raised regarding the needs of OLMCs through articles published in Performance magazine, such as the article featured in the January/February 2008 issue. At the same time, regional coordinators work closely with OLMCs. In this regard, as part of meetings organized by Canadian Heritage, the Corporation met with OLMC representatives from Newfoundland, the Pacific Region, Quebec Region and Ontario Region in the fall.

The Corporation has begun reviewing its programs and policies that have an impact on OLMCs and on promotion of linguistic duality. For example, it modified its OL Program and its corporate image program. It also developed an OL policy framework that includes a new policy dealing specifically with implementing obligations under Part VII of the Act.

The Policy on the Promotion of English and French, which is posted on the Corporation’s intranet site, highlights priority areas for OLMC development and promotion of linguistic duality, which were identified during consultations with these communities.   

  

(a) Development of official language minority communities (12.5%)

The OL team is responsible for the implementation of Part VII. One of the positive measures taken by the Corporation to foster the development of OLMCs includes the national Literacy Awards Program, which recognizes local literacy initiatives. The Corporation promotes these awards within several organizations, including OLMCs. Improving literacy is an important objective that underlies the development and vitality of any community.

The Corporation conducts structured consultations with OLMCs, and keeps track of their priorities through the interdepartmental meetings organized by Canadian Heritage. For example, in October 2007, the Corporation participated in a meeting of the Association francophone de Nanaimo dealing with relevant information for members of the community, especially regarding jobs and services available at the Corporation.

The Corporation also sends its Annual Report and its Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41 to all OLMCs, and invites them to submit their comments and proposals. The Corporation considers this another means of consulting OLMCs regarding its policy and program development.  

The Action Plan, which the Corporation submits to Canadian Heritage, was prepared with OLMCs and includes, in addition to positive measures for their development, the main expected results and activities, performance indicators and a mechanism to assess the results of its Action Plan.     

A

(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

The Corporation has taken positive measures to promote the equal status and use of English and French within the organization and in Canadian society, such as acting as the spokesperson for the official dictation of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2007.

Canada Post took another significant, proactive positive measure. The Corporation responded to a request for a contribution to CanSpell by making a voluntary contribution to the organization and holding of La Dictée P.G.L., which is the national French-language equivalent to CanSpell.

The Action Plan submitted by the Corporation to Canadian Heritage includes positive measures, activities for promoting linguistic duality, the main expected results, performance indicators and a mechanism to assess the results of its Action Plan.

A

Subtotal:

A

OVERALL RATING

B