Government of Yukon

March 27, 2013

A new way forward for French language services

WHITEHORSE—As of April 1, the Government of Yukon is investing $289,000, pending legislative approval, to introduce three pilot projects to strengthen French language services in the health and social service sector and to begin developing a corporate four-year plan on French language services.

The government will also establish the French Language Services Directorate as a stand-alone entity, with its own budget, rather than being part of a department. Elaine Taylor will remain the minister responsible for the directorate.

“We are embarking on a renewed relationship with the French community through its representative organization, Association franco-yukonnaise,” Minister responsible for French Language Services Directorate Elaine Taylor said. “In the coming year, we will work closely with the Francophone community to develop tools to better meet the needs of French-speaking Yukoners.”

The directorate will be hiring a full time employee to help implement the three pilot projects, which include: active offer of services that are available in French; implementing a robust interpretation service; and developing an implementation plan for designated bilingual positions in the health and social service sector to be in place by April 2014.

“These pilots offer us the perfect opportunity to improve our services to the Francophone community in ways that realistically respond to the needs of French speaking citizens,” Health and Social Services Minister Doug Graham said.

The four-year plan will ensure there is a corporate approach to providing improved levels of frontline French language services throughout the Yukon government.

“We are happy to be involved in the development of a more dynamic and concrete approach to the continued improvement of French language services in Yukon,” Association franco-yukonnaise president Angélique Bernard said. “I believe this renewed collaboration will have a positive impact on the lives of French-speaking Yukoners and help resolve outstanding issues raised by our community throughout the years.”


See backgrounder attached.


Matthew Grant
Cabinet Communications
Jeanne Beaudoin
Communications, French Language Services Directorate
Pat Living
Communications, Health & Social Services
Nancy Power
Communications, Association franco-yukonnaise
867-668-2663, extension 332 

Backgrounder for 2013/14 French Language Services pilot projects

The pilot projects will focus on high traffic areas in the health and social services sector. They will respond to a recommendation in the three existing Evaluations of the Canada-Yukon Funding Agreement on French Language Services, which identified increasing the number of bilingual frontline employees at key points of service as a priority for the French Language Service Directorate.

There will be a formative evaluation of all pilot projects as they progress as well as specific performance measures and indicators.

Pilot project descriptions:

An active offer means that French language services are evident, readily available and publicized in French. An active offer goes hand in hand with a commitment to designated bilingual positions, as in order to actively offer services in French, a jurisdiction needs staff throughout government to offer those services. The active offer project also supports the interpretation pilot project as those services will be actively offered.

The objectives of the pilot project are to:

  • Foster an organizational culture that supports the delivery of French services; 
  • Establish minimum standards for services in order to improve consistency; and 
  • Test the various active offer tools for efficacy and efficiency.

Specific activities include:

  • Taking inventory of bilingual staff and points of service; 
  • Providing active offer training/awareness sessions to employees; 
  • Developing active offer materials: logo, lapel pins, desk identifiers, posters, etc.; and, 
  • Creating an active offer policy and implementation plan for the health and social services sector.

Interpretation refers to oral communication between two or more individuals with the assistance of a third party fluent in both languages. Four types of interpretation will be tested under this pilot project: over the phone, on demand video interpretation, by volunteer bilingual interpreters and simultaneous.

A designated position is a position filled by a person who possesses advanced or superior skills in French and who can provide services in French to the public at the same level as those provided in English. The process can be implemented over time, through attrition with no impact on existing employees. The pilot project will see the development of a policy and an implementation plan to staff bilingual positions in the health and social services sector.

News Release #13-072