Chief of Military Personnel Provides Interim Report on Official Languages Initiatives

1211-2 (CMP)

05 December 2007

Monsieur Yves Côté
National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1P 5M1

Dear Mr. Côté,

I would like thank you for your continued interest in and support to the issue of the provision of French language instruction and services to Francophone students at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden. Although there remains some work to be done, significant progress has been made since I last wrote to you on 20 August 2007 on many of the issues that you raised.

First, and perhaps most importantly, a significant effort has been made by senior leadership to reinforce the bilingual character of CFB Borden. The Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) has conducted a number of staff assistance visits to support CFB Borden personnel and to monitor the implementation of the CFB Borden official language (OL) strategic plan. After Commander CDA and I separately visited CFB Borden during the summer, the Base has conducted a highly proactive information campaign. Utilizing newspaper articles, Broadcast Mail, the CFB Borden Web Site, posters and other printed materials, the leadership of CFB Borden has moved to reinforce the message that CFB Borden is a bilingual organization with a commitment to serving both Anglophone and Francophone personnel equally. This message was driven home at the Base’s first Official Languages’ Open House in October. This ongoing information campaign is critical because, when combined with the public commitment of the chain of command to the duality of the Base, it sets the essential preconditions for success in the areas that you have identified.

Second, with respect to providing training in both Official Languages, Canadian Forces Support Training Group (CFSTG) is implementing a variety of strategies that are accelerating the scheduling of training for Anglophone and Francophone students alike. The staff at Borden has been moving to increase the provision of training in both Official Languages by contracting out some courses, contracting in instructors, and partnering with civilian education and training providers. These measures are producing tangible results and we anticipate even further progress as we develop the necessary contracting expertise with assistance from Public Works and Government Services Canada.

With respect to resources, the budget provided to CFSTG for the translation of training materials has been increased by almost 80% over this year’s initial allocation, enabling the translation of a significant amount of training documentation. For example, all Qualification Standards and all up-to-date entry-level courseware have been submitted for translation. This will not totally resolve entry-level training issues because some training materials are being revised and are not yet ready for translation, but it will significantly improve the overall situation. Furthermore, changes have been made in translation procedures to accelerate the availability of training material in French. In the past, training materials were not submitted for translation until the Qualification Standard, Training Plan, and lessons were all completed and approved. Beginning this fall, procedures were revised and each training document is now sent for translation as soon as it is approved. As the entire courseware design and production cycle can take several years to complete, this will reduce significantly the delay between when lessons are available in the language in which they were originally written, and when they are available in the second Official Language.

CFB Borden has also been working very hard to improve the availability of services in several areas where it previously had difficulty providing support in both official languages. For example, the Base Administration Branch, which provides a variety of support services to members, has been working with the Borden Civilian Human Resources Officer to increase the bilingual staff in a variety of service areas to one third of the civilian workforce. Similarly, a significant effort is being made at the Post Recruit Employment and Training Centre (PRETC) to improve services provided to Francophone trainees. As CFB Borden has had difficulty finding bilingual staff within its own resources to work at the Centre, the Base has taken the innovative approach of hiring bilingual Commissionaires to supplement existing capabilities. Measures such as these are enabling the Base to improve French language service delivery in key areas.

In this regard, I have been working with both Commander CDA and the Director General Recruiting and Military Careers (DGRMC) to increase the number of bilingual CF members posted to key instructional and support positions at CFB Borden. While it may not be possible to fill all bilingual positions in the short term, targeting key positions will enable us to optimize our ability to provide training and support services in both Official Languages. CFSTG Headquarters conducted a preliminary survey in October and November to identify critical positions that must be filled next summer, and a full review of all CFB Borden establishments will be completed by 31 December 2007.

Another initiative that will positively impact the provision of support services is the improved trainees management. Measures that we are pursuing within Military Personnel Command should see a number of Francophone personnel posted to CF Bases in French speaking regions while they await training after completing their recruit course, as opposed to being posted to CFB Borden. This will improve support to Francophone personnel at the Base by improving the ratio of supporting to supported personnel.

I believe this interim report provides a good summary of the many initiatives being implemented at CFB Borden to improve the training and support provided to Francophone personnel. I look forward to providing you with the first Annual CFB Borden Official Languages Report when it is completed early in the New Year.


W. Semianiw

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