CIDA's main objective is to reduce poverty and to contribute to a more secure, equitable and prosperous world. CIDA works with development partners, fragile states and countries in crisis, selected countries and regions, institutions and Canadians. CIDA's partners also include multilateral and international organizations. In Canada, CIDA carries out its mandate in partnership with various levels of government, institutions such as non-governmental organizations and private businesses, universities and colleges, labour unions, professional associations, youth and churches.
CIDA is a "federal institution" as defined in Part VII of the Official Languages Act, particularly Section 41. Through the services and programs offered in fulfilment of its mandate, CIDA actively contributes to two of the Government's "horizontal results" for the Official Languages Program:
1. Linguistic duality is reinforced in the institutions of Canadian society and reflected abroad.
CIDA continues to reinforce linguistic duality in Canada by offering services and programs in both official languages. Canadians can communicate with CIDA in the official language of their choice. CIDA also contributes to promoting Canada's linguistic duality abroad
2. Federal institutions' respect for and compliance with the Official Languages Act (OLA) and the Constitution
As a federal agency responsible for managing programs and services that have a direct and indirect impact on Canadians, CIDA aims to implement Section 41 of the OLA in fulfilling its mandate. One of the principles to which CIDA subscribes, is to make its programs and services accessible to Canadians and to Canadian organizations, including Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) with an interest in international development activities.
CIDA's Section 41 awareness activities, which involve information sharing, ad hoc meetings and use of media, gradually began to produce results. Employees and management know and understand their responsibilities under the Official Languages Act, including the impact on their relations with Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).
CIDA organized meetings and forums that promoted and strengthened the exchange of information with OLMC-affiliated organizations, including universities and colleges. At the same time, in cooperation with other provincial and federal stakeholders, such as Regional Federal Councils, CIDA regional offices built their relations with OLMC-affiliated organizations. In partnership with the Pacific Federal Council, for example, the Pacific Office actively took part in activities and events involving OLMCs, such as the Federation de la Francophonie de la Colombie-Britannique. It must also be noted that ongoing ties are beginning to be established between CIDA regional offices and academic institutions affiliated with OLMCs. In recent years, for example, the Atlantic Regional Office has built relations with the University of Moncton and New Brunswick Community College.
CIDA's internal/external communications meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act and consider the OLMC clientele. Channels of communication between CIDA and OLMCs include newsletters published by CIDA regional offices, the Speakers Program and posting of business opportunities, including requests for proposals. In terms of results, it must be noted that OLMCs show greater knowledge and broad understanding of CIDA's mandate and programs. As an indication of this result, a study of the development plan of the Federation des communautes francophones et acadiennes du Canada showed, for example, that this organization was able to obtain an inventory of CIDA programs and initiatives of interest to OLMCs within the Federation from CIDA's website and from last year's record of achievement in the implementation of Section 41.
The National Coordinator and the Official Languages Champion fulfilled their roles in liaison and coordination, taking part in meetings of National Coordinators and the Network of Official Languages Champions. For example, the National Coordinator attended the May 28-30, 2007, meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Official Languages Champion went to the official launch of the official languages information campaign and was actively involved in distributing information about the 2008 Rendez-vous de la Francophonie
CIDA's international development programs (bilateral, partnership, multilateral) are generally accessible to OLMCs interested in international development and meeting CIDA requirements and program conditions.
In 2007-2008, for example:
In 2007-2008, CIDA will submit its record of achievement in the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act. Its content will reflect the action plan for FY 2007-2008 and recommendations and suggestions by Canadian Heritage. The 2008-2009 action plan is based on the development plans of key OLMCs, exchanges of information between OLMCs and CIDA, and other avenues that Canadian Heritage suggested.
Many Section 41 awareness activities took place in 2007-2008, using posters and electronic media, capturing attention by their visual effect and the content of their messages. For example, many posters available from the Public Service Agency, focusing on the development of Anglophone and Francophone minority communities, were posted on various bulletin boards. Copies of Bulletin 41-42, published by Canadian Heritage, were distributed to CIDA employees. This quarterly bilingual bulletin is aimed at Official Language Minority Communities and federal public servants responsible for implementing Sections 41 and 42 of the Official Languages Act. CIDA regional offices also had access to the electronic version of Bulletin 41-42. Moreover, Official Languages Advisory Committee meetings, chaired by the Official Languages Champion, helped to promote visibility and understanding of the official languages within CIDA. For example, the agenda of the committee meeting of May 23, 2007, included an item on OLA Section 41, providing an opportunity to discuss OLMC issues. It is also worth noting that the National Coordinator responsible for Section 41 is designated within the Committee as the contact on all matters concerning relations between OLMCs and CIDA. The Coordinator received many inquiries about the scope of Section 41 and the interpretation of the notion of "positive measures" described in the Act. This shows that CIDA employees take an interest in OLMCs. Finally, CIDA's website contains links to the Official Languages Act, including Section 41.
In conclusion, in terms of results, it is worth noting that managers and employees became more aware of and interested in Section 41 in 2007-2008. We find that CIDA employees are more and more familiar with the Official Languages Act, and new employees have opportunities to become familiar with it.
CIDA maintains constant contact with many organizations, including those affiliated with OLMCs, by organizing various meetings and forums. The best-known national forums include International Cooperation Days (ICD), International Development Week (IDW), and International Development Days.
Every two years, CIDA organizes International Cooperation Days (ICD), an international forum for its partners. During the three-day meeting, civil-society leaders, academics, private-sector representatives and international development specialists, share ideas, network, participate in discussions, and meet with CIDA representatives, Canadian officials and international sponsors. The next International Cooperation Days will be held on November 17-19, 2008.
IDW is held in the first week of February each year, to highlight the international development community in Canada. This is an excellent occasion for Canadians and various organizations, including OLMCs, to become familiar with the challenges of international development.
IDW 2008 took place on February 3-9. The theme was "For a Better World". During the Week, there were many opportunities for international development stakeholders to meet. For example, a round table on new directions in development research was organized at the University of Ottawa on February 4. On February 7, Laurentian University organized a round table, chaired by former volunteers who had worked in developing countries.
At the same time, in cooperation with other provincial and federal stakeholders, such as Regional Federal Councils, CIDA's regional offices strengthened their ties with OLMC-affiliated organizations. In partnership with the Pacific Federal Council, for example, the Pacific Office actively took part in activities and events organized by the Federation de la Francophonie de la Colombie-Britannique. It must also be noted that CIDA regional offices are beginning to establish sustainable ties with OLMC-affiliated academic institutions. In recent years, for example, the Atlantic Regional Office has strengthened its ties with the University of Moncton and New Brunswick Community College.
Finally, regional meetings, organized by the Interdepartmental Coordination Division of Canadian Heritage, make it possible to exchange useful information. At the last meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, on May 27-30, 2007, the National Coordinator responsible for the implementation of Section 41 had the opportunity to exchange information and to explain CIDA's mandate to various OLMCs at the meeting, including the Federation des francophones de Terre Neuve et du Labrador and the Federation des conseillers et conseilleres scolaires francophones.
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and CIDA created the International Development Days program. The IDD are the main event for companies interested in developing-country markets. They represent a forum for exchanging information that can be useful to OLMCs. The 2007 IDD were held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on May 22-24, 2007 together with the New Brunswick Manufacturers' Days. The next International Development Days will be held on May 20-22, 2008 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
CIDA communicates with the public, in Canada and abroad, via many channels: CIDA's website, the Speakers Program, CIDA's Youth Program and the posting of business opportunities through the electronic tendering service (buyandsell.gc.ca).
Thanks to its bilingual format, CIDA's website gives the public, in Canada and abroad, access to a range of information on international development, available programs, and the policies and strategies that underlie CIDA's mandate. The website permits also external organizations to communicate with CIDA, and to view various reports, including links to the Official Languages Act, as well as the report and record of achievement on the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act. By consulting the development plans of OLMCs such as the Federation des communautes francophones et acadiennes du Canada, we were able to determine that this organization visited CIDA's website and obtained a list of programs and other initiatives of interest to OLMCs, such as the Youth Speakers Program, the Global Youth Ambassador Program, the International Youth Internship Program and the Global Classroom Initiative.
CIDA's regional offices in Canada have a mandate to promote international development, by informing Canadians about CIDA policies, programs, and projects. Thanks to these offices, individuals, organizations (including OLMCs), and companies have direct access to first-hand information for those interested in international development issues and activities. Among other activities, regional offices organize presentations and seminars for groups that would like to know more about international development activities, provide support, and give advice to regional organizations wishing to submit proposals to CIDA.
Pacific Regional Office:
As a member of the Official Languages Committee and Official Languages Working Group, with the Pacific Federal Council as the key partner, the Pacific Regional Office participated in various activities, including meetings and events involving OLMCs, such as the Federation de la francophonie de la Colombie-Britannique. The Office organized an OLA Section 41 working group and organises occasional workshops on the implications of the Official Languages Act in general and Section 41 in particular.
In 2007-2008, this regional office helped to plan and organize the "Rendez-vous annuels de la francophonie", handling the logistics of the event in the Pacific Region. OLMC participation was remarkable. OLMCs highly appreciated the Pacific Office's services. The Office also offers services in French to the region's Francophone communities and organizes job fairs in both official languages. As for communication with OLMCs, the Office publishes a monthly newsletter in English and French for organizations in the region. The Office is committed to providing services in the community language of choice and promoting Canada's linguistic duality. The Office regularly requests language-training services from the Canada School of Public Service. The Pacific Office met the objectives set in its 2007-2008 action plan.
Atlantic Regional Office:
The Atlantic Office has strengthened its ties with OLMCs in the region. The Office maintains ties with two long-time partners in New Brunswick, namely, University of Moncton and New Brunswick Community College. The Office provided information about CIDA programs that might interest these institutions, as well as the requirements and guidelines of CIDA programs.
In Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Office developed ties with Ste-Anne College. Issues of interest to these institutions mainly relate to CIDA's international projects and programs. The Atlantic regional director meets regularly with companies and groups from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador that are interested in international development issues. Meetings are held monthly and can also be arranged upon request. The Office also publishes bilingual monthly newsletters for organizations in the region, mainly those affiliated with OLMCs. The Office met the targets announced in its 2007-2008 plan and intends to strengthen its ties with the region's OLMCs in the coming years.
Prairies Regional Office:
Like the other regional offices listed above, the Prairies Regional Office publishes a bilingual regional newsletter, available to individuals and organizations from the region. St-Boniface College in Manitoba and St-Jean Faculty in Edmonton are among the OLMCs that are familiar with CIDA programs, and constantly in touch with the Office.
In 2007-2008, three speakers addressed various centres at McGill University: the International Development Studies Student Association, the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Faculty of Management. The three English-language speakers focused mainly on career development in Quebec.
In its business relations with the Canadian public, CIDA uses an electronic tool called buyandsell.gc.ca, which allows the posting of business opportunities, especially requests for proposals, which might interest various organizations, including OLMCs. Buyandsell.gc.ca has adopted a strict policy of posting only documents written in both official languages.
The National Coordinator responsible for the implementation of Section 41 and the Official Languages Champion conduct coordination and liaison activities, supported by representatives of regional offices.
In 2007-2008, the Coordinator actively took part in several meetings organized by Canadian Heritage. For example, the Coordinator attended the meeting in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, on May 28-30, 2007, as well as the meeting in Gatineau on November 29, 2007. Moreover, the Coordinator actively cooperated with the representatives of regional offices in preparing the report and action plan for 2007-2008.
In addition to chairing meetings of the Official Languages Advisory Committee, the Champion participated in several activities of the National Network of Official Languages Champions and various events related to promoting the official languages. For example, the Champion participated in the official launch of the official languages information campaign at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, on October 9, 2007. He also informed CIDA's Management Committee about the campaign's various events. The Champion was also involved in the distribution of information regarding the "Rendez-vous de la francophonie", whose theme for 2008 was "D'hier a demain, la francophonie m'appartient" [Past, present, and future, La Francophonie is my community].
CIDA manages various programs supporting international development initiatives. Individuals, private companies, and organizations, including OLMCs, can obtain financial support from CIDA if they are interested in international development and meet specific criteria. The following are some examples of programs, classified by branch, which benefited OLMCs in 2007-2008.
2007-2008 Canadian Francophone Scholarship Program
This program provides scholarships to students from developing countries that are members of La Francophonie, so that they can undertake post-secondary studies at Canadian institutions.
In 2007-2008, the following OLMC-affiliated colleges and universities hosted scholars of the Canadian Francophone Scholarship Program.
In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the New Brunswick Community College, Ste-Anne University and University of Moncton hosted a total of 14 students. In Alberta and Manitoba, the St-Jean Faculty and St-Boniface University College hosted two students. In Ontario, nine students attended three post-secondary educational institutions, namely, la Cite collegiale, the University of Ottawa and le College Boreal. These colleges also took part in various events organized by the 2007-2008 Canadian Francophone Scholarship Program.
Universities and Colleges Program
The Universities and Colleges Program aims to support Canadian educational institutions that are involved in building the capacities of educational and training institutions in developing countries. Canadian universities and colleges may receive support on a multi-year basis if they meet program eligibility criteria.
In 2007-2008, the College Alfred of Guelph University, la Cite Collegiale, le College Boreal and the New Brunswick Community College were among the OLMC-affiliated Canadian educational institutions that received funding under this program. The program also supports these educational institutions in managing their projects.
International Youth Internship Program
The International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) is an employment program for young Canadian entrepreneurs (aged 19 to 30). It offers graduates rewarding professional work experience abroad to increase their employability.
CIDA's IYIP helps to provide international development assistance in cooperation with various Canadian organizations, which offer professional experience in CIDA's priority sectors in developing countries, together with foreign agencies.
In 2007-2008, this program partnered with two OLMC-affiliated universities, namely the University of Moncton and McGill, as well as a non-governmental organization in Quebec, Resource Efficient Agricultural Production (REAP), to fund 10 international youth internships.
Voluntary Sector Fund.
This fund supports international development projects proposed by Canadian non-profit organizations in cooperation with partner organizations in developing countries. The fund is available to organizations meeting the program's eligibility conditions, including OLMC-affiliated organizations.
Development Information Program (DIP)
This program provides financial support for mass media and educational initiatives to make Canadians more aware of international development and cooperation issues. DIP is available to Canadian organizations, including OLMCs, that wish to work in accordance with CIDA's mandate, and that meet the Program's eligibility criteria. DIP includes three main initiatives:
Mass Media Initiative
The Mass Media Initiative (MMI) funds television, radio, publishing, exhibitions, and new media programs. These programs keep Canadians better informed and more aware of international development and cooperation issues, via innovative use of mass media. In 2007-2008, the MMI funded 19 projects: 6 in French outside Quebec, 11 in English in Quebec, and 2 in both official languages.
Global Classroom Initiative
The Global Classroom Initiative is a CIDA tool for teachers seeking to encourage young Canadians to explore international cooperation. In 2007-2008, the program funded 6 initiatives in French outside Quebec, 6 in English in Quebec, and 5 in both official languages.
Journalism and Development Initiative
This program aims to support activities proposed by Canadian journalists interested in enriching their professional experience in the field of international development and cooperation. In 2007-2008, the Journalism and Development Initiative funded 4 projects in French outside Quebec and 4 in English in Quebec.
Youth Speakers Program
The Youth Speakers Program is designed for young Canadians who have worked or lived overseas in an international development context, and who would like the opportunity to encourage and educate other youth on the cultural richness and challenges of living and working in a developing country. In March 2008, the program funded three speakers to make McGill's student community more aware of international development issues.
CIDA and La Francophonie
The Francophonie Program developed a communication strategy, promoting participation and national outreach at the Francophone Summit in Quebec City in October 2008. This strategy led CIDA to provide support to enable the Government of New Brunswick to host at least two international conferences, strengthening ties between Francophone institutions in Canada and abroad. These conferences made it possible to discover the diversity and richness of knowledge and culture in La Francophonie.
The Francophonie Program coordinates CIDA's participation in the Summit and also aims to raise its CIDA partners' awareness of the importance of promoting the development of Canada's Francophone and Anglophone minorities when making decisions to fund activities by Canadian organizations.
Finally, during the next year, the Francophonie Program plans to encourage its staff to take advantage of training opportunities to become more familiar with measures available to implement Section 41 of the Official Languages Act.
CIDA met the requirements to produce a record of achievement in implementing Section 41 of the Official Languages Act, as well as an action plan for the future. It must also be noted that CIDA seeks to include mechanisms in its policies that consider the implications of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act. This is true of the new contracting policies, which stress the need to disseminate requests for proposals systematically in both official languages, instead of making complex considerations in terms of country of origin or destination.
Finally, it must be stressed that suggestions and feedback by Canadian Heritage will be analyzed and included as much as possible in the 2008-2009 Action Plan.
CIDA will advise the following stakeholders once this report of achievements is published on the Web: