In the 2001 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada indicated that linguistic duality is fundamental to our Canadian identity and is a key element of our society. In support of this commitment, the Treasury Board Secretariat, in co-operation with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Communication Canada and Canadian Heritage, is undertaking a joint research project into current attitudes towards the use of both official languages within the public service of Canada. This research will serve as the basis for specific social marketing and communications initiatives.

The study aims to identify current attitudes within the public service with respect to official languages and perceptions of barriers (psychological, structural, cultural) to learning and using the second language in the workplace. Specifically, the research will determine attitudes toward, and the level of acceptance of, official languages in the public service; evaluate public servants' level of satisfaction with linguistic duality in the workplace; identify barriers to improving attitudes and creating an environment of greater acceptance; and identify ways to improve the level of acceptance and use of both languages in the workplace. The results will help develop a new approach that builds on our core values and leads to sustainable change. The research will establish the situation in government as a whole by sector and will not target specific departments or agencies.

The study will cover the National Capital Region and other parts of Canada, including regions which are bilingual, unilingual English and unilingual French for language-of-work purposes. It will include the full range of public servants, from senior managers to front-line service workers, of both official language groups, and all ages and cultural backgrounds. This study focuses on departments and agencies for which the Treasury Board is the employer and does not include Crown corporations.

The research will be both quantitative and qualitative. Part of the qualitative phase, which consists of in-person focus groups, on-line focus groups and executive interviews, will begin the week of November 26th and end on December 7th. They are planned for Vancouver, Sudbury, Montreal and in the National Capital Region. Similar interventions will also be held in March of next year in other cities. The quantitative phase, planned for the months of January and February, consists of a telephone survey of 5,000 employees which will provide a statistically valid picture of attitudes and perceptions. That part of the survey will require about fifteen minutes of your time during working hours.

NFO CF group Inc. of Montreal will conduct the study. This firm has extensive experience in conducting public opinion data collection studies.

If you are invited to participate, we encourage you to do so.