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Research on Economic Development and Human Resource Development in Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs)

Contents


Executive summary

This discussion paper sought to allow the participants of the Research Symposium on Official Languages and the workshop on economic development, to answer a fundamental strategic question:

What are the priority challenges related to research in community economic development and human resource development (CED/HRD) in official languages minority communities (OLMCs), and how might these challenges be addressed?

The Symposium and the workshop sought three goals: (1) to update the current state of research on official languages and discuss the research from a general and a sectorial point of view, (2) to establish an approach to pool research data on official languages in Canada, contribute to the creation of synergies between representatives of academia, the community and the public sector, and encourage researchers to adopt a concerted approach to facilitate the development of research activities, and (3) to assist in the preparation of the assessment of the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality.

To produce this discussion paper, we consulted the relevant research produced since 2006 by academia, government institutions and community organisations, and we surveyed 82 respondents in these milieux by phone or e-mail. We present a synthesis based on ten key themes. In each case, we present an overview of the theme, the research conducted since 2006, future prospects according to our interviews, and fundamental, applied and thematic questions for workshop and symposium discussions.

Theme 1:

Socio-economic differences between the minority and the majority: Should we prioritize the most vulnerable OLMCs or clienteles or the most promising ones?

Theme 2:

The vitality of the OLMCs: Should we give greater priority to research on the social economy and social capital in the economic development and vitality of the OLMCs?

Theme 3:

Conceptualizing the research: Should we develop a long-term research strategy on CED/HRD in OLMCs or is it better to let researchers and stakeholders conduct research as they see fit? Why?

Theme 4:

The knowledge economy: What role, if any, can non-economic community partners (for ex: schools, volunteer groups) play in the development of the knowledge economy in OLMCs?

Theme 5:

Mobility (immigration and migration): What are the economic challenges and opportunities for OLMCs created by the aging population, the youth exodus, the intra- and inter-provincial migration and immigration? Are these challenges and opportunities particular to OLMCs?

Theme 6:

Natural resources and rural areas: Should we give priority to generic research (for example: community profiles) or research that is tailored to specific OLMCs (for example: the creation of small and medium Anglophone businesses seeking to add value to the fishing industry on the North Shore)?

Theme 7:

Literacy and postsecondary and continuous education: What importance should OLMCs give to raising literacy levels as part of CED/HRD? Is it best to focus on eradicating illiteracy or raising literacy levels and other essential skills in general?

Theme 8:

Minority institutional completeness in economic development: Do OLMCs need their own institutions to enhance their CED/HRD? If so, what institutions? How do we ensure OLMC and government institutions collaborate most effectively?

Theme 9:

Positive measures in economic development and human resources development: How can OLMCs and federal institutions determine the most effective positive measures in regards to OLMC CED/HRD and OLMC sociolinguistic vitality?

Theme 10:

Research infrastructure: How can we better integrate and share the fundamental and applied research in CED/HRD within OLMCs conducted by the various community, governmental and university partners?

In most cases, we also raised an additional question: What does this mean in terms of research priorities?

The workshop on Community Economic Development and Human Resource Development gathered 63 participants from OLMCs, the federal government and academia. The participants identified five priority challenges and proposed relevant solutions. They are not presented by priority, but one could easily conceive them in a chronological sequence.

Establish a thorough conceptualisation of research on CED/HRD in OLMCs

We must establish the link between CED/HRD and OLMC vitality, including the ‘minorisation' of languages in the business world. We must clearly define concepts like ‘minority' businesses and ‘minority' economy in order to know how to intervene effectively in CED/HRD in OLMCs. We must construct an explanatory model to link the various variables and data in a logical manner. We must establish a common vision of CED/HRD in OLMCs in order to set measurable objectives and valid indicators for the purpose of determining pertinent data. We must establish OLMC particularities and determine if there are differences between rural, urban and suburban OLMCs and, if so, explain them.

The participants proposed two solutions: (1) an international review of the conceptual literature and (2) a two-day workshop (nourished by discussion papers submitted beforehand) featuring Canadian and international researchers, as well as government and minority representatives.

Determine the economic particularities of each OLMC

We must go beyond the generic and regional socioeconomic profiles. We must delve deeper into databanks and perform detailed and multivariate analyses in order to determine the main economic challenges and opportunities (niches) in each OLMC. If some realities are common among many OLMCs (for instance, succession planning, adding value in specific sectors), the OLMCs in question should collaborate or share their best practices and lessons learned.

Three solutions come to mind. First, a two-year research program to draw historical economic profiles and detailed, multivariate analyses of all OLMCs, as well as gap analyses and niche determinations according to the OLMC's comparative advantages. Second, a literature review of best practices for common themes (for example, succession planning, the LEED approach). Finally, mindful of Canadian OLMC particularities, launch pilot projects and knowledge transfers of these best practices.

Establish effective tripartite collaboration on research

Researchers and community and (federal, provincial, municipal/regional) government actors must elaborate and implement a joint research programme following a common effort. They must set the priority list of research projects and the necessary and respective resources to that end. They must give priority to applied research (with the exception of the conceptualisation effort), notably action-research. The three actors must be able to interpret the data from their respective lenses to improve mutual understanding. They must ensure reciprocal access to data and research results. Knowledge transfer of research results must be ensured to nurture and improve concrete actions on the ground. We must improve the OLMCs' ability to conduct and interpret research.

Four solutions are proposed. First, transform the Interdepartmental Research Committee on CED into a tripartite committee, as is the case in education. Second, adopt an integrated programme of fundamental and (mostly) applied research. Third, establish digital tools to facilitate exchanges—for example: a virtual databank, e-bulletins to present new research in lay terms, etc.. Finally, establish a Research Chair in CED/HRD in OLMCs over seven years (or a CURA project) or a sustained effort by the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities.

Demonstrate the value of federal investments in CED/HRD in OLMCs

In these times of economic uncertainty and imminent budget reductions, OLMCs must demonstrate to the federal government (the principal funding partner in OLMC DEC/HRD) that its investments achieve a good return. On the one hand, this is a political challenge: OLMCs must show the value of bilingualism as stipulated in the Roadmap on official languages. On the other hand, this is an economic challenge: by demonstrating a high federal return on investment, OLMCs may convince Ottawa to invest more in their DEC/HRD.

One solution is proposed: conduct applied research on the positive measures and other federal interventions in CED/HRD in OLMCs over the past decade. For example, one could evaluate the federal programs and other interventions in order to determine their results and present their merits.

Better understand the issues associated with migration and immigration

Workforce mobility is a serious concern. Internal migrations and immigration contribute to CED/HRD in OLMCs—for example, when foreigners attend OLMC postsecondary institutions and seek to stay in the community after their studies—but they provide challenges in OLMC CED/HRD—for instance, when immigrants settle in OLMCs with low literacy skills or undervalued abilities and diplomas. There is a need for research on this issue—for instance: How can OLMCs maximise the positive impacts of migration and immigration and minimize their negative impacts?

No solutions are proposed because the answer to the question will depend on the realities in each OLMC. Each OLMC will thus have to provide its own answer. Few OLMCs have a postsecondary institution. Some OLMCs never receive immigrants. Some see significant demographic growth while others suffer through youth exodus.


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Introduction

This discussion paper sought to allow the participants of the Research Symposium on Official Languages and the workshop on economic development, to answer a fundamental strategic question:

What are the priority challenges related to research in community economic development and human resource development (CED/HRD) in official languages minority communities (OLMCs), and how might these challenges be addressed?

The Symposium follows the Symposium on Official Languages Research Issues, which took place in Ottawa in January 2008. The results of the Survey on the vitality of official language minorities and the publication of the 2006 Census data on languages, migration and mobility then offered a unique opportunity to study unpublished data on the characteristics, behaviour and perceptions of the members of the official language minority communities (OLMC). The 2008 symposium also sought to build bridges between OLMCs, researchers and federal and provincial-territorial governments to produce and use knowledge on linguistic duality and official languages in the country. Finally, Symposium 2008 wanted to initiate a discussion on the importance and relevance of research on official languages in Canada and establish links between knowledge and the development and implementation of policies and programs affecting OLMCs and linguistic duality.

The 2011 Symposium pursued three objectives. First, to update the current state of research on official languages and discuss the research from a general and a sectorial point of view. Second, to establish an approach to pool research data on official languages in Canada, contribute to the creation of synergies between representatives of academia, the community and the public sector, and encourage researchers to adopt a concerted approach to facilitate the development of research activities. Finally, to assist in the preparation of the assessment of the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality.

The Roadmap identifies community economic development and human resource development (CED/HRD) as a priority sector. It adds that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) will continue to support CED/HRD, taking into account the diversity of regional realities and the fact that the new economy is based on knowledge, immigration and adaptation. Since these issues fall under multiple responsibilities, HRSDC will establish an Interdepartmental Committee on the economic development of OLMCs to coordinate the research in this area in order to assist the Government of Canada better understand the issues and better focus its actions.

Workshop discussions were thus not the end product. They were to lead to a long term research program and the development of policies and programmes based on evidence that effectively meet the needs of OLMCs to improve their economic development and their linguistic vitality in relation with the Roadmap.

To produce this discussion paper, we consulted the relevant research produced since 2006 by academia, government institutions and community organisationsFootnote 1, and we surveyed 82 respondents in these milieux by phone or e-mailFootnote 2. We present a synthesis based on ten key themes. In each case, we present the theme, the research conducted since 2006, future prospects according to our interviews, and questions for workshop and symposium discussions. We first present a conceptual and historical overview.


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Historical and conceptual overview

In 1969, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism released its report on the work world and the economy in relation to the two official languages in Canada. Previously, little research had been conducted on the link between language and the economy and the socioeconomic differences between Francophones and Anglophones in CanadaFootnote 3. The Commission's report indicated that Francophones, in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, had lower socio-economic data than Anglophones. Francophones were lagging behind in income, education, salaries and entrepreneurship. The Commission warned that such inequalities threatened the survival of the French language in Canada and, thus, Canadian unity.

In the Commission's opinion, the development of two cultures and two official languages in Canada depended on their position in the work world and the economy in general. It made 57 recommendations to accomplish three generic goals. First, establish an equitable participation in the country's economic decisions. Second, ensure that Francophones can work in French. Finally, ensure the equitable distribution of the fruits of modern technologies. These three generic goals, 57 recommendations and other arguments presented by the Commission can be summarized in 13 principal objectives:

  1. Ensure the participation of both linguistic communities at all levels of the federal public service;
  2. Ensure that federal civil servants can work in their mother tongue;
  3. Provide language training to federal employees;
  4. Ensure effective bilingualism in the Department of National Defence;
  5. Establish French language work units in the federal public service;
  6. Establish French as the main language of work in Quebec;
  7. Establish French as a language of work in Ontario and New Brunswick;
  8. Ensure bilingualism in the national headquarters of private companies;
  9. Establish an equitable participation in the economic direction of the country;
  10. Ensure that Francophones can work in French;
  11. Ensure the equitable distribution of the fruits of modern technologies;
  12. Ensure institutional self-determination of the two linguistic communities in economic matters;
  13. Eliminate the gap between minority and majority incomes, education levels, salaries and entrepreneurship

One can deduce a fundamental question: What is the impact of community and government actions in economic development in the OLMCs since 1969?

To our knowledge, no one has provided an answer, but several studies offer partial responses. Despite some gaps identified by the Commissioner of Official Languages (COL), objectives (1), (2), (3) and (4) have been achieved. The Federal Government implemented the 5th objective in 1971, but it later abandoned the initiative. The 6th objective is achieved largely through the 1977 French language Charter. The 7th has been achieved in New Brunswick but not in Ontario. No federal government worked on the 8th objective and it is not clear if the 9th has been achieved. The 2006 Census indicates significant progress in regards to objective (10), but progress varies between regions. Research indicates that Francophone minorities benefit less from the knowledge economy. Other studies suggest minority economic institutions are double-edged swords. Finally, census data show that socio-economic gaps identified in the 1960s have dissolved. Differences remain, but they are minimal and are mostly explained by geography.

Apart from assessing government and community interventions since 1969—Were the three goals and thirteen objectives achieved?—a second fundamental question arises: What remains to be done? In light of the 13th objective being achieved, at least in general, this second question takes on a different form: If Francophones have obtained equality in income, education, wages, and entrepreneurial spirit, are there still positive economic measures required from the federal government?

The answer to these questions—What is left to do? Must the government still take positive measures?—depends largely on the conceptualization of the minority community economic development (CED). At the risk of over-simplifying a complex matter, if CED is conceived as a system of production, exchange and consumption of products and services for the purpose of improving income, education, wages and the entrepreneurial spirit of the members of a minority community, progress achieved suggests we do not need more positive measures, although we could reopen the file if differences reappear. However, if CED is conceived as a process of community development, in parallel with similar processes in other sectors, including democratic self-determination, each process mutually reinforcing in the common goal of the survival and vitality of the group and its language and culture, additional positive measures are needed.

Indeed, if the aggregated individual data show that substantive equality has been achieved between the two linguistic communities, more detailed data show that many OLMCs have less success and unique challenges. Several OLMCs dependent on a rural economy based on natural resources whose value has declined or stagnated over the past decade are struggling with the fluctuations of a global market, while other OLMCs in urban or suburban settings have benefited from an economic boom. Further urbanization will likely polarize economic performances: urban = prosperity; rural = disparity. Also, if OLMC youth keep moving to urban areas, economic polarization will continue to the detriment of rural OLMCs. Acadians of the Acadian peninsula who move to Dieppe contribute to the prosperity of this urban francophone community of southeast New Brunswick but also to the disparity of their rural communities of origin. Urbanization is paradoxically one of the main factors explaining socio-economic equality and assimilation.

Anglophone Quebec exemplifies this challenge. Anglophones have long outperformed Francophones in Montreal on the economic front, although differences are disappearing, while Anglophones in other areas present (increasingly) weaker socio-economic data than local Francophones. Moreover, many Montreal Anglophones, especially newcomers, display weaker socio-economic data than their urban Francophone and Anglophone counterparts. In addition, the Anglophone minority in Quebec faces a unique challenge: while the English language is not threatened economically, the Anglophone community is in danger.

The answer to our fundamental questions thus depends on the conceptualization of the CED in a minority situation and the minority communities. Although many OLMCs are similar, each presents linguistic and economic particularities. Any community and governmental action favouring economic development and human resource development, if appropriate, should take these community features into account.

With census data and the 2006 Survey on the vitality of the OLMCs, we now know the socio-economic profile and the vitality of many OLMCs after a decade of efforts by many stakeholders, in particular: Industry Canada, Statistics Canada, Canadian Heritage, the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité (RDÉE-Canada), the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC), and the Commissioner of Official Languages. We also have access to several databases to produce the economic profile of every OLMC. Some data are missing, but most exist. The challenge is to integrate the various data in a common databank and make it available to researchers for analysis.

Research in community economic development and human resource development in the OLMCs has evolved since 1969. However, important gaps in our knowledge remain. In particular, we do not know what data are missing and which are important. We responded to several important issues, but others remain unanswered. In addition, it is unclear how to forge the link between these answers. The central problem remains unclear. We lack a logical model to describe and explain the link between the questions and answers to see how CED/HRD interventions can improve performance (applied research), and most importantly, how it can contribute to the vitality of the OLMCs (fundamental research). This requires a good conceptualization of (community) economic development and OLMCs. We will return to this later.

To complete our overview, we will feature some of the highlights in research and interventions in the matter prior to 2006. Despite some political argumentsFootnote 4 and several interventions in the 1980sFootnote 5, economic development really became an important sector of OLMC development in 1999 with the establishment of RDÉE-Canada and the CEDEC and the enabling federal funding.

In 2003, the Government of Canada launched its Action plan on official languagesFootnote 6 in great part because, according to the Prime Minister, English and French gave us a comparative economic advantage: our two official languages increase Canada's competitiveness and represent for workers an increased access to markets and jobs, and greater mobility. The plan had three economic objectives: increase the capacity of OLMCs to participate in the knowledge economy, provide internships in businesses and improved access to online training, and enable the OLMCs to take advantage of existing economic development programs.

In regards to the first objective, the Plan is based on the following assumption: economic development in OLMCs depends on their ability to use technology. The plan calls for an investment of $13 million under the Francommunautés virtuelles program for 200 new projects to allow individuals, associations and communities to exchange information on the Internet and share their experiences in community and economic development. Second, the Plan calls on Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Industry Canada and the regional development agencies to focus particularly on OLMC youth when they organize, at a cost of $7.28 million, 800 internships in business management, engineering, business administration, information technology or as research assistants in colleges and universities. The plan calls for another $10 million to support pilot projects to provide the necessary technological infrastructure for the provision of services, for example: online training and distance education and access to the library and health information. Finally, the third objective is based on the following premise: programs designed by the majority do not always conform to the particular circumstances of OLMCs; a tailored approach is proposed over the creation of a parallel structure, to ensure OLMCs use the existing programs. The plan called for an investment of $8 million to ensure the provision of information and consultation services in OLMCs so that they are well aware of the measures to which they may be eligible and have easier access to government services and programs that best meet their needs and support communities in their efforts to participate in the knowledge economy.

A national round table was held in December 2003 on research issues stemming from the action planFootnote 7. A researcher identified two issues of an economic nature. First, he wondered whether economic research could validate the international benefits of bilingualism claimed in the action plan: one should verify the hypotheses according to which countries with two official languages (1) are more competitive, (2) are more influential, (3) have increased access to markets, (4) have greater access to jobs and (5) have increased labour mobilityFootnote 8. The Commissioner of Official Languages, having earlier noted that knowledge is limited with respect to economic development in OLMCs, had also suggested research to demonstrate that bilingualism is an asset, especially for individual and collective economic prosperityFootnote 9. Second, the researcher suggested a study to determine if, how and why minority sub-state institutions (municipal councils, school boards, hospital boards, land use planning commissions and economic development commissions) contribute to the development of the minority communitiesFootnote 10.

The 2008 Symposium on official language research issues improved the fate of economic development as a research subject by dedicating a specific workshopFootnote 11. The workshop was guided by a researcher's presentation. It stated that research in this area is rare and provide little evidence in regards to public policies, and that these gaps are mainly due to conceptual, methodological and sectoral challenges.

First, there is no consensus on the definition of key concepts. There was a need to specify the concepts and definitions because it is difficult to measure results in the abstract. He raised a few questions to illustrate the conceptual challenge. What is a minority community; is it defined by geography or interest? Is there a "francophone" or "minority" economy? What is the relationship between the economy and the language and culture? What is the difference between regional and community economic development? According to the researcher, the conceptualization and the definition of the subject will produce different perceptions in regards to the challenges and, therefore, different policies and programs to resolve them.

He also identified three methodological challenges. First, since Statistics Canada surveys do not always include questions about language, we miss a critical opportunity to collect data on economic development in the OLMCs. Second, when these data are collected, they are expensive and are not made public until several months or even years. However, the clock is ticking for vulnerable OLMCs faced with a rapidly changing economy. Finally, three separate milieux—governments, communities, universities—work in this area and collect and analyze their own data in isolation without always sharing them.

Finally, he identified two challenges in the economic sector. On the one hand, if there is a "minority" economy, should it be distinguished according to the language of the owner, the workers' language or the language of the community? The distinction would lead to different interventions. On the other hand, since many OLMCs depend on natural resources (forestry, mines, fish) which are more vulnerable to the vagaries of world markets, how can OLMCs develop local niches in these sectors by shifting to the knowledge economy? To succeed, OLMCs must identify the local competitive advantages at the base of the niche or cluster. However, clusters based on cost benefits, including lower wages, are precarious, while those based on added value, supplied by local expertise and knowledge, including resource-based sectors, offer more hope. However, minorities' critical mass pose challenges to business profitability.

In addition to these critical challenges, the researcher added that research capacity in OLMCs is poorly developed, notably in CED/HRD. Few economists and public policy analysts devote their research to OLMCs and the economic sector. And those that do, do not always receive adequate funding to complete the detailed and in-depth analysis required to increase and improve our knowledge in these matters.

He also proposed solutions to the three types of challenges. First, establish a partnership between the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities (CIRLM) and Statistics Canada to make research data more accessible, notably through research data centres (RDCs). Second, establish a programme of action-research in which departments, researchers, and communities would participate and which would ensure the reciprocity between policy-relevant research and research-based policies. Such a tripartite programme would focus on, among other things, (1) the value added of the natural resources in rural areas, (2) the transition to the knowledge economy, (3) the social economy and social capital, (4) research and innovation in rural areas, (5) entrepreneurship among adolescents, (6) literacy and high school diplomas for OLMC members aged 55 and over, and (7) the location of jobs and federal offices in OLMCs. Finally, he suggested a longitudinal analysis (since 1971) on the economic situation of the OLMCs (determined and measured at the level of census subdivisions).

The workshop reported five key messages or challenges. First, the need to ensure the relevance of the research by asking questions to that effect and especially by clarifying the links between research and the impacts of federal policies, as well as between language and culture and economic development. Second, the need to understand the context of the research in this field: OLMCs have been involved in economic development for a long time, but research is less fertile than in other sectors, and research structures are still very rare. In addition, there is a need for definitions and concepts that are not found in the usual economic literature. Also, traditional research methods no longer worked; there was a need to focus on research to improve interventions, tailored to the needs of the communities and in partnership with them. Third, there is a need to create a shared space for research in the field: since economic development is vital and research is disparate and rare, there is a need to stimulate interest and bring together stakeholders to advance the work, to create synergies and to increase the capacity. Fourth, there is a need to make data more accessible, ensure that Statistics Canada asks questions about languages in its surveys of an economic nature, and enable OLMCs to analyse data. Finally, the need to transfer knowledge: without minimizing the importance of fundamental research, priority should be given to research that gives useful results and engages communities and governments from the outset, in order to develop research-based policies, and translate research results into policy actions.

The plenary session of the Symposium also outlined generic strategies which could apply to research in CED/HRD. To fund research, research chairs could be established, the funding program for research on official language minorities supported by Canadian Heritage and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council could be restored, and a Community-University Research Alliance could be formed. To share results, thematic or sectoral tables and a web portal for disseminating existing research could be established. Finally, to improve research, Statistics Canada could add language issues in major surveys.

In addition, the plenary identified (without specifying them) several potential research topics:

  • Rural development
  • The demand for language skills in the private sector
  • The economic impact of language legislation, especially in Quebec
  • Identify the economic engines that support the development of the OLMCs
  • The economic impact of school drop-out
  • The determinants of the vitality of the communities (e.g.: jobs)
  • The promotion and the use of French in the private sector

Finally, the Roadmap for Canada's linguistic duality 2008-2013Footnote 12 identifies economic development as one of the five priority areas. It also reiterates the importance of taking advantage of the economic benefits of linguistic duality, including providing access to Canadian businesses to international markets, supporting Canada's language industry and supporting the full participation of OLMCs in the knowledge economy and their economic empowerment with the Enabling Fund. The road map adds two initiatives. First, an economic development initiative to promote the acquisition of new business skills by OLMC members and to assist their economic development according to their needs through innovation, entrepreneurship, partnerships and economic diversification. Second, a language industry initiative to help Canadian companies specialized in translation and language technology be more competitive in the domestic and international markets. It also spurred the Centre for research in language technology (National Research Council of Canada), the recruitment and integration of immigrants (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), the Fund for cultural development (Canadian Heritage) and the language portal (Public works and Government Services Canada).

The Roadmap was the result of pan-Canadian consultationsFootnote 13 which, in terms of economic development, noted the shift to the knowledge economy and the subsequent transformations, including challenges and opportunities in OLMCs. They asserted the importance of bilingualism in this new economy, especially as a comparative advantage for Canada on the international markets, particularly in the language industries. However, these consultations also highlighted the challenges of illiteracy, the lack of opportunities for continuing education in the minority language in several regions, and the challenges related to the integration of French-speaking immigrants, including those relating to the retention of immigrants and the recognition of their diplomas. They also noted the challenges of rural communities with regard to access to high speed Internet and other means of electronic communications in several sectors of the knowledge economy, including distance training. Youth employment also received some attention.


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Socio-Economic Differences Between The Minority And The Majority

Presentation

Since the Royal Commission, the socio-economic equality of Francophones and Anglophones has been a fundamental objective of community and government interventions. As expected, several research conducted since 2006 focused on this important issue.

Research conducted since 2006

Economic differences between the minority and the majority have disappearedFootnote14. However, it took a few studies to prove it. Nevertheless, the research also shows that equality does not exist everywhere.

An initial researchFootnote15 did not detect significant differences between Francophones and Anglophones when using 2001 data at the level of census subdivisions (CSD). It recommended a study of the same data (2001) but at a smaller geographic level—dissemination areas (DA).

The subsequent study, based on data from the 2001 census for the (11 000) DAs in which a minority population formed at least 5% of the total population, shows that the Francophone minority presents lower socio-economic data than Anglophones living alongside them, while Anglophones in Quebec show better socio-economic results than their French-speaking counterpartsFootnote16. The data analysed focused on income, unemployment, entrepreneurship, education, types of industry, professions, immigration and ageFootnote17. According to the study, Quebec Anglophones have, overall, the best performance for official language minorities on the socio-economic variables examined across Canada, while, at the other end of the spectrum, the Francophone minority in Atlantic Canada presents the least impressive resultsFootnote18.

The research also outlined correlations to explain the differences. Francophones are consistently over-represented in agriculture, fisheries and forestry—industrial sectors little oriented towards added value or presently in crisis—and under-represented in important tertiary economic sectors that create significant impacts and are resolutely oriented towards high added valueFootnote19. They are also over-represented in occupations associated with the primary industries and under-represented in occupations associated with tertiary motor industries. Thus, they are proportionally more likely than the Anglophone majority to lie within the lower income brackets and systematically under-represented in the higher income brackets.

The researchers were limited by the data and could not go any further. Among other things, there was no data to compare rural and urban areas or age groupsFootnote20. These limits matter.

'La première variable aurait pu préciser si les anglophones du Québec, par exemple, ont seulement un rendement supérieur aux francophones à Montréal et s'ils affichent un rendement égal ou inférieur aux francophones du Québec dans les régions où les anglophones sont concentrés (par exemple, la Côte nord ou les cantons de l'est). La seconde aurait pu préciser si les différences s'atténuent avec l'âge et si l'écart noté dans nos analyses se rétrécit auprès des plus jeunes générations. Dans les deux cas, les données pourraient suggérer des analyses différentes et des recommandations plus précises ou nuancées.'Footnote21

The researchers implicitly proposed two hypotheses that they could not verify with the limited DA data. First hypothesis: economic differences between the minority and the majority are a function of age. Thus, they should disappear soon. Second hypothesis: the differences are a function of urban economic conditions (prosperity) and rural conditions (disparity). Thus, differences will increase with the exodus of young people and the stagnation of the market for natural resources which dominate the economy of the rural regions where the majority of OLMCs are located in the country.Footnote22

Before presenting its recommendations, the team proposed a logical framework to guide interventions on this subject: since income is closely related to professions and industrial sectors in which a lot of the OLMC populations worked, public interventions that accelerate the shift to the knowledge economy and add value to natural resources (forestry, fishing, agriculture) should lead to changes in profession and industrial sectors and, ultimately, to income increases for the French-speaking minorities in the country.

They first recommend developing strategies to help OLMC members complete their basic education (high school diploma) as well as specialized training (certificates, diplomas) in entrepreneurship and trades. The second recommends establishing a special fund for a period of ten years to encourage OLMC youth to start a business. The third recommends repeating the analysis of socioeconomic data for the 2006 census (and subsequent censuses), while modifying the research parameters to focus on the provinces (rather than the regions) and census subdivisions (rather than dissemination areas), in order to analyse key variables, notably age groups and rural and urban areas. The analysis should also add a historical perspective to determine if gaps have shrunk, grown or fluctuated since 1971. It should also integrate complementary socio-economic data collected by Canadian Heritage, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, RDÉE-Canada and the CEDEC, Industry Canada, Statistics Canada, etc. Finally, the fourth recommends holding an Economic Summit on minority communities to gather stakeholders in economic development in the OLMCs for the purpose of linking and dovetailing their respective actions.

The subsequent analysis commissioned by Industry Canada focused on the 2006 census data for the (597) census subdivisions wherein the minority population had at least 1,000 members and represented at least 5% of the total population. It confirmed the first hypothesis. In fact, the 2006 census data show that differences are a function of age: differences disappear with the younger generations. Indeed, the average income and education levels of Francophone aged 25-44 years are now generally higher than those of Anglophones living in the same census subdivisions outside Quebec under analysisFootnote23. The report adds that "these results bode well for the economic future" of many OLMCs.

However, some differences remain. For example, young Francophones in Ontario and New Brunswick still have a lower education level, albeit minimal, than young Anglophones living in the same regions. The report recommends further search to identify the reasons for economic differences between age groups. The report also shows that minority Francophones and Anglophones living in urban areas in every province achieve higher education levels, average income and labour participation rates and a lower unemployment rate than their counterparts living in rural areas. It adds that internal immigration has improved the economic situation of Francophones, especially among youth, and that internal migration as well as immigration undoubtedly explain some of the differences, especially among the younger groups. It also asserts that since the unemployment rate is higher among young Anglophones in Quebec, for example, their average income is lower than that of Francophones in the province. However, the authors refrain from concluding that youth exodus and urbanization does not bode well for rural areas.

Moreover, there are several databases on a variety of economic topics that could be integrated with a comprehensive socioeconomic databank. Profiles of OLMCs produced by Canadian Heritage, the CLO, the RDÉE and the CEDEC offer some of the best sources of data.

In 2003, RDÉE-Canada produced 57 socioeconomic profiles from the 2001 census data, profiles updated in 2008 based on data from the 2006 censusFootnote24. These profiles cover a range of demographic, economic and social statistics. They helped to identify the strengths and weaknesses of OLMCs and to develop community economic development plans. They were also used to develop sectorial development plans. For example, RDÉE-Ontario analysed the Franco-Ontarian economy to determine potential regional nichesFootnote25. As a result, the Prescott-Russell area was to diversify the agricultural sector through agritourism, organic production and community-supported agricultureFootnote26.

The profiles also show a difference between Francophone communities outside Quebec. Some of these OLMCs, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, display dire results, while others, such as the Northwest Territories, fared well. The socio-economic profile of Quebec's Anglophonie reveals a similarly complex pictureFootnote27. The number of Anglophones based on mother tongue is in free fall since 1971 and particularly since the mass exodus of the 1970s, while data based on the language of use show positive signs. Rural depopulation and the ageing of the population raise challenges to the English-speaking communities outside the metropolis, while Anglophones in Montreal fare well. In addition, there is a virtuous circle: the regions of Quebec with the most Anglophones are those which attract the most English-speaking immigrants and where Anglophones most often use English at work. Other researchFootnote28 confirms economic equality between Anglophones and Francophones, but adds several relevant findings. The differences between the two groups increased in the regions. Anglophones are better educated but have a higher unemployment rate. They are over-represented at the upper and lower income levels. The conclusion is pessimistic: "Anglophones who stayed in Quebec experienced a relative loss in socio-economic status and cohort analysis suggests that such decline will continue in the near future […] the trend in socio-economic stratification in Quebec would suggest […] the further entrenchment of two solitudes."

The Conference Board of Canada also sponsored a socio-economic analysis of 57 census divisions (for example: counties) within which 84% of the Francophone OLMCs and 60% of Anglophone OLMCs lived in 2001Footnote29. It shows that Francophones have better revenue levels, employment rates and unemployment rates than their fellow Anglophone citizens: "Francophones are not disadvantaged.Footnote30" The study adds many relevant conclusions. For example, in regions where more than 70% of Francophones use French at work, the average income of Anglophones is on average higher by $1500 to Francophones' average income, and in areas where less than 70% of Francophones use French at work, the average income of Francophones exceeds by $1,500 the average income of AnglophonesFootnote31. In addition, the average income of Francophones is higher at the base but Anglophones' income increases more rapidly with education than Francophones'Footnote32. Regional disparities could explain the differences: most regions where more than 70% of Francophones use French at work are found in Atlantic Canada, where the income is generally lower. The authors suggested other explanations, such as the exodus of young people, the aging of the population and the limited access to training in French in most regions of the country outside Quebec.

Finally, several other studies have focused on the economic differences between groups in particular—for example, young people—or on a variable in particular—for example: the income or the language of work—while others have collected data that have not yet been analysed. This is the case with the post-censal survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2006 and the country-wide survey conducted by Canadian Heritage in 2003. We will return to these shortly. First, we will overview the results of research conducted on a particular socioeconomic variable or on a particular group.

Youth, a critical component to OLMCsFootnote33, often appears in the research. Some note differences between age groups in respect to key economic data. Other research focuses on youth exodus and the ensuing challenges for rural OLMCs everywhere in the country, particularly in Quebec's Anglophonie. An analysis of the 2006 census data shows that Francophone youths working outside Quebec use French at work more often than older Francophones, and that they have higher rates of economic activity, employment and education than young Anglophones living in the same regions.

Language of work data also show progressFootnote34. Most Acadians and Anglophones in Quebec worked in their language in 2001, but the majority of Francophones elsewhere worked in EnglishFootnote35. In 2006, 69% of Francophones living outside Quebec, or 425,000 people, used French in the workplaceFootnote36. In fact, 40% used mainly French at work and the other 29% regularly used it.

However, these rates vary by region. Three out of four Francophones in New Brunswick used mainly French at work, while barely one tenth of Francophones in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia Colombia did so. The rate also varies according to the industrial sectors. Four out of five Francophones working in Government used French in the workplace, while half of those who worked in the mines, oil and gas extraction sector used it. The rate also varies according to the professional categories: 76% of Francophones who held occupations in social science, education and public administration used French in the workplace, while 53% of Francophones who worked in the natural and applied sciences used it. There is also a difference between age groups: 54% of working Francophone aged 65 years and over used French in the workplace, while 68% of Francophones aged 20-44 years did so.

Another research shows that New Brunswick Francophones' income increased between 1970 and 2000, largely because bilingualism became a job qualification, but it added that this increase did not eliminate the gap between the average income of Francophones and AnglophonesFootnote37. Borrowing the same data while juxtaposing them to those of Quebec, another study noted a levelling between Francophones and Anglophones in Quebec thanks mainly to the increase in the income of unilingual FrancophonesFootnote38.

Some data questioned the request for more federal jobs in Quebec by Quebec Anglophones. According to the Senate Committee on official languagesFootnote39, Anglophones occupy 11.7% of the federal jobs in Quebec, while the Treasury Board of CanadaFootnote40 indicates that Anglophones occupy 14.1% of jobs in federal institutions subject to the Official Languages Act. In both cases, however, Anglophones are over-represented compared to their provincial demographic weight – 8.2% according to mother tongue and 10.6% according to the language spoken at home. On the other hand, Anglophone presence in the provincial public service (2.8% of the workforce) and in municipal and regional administrations (7.0%) reveals a disparity in these important public functions.

We now return to the socio-economic databanks that may lead to additional analyses. The Survey on the vitality of the OLMCs gathered information in subjects deemed a priority by OLMCs in order to produce useful information for the Government of Canada to develop effective policies and programs. It should shed some light on the situation of the OLMCs in regards to their demographic, social, economic and cultural capital and should improve our understanding of linguistic experiences in OLMCs. The survey questionnaireFootnote41 covers a range of topics including the economy, but it prioritizes the linguistic trajectory of the members of OLMCs from childhood to adult life, the linguistic dynamics in exogamous families, and the motivations for the transmission of the mother tongue to children and the choice of the school system.

The Survey collected several economically-useful data, including education, mobility, economic activity, income and language practices at work, language skills and the language used in the public sphere, including shopping. However, the answers are more useful to sociologists than economists. For example, the Survey asked respondents if they write or read notes, letters, reports or other types of documents in the minority language; regularly speak their language with clients, supervisors, colleagues or associates and employees; communicate in their language, by telephone or in person, with people who are not part of the company; and if their immediate supervisor can communicate with them in the minority language.

The survey commissioned by Canadian HeritageFootnote42 offers another set of economic data that has been little used, except for a research forum. It collected data on the language used at work and in the store, as well as respondents' perception on the importance of using their language at work and at the store, on the availability of services and information on the Internet in the minority language, and on the assertion that bilingualism improves job and business opportunities for Canadians, their interest in taking training courses on the Internet in the minority language, their satisfaction with employment, education and post-secondary education services in their language, and their assessment of the accessibility of employment services and education and post-secondary education services in the minority language in the region.

Finally, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Rural Secretariat gathers data on cooperative development in OLMCs in an annual pan-Canadian survey of cooperativesFootnote43. Ontario's Office of Francophone Affairs also produced a socioeconomic portrait of the Franco-Ontarian communityFootnote44. Numerous other databanks are available. These databases enable us to learn more about the economy in OLMCs.

Respondents' perspective

The majority of the respondents stated that these profiles are very useful, both for the comparison of results between the majority and the minority in the same areas, to determine the progress and setbacks and the magnitude of each, and for understanding the challenges and opportunities in OLMCs. Many want an update every five years, which will allow planning to better adapt to changing economic realities.

Most respondents nevertheless suggest to do more. They want more detailed analysis. They appreciate the series of publications by the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities on migration from the 2001 and 2006 census data, for example, but they would like similar studies for all of the variables. They also want the data to be collected and analyzed for each community (census subdivision or division). They also hope these profiles can be integrated with other data in order to understand the relationships between them. Many also suggest a logic model to frame the analysis, to determine what data are important. They also suggest translating the data for strategic planning purposes. Why collect the data if it is not used to improve actions in the field? They also wish that these data be made available so that OLMCs are able to analyze them. An alternative would be collaborations with researchers.

Questions

Our questions are of two kinds. First, we reproduce the questions asked by previous research and the stakeholders we consulted that have not yet been answered and that could warrant fundamental or applied (including action-research) research in the future. These issues do not cover all the potential issues; other issues may be added. Second, we raise questions for the Symposium participants.

Questions
Fundamental research Applied research
What OLMCs suffer from what socio-economic gap(s)? What are the causes? Do differences fade over time? Do they vary by region (urban vs. rural), sectors (fishing, agriculture, mining, forestry), etc.? What are best practices or effective interventions that can eliminate socioeconomic differences? Which would be the most effective in OLMCs? Why? Do they apply in all the OLMCs? Otherwise, in which ones? Why?
What structural and individual factors prevent OLMC members from working in their language? Is the use of the minority language concentrated in certain industries? Do education levels coincide with the use of the minority language at work? What strategies would be needed to eliminate the structural and individual causes preventing the OLMC members from working in their language? What are the best practices in Canada and elsewhere?
Why do OLMC youth leave? Do they intend to come back? What are the factors that influence their decision in both cases? What best practices and effective strategies would contribute to keep young people in OLMCs and to encourage them to come back?
How do certain factors such as the field of study, the type of profession and the type of employment affect the economic evolution of OLMCs? What jobs (by occupations, sectors, etc.) most require knowledge of the minority language and, thus, should be the priority focus for OLMCs?
What are the differences between OLMCs? Are these differences so great as to prevent common efforts? What is the profile of OLMC businesses? Which ones would be most able to take advantage of networking? Why? What French-language businesses outside Quebec could collaborate with Quebec businesses? What Anglophone businesses in Quebec could collaborate with businesses outside Quebec? Why? How could they collaborate?
What is the profile of OLMC businesses? Are they big, small or family businesses? What are their needs? Start-up funds? Access to high-speed Internet? What government programs could meet the needs of the OLMC businesses? Are OLMC businesses aware of these programs? How can OLMCs and governments inform businesses of the programs at their disposal?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

Should we prioritize the most vulnerable OLMCs or clienteles or the most promising ones?

(The challenges of rural and isolated OLMCs that depend on natural resources or OLMCs with the most promising economic growth potential? OLMCs with the smallest critical mass or those with demographic growth? The challenges of the older employees or the youngest generation? The less-educated or the most skilled? Challenges faced by women rather than those faced by men?)

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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The vitality of the OLMCs

Presentation

In addition to socio-economic data, several more qualitative research were conducted on the economic development of OLMCs. Studies initiated by the Commissioner of Official LanguagesFootnote 45 include quantitative data, but their analysis is superficial. In addition, the studies present the data as one of many to understand economic development in OLMCs, and they put more emphasis on local empowerment in economic affairs. The initial report placed job creation, the generation of wealth, the knowledge economy and the production, exchange and consumption of goods and services within a social economy.

Research conducted since 2006

Among the many studies conducted on the vitality of the OLMCsFootnote 46, three deserve our attention.

One vitality study on rural OLMCs in SaskatchewanFootnote 47 includes a brief analysis of local socio-economic conditions. It was the result of a field study and a symposium and is part of the efforts by the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise and the Institut français of the University of Regina to establish a regional economic development plan for Saint-Isidore-de-Bellevue/Saint-Louis/Domremy, Hoey and Duck LakeFootnote 48. The project promotes agriculture, culture and local heritage through local agricultural products in harmony with the environment and the Fransaskois culture, knowledge and know-how. It seeks to improve collaboration between stakeholders in the food production chain to create jobs that will strengthen the French language and identity, to improve Fransaskois pride and solidarity, to halt and reverse the youth exodus and the aging population, and to build bridges with Anglophone and Aboriginal communities.

This study is interesting because it provides a logical model tying vitality to economic indicatorsFootnote 49. The model includes five fields of activity and multiple outputs and short-term and medium-term results that should enhance community vitality. It thus offers a first sketch of the link between economic development and its social purpose: the vitality of the OLMCs. It offers several relevant research projects, including one on the social economy and social capital: the ability of community leaders to develop the terroir, the mobilization of actors, and community-supported agriculture. It also proposes research on raising public awareness on local consumption habits and on the link between socio-economic data and local enterpreneurship and collaboration among (existing and new) farmers, producers and processors. The model also presents indicators and sources of data for each of these outcomes. It provides a programme of action research including surveys, statistical analysis (for example: tourism-related income and the number of tourists), interviews, compilations (for example: the number of specific projects launched) and records (for example: the number of participants in training and support programs).

However, this model is rather pragmatic (it is based on unverified assumptions) and project-specific (the terroir). It more closely resembles a business plan than an explanation of the relationship between economy and minority language. For example, it has several indirect indicators with regard to economic development (the number of committees established, the number of persons present at public meetings regarding the terroir project, the number of media reports on the region), but it neglects more direct economic indicators, such as the number of businesses established, the number of jobs created and the economic impact of the project in the local economy.

The vitality study on Quebec Anglophones offers another modelFootnote 50. In fact, it presents two models, one for the Eastern Townships and the other for the Lower North Shore. Both models are more in line with the social economy. In fact, the creation of jobs is important in both cases, but it must above all serve to keep young people in the OLMCs, to improve the skills of the members of the OLMCs, and to support the overall development of the OLMCs. The model for l'Estrie prioritizes marketing opportunities for employment and businesses, networking, and continuing education, especially in entrepreneurship. Subsequent actions should lead to more employment opportunities in OLMCs and to their economic development and accountability. These two intermediate outcomes should give rise, in the long term, to a prosperous community, filled with employment opportunities for its members, and a greater ability to adapt to economic change. The model for the Basse-Côte-Nord prioritizes economic diversification after the collapse of coastal fisheries, in particular to reduce the out-migration of young people. Research is crucial, as is government and community support, networking and information exchanges. Strategies are ambitious: improve the work culture, increase investments, improve infrastructure. The ultimate end is also ambitious: the OLMCs will maintain and improve their quality of life through economic growth. But as with the Fransaskois project, these models, results and indicators lay some foundations for research.

In addition, two other studies took a particular look at CED/HRD in OLMCs. Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions sponsored a study on business vitality in Campbell's BayFootnote 51. The initiative enables communities to assess their capacity to support entrepreneurs and small business growth. It measures the perceptions of community leaders of the local business community (quality of life, education and training, available funding, etc.), and the results are compared to other communities to identify short- and long-term community-based interventions to improve the community's ability to support entrepreneurship and small businesses. However, the bilingual capacity of the community was rarely mentioned among the community advantages.

An ethnographic studyFootnote 52 deepens our understanding of economic and linguistic dynamics in Quebec OLMCs. Two of its findings drew our attention. First, economic prosperity and the social economy are linked: "economic activity and social relations are linked […and] the economic decisions made by individuals are not made in a vacuum, but informed by myriad factors not all of which are economic at base.Footnote 53" Some of the factors clearly important to the development of our household survival strategies include: the specifics of place; human capital; social capital; economic resources; and the available opportunity structureFootnote 54. Second, there is a wide diversity even in small rural OLMCs.

Respondents' perspective

Few respondents made comments on the vitality studies on the OLMCs carried out by the COL and even less indicated a desire to conduct further studies of its kind to enrich the thinking and the action in CED/HRD in OLMCs. Most of the respondents indicated that the global development plans and the community socio-economic profiles are sufficient. However, many noted that these plans neglect the relationship between the economy and the vitality of the OLMCs and that governmental and community-based interventions may thus not necessarily be the most effective ones. Therefore, some questioned the fact that the RDÉE prioritize some areas—for example: tourism—which are not necessarily priorities in every OLMC in Canada. At a minimum, they say, this choice should be explained and justified.

Respondents do not agree on whether research (and the subsequent action) should focus on "classical" economic development—the creation of jobs, the generation of wealth, developing niches in the knowledge economy, etc.—or on the social economy, or both. There is no consensus. Many believe that we invest too much time and funds on research on social capital and the social economy, which have very little value "on the ground", while others believe that research should be conducted on the social economy because it is the best way to illuminate the relationship between economic development and OLMC vitality. Also, some of those who prefer the first approach admit that this link must be understood. However, they believe this kind of research is not a priority over the classical approach.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
What are the potential elements of a logic model of economic intervention for OLMCs that enhance their vitality? Which elements are essential? What are the relationships between the elements of this model? What strategies drawn from social economy are more beneficial to OLMCs? Why? How can the OLMCs maximize their benefits?
What is the relationship between the economy of OLMCs and the other communities in the region? Do OLMC niches add significant value? How can OLMCs participate fully in regional economic development while reducing the risk of assimilation?
Do the existing economic development plans link economic growth and socio-linguistic vitality of OLMCs? If so, how? Otherwise, why not? What are best practices, in Canada and elsewhere, in the determination and measurement of the link between economic development and the (linguistic) minority community's vitality?

Question for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

What role and what importance do the social economy and social capital play in the economic development and the vitality of OLMCs?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Conceptualizing the Research

Presentation

Discussions on classical economy versus social economy—both are consistent, even complementary—lead us to our third theme of research. This is not a new theme. For a long time, the following question has been raised: What is the relationship between economic development and minority vitality? The empirical link is logical: a community can hardly survive without economic prosperity. The conceptual link is however more difficult: How does the economy contribute to this vitality? Not all economic development projects ensure linguistic vitality. An economic development initiative can strengthen the community but weaken minority language. For example, the arrival of a new company may create new jobs for an OLMC, but if the jobs must be filled by persons who must work in the language of the majority, because it is the language of the business, it does not improve the economic situation of the OLMC members who are unilingual French, and it forces them to use the majority language in the workplaceFootnote 55. Knowing the link between economic development and OLMC vitality informs stakeholders on the purpose of their actions.

Research conducted since 2006

No research was conducted on this subject since 2006, but there are two important reports since 2008. The firstFootnote 56, communicated during the 2008 Symposium on research in the OLMCs, posed two conceptual issues. Is there a 'minority' economy? And what is the relationship between the economy and language and culture? The second reportFootnote 57, a study on the knowledge economy, raised this methodological issue: Should we encourage firms whose owners or managers speak the minority language but whose workers work in the majority language, or rather companies located in OLMCs but whose owner uses the majority language? Statistics Canada attempted on two occasions to meet the challenge and propose solutions.

First, according to the available indicators, Statistics Canada offered different ways to measure the economic development of OLMCsFootnote58. Recognizing that economic development and the OLMCs are two complex concepts that can be apprehended in several ways, the report says that the mere accumulation of variables is not sufficient to properly account for this complexity. To develop effective indicators, we must understand the relationships between variables and integrate them into an analytic model. The elaboration of a complex model that analyses an integrated set of variables to understand and explain their interaction within language dynamics would represent an important but essential challenge for the study of OLMCsFootnote59. Economic development cannot be reduced to a single model. Also CED includes other concepts, such as local or regional development, sustainable development, rural development, economic growth, (economic) well-being, etcFootnote60. There is no consensus on these indicators. Finally, Statistics Canada concluded that any effort in that regard must be part of a long-term visionFootnote61.

Let us briefly pursue a tangent on economic development before returning to the conceptual challenges.

Some measure economic development by growths in demand, economies of scale, diversification and specialization within an economyFootnote62, fluctuations in the workforceFootnote63, labour productivity, entrepreneurship, the increase in income, savings, innovations in the field of knowledge and technologies, etcFootnote64. These indicators subsume others. For example, income includes the mean and median income of families and individuals, the degree of income inequality, the proportion of families whose income is below the poverty threshold, and the impact of governmental measures on income transfers and taxes.

The knowledge economy changes the equation. Knowledge—innovation, creativity, etc.—has always been part of the modes of production, but it has grown since the proliferation of ICTs (information and communications technologies) and the growth of the services sector. Since ICTs and services depend in large part on human capital and its knowledge and know-how, this ‘creative class' becomes an issue of great importance to businesses and communities who want to lure this human capital and reap the benefits of these growing sectors. It is also important in public policy. Governments have invested a lot in university research and innovation. Since research shows that this type of R&D is not as effective as facilitating commercial exchangesFootnote65, including exchanges between universities and companiesFootnote66, most governments are correcting their strategy. The importance of the creative class remains.

Regional economic development researchers are also interested in the knowledge economyFootnote67. There is an interesting debate between economists of regional development on a fundamental question: "Do jobs follow people or do people follow jobs?"Footnote68 Despite the popularity of Richard Florida's theory of the creative class, inspired by the work of Jane JacobsFootnote69, this theory has its limits. In fact, the creative class, as all other "classes", moves to find a job rather than to take advantage of the cultural amenities of a city or region. However, once established, they tend to remain in place and, therefore, to support regional cultural activities and facilities. The conclusion which emerges is not new: despite the rise of the economy of knowledge, ICT and the service sector, inventing, producing and exchanging products and services depend on the geography and interactions between the location of firms and the mobility of workers.

This debate also interests governments. The United States, advocating a geography of innovationFootnote70, will facilitate the development of regional industrial clusters through collaborations between researchers, businesses, governments and workers. It wants to reproduce the success of Silicon Valley elsewhere and in other sectors. It assumes that "place matters" and that specialized clusters provide the best way to improve U.S. competitiveness in the global market. Most European countries have also adopted a similar strategy. For example, France will invest over two billion dollars to develop "poles of competitiveness". These initiatives are based on research: geographical proximity offers economic benefits, including economies of scale (production costs decrease with the number of units), economies of agglomeration (exchange costs decrease thanks to proximity) and tacit knowledge.

No research conducted in the OLMCs since 2006 focused directly on creative classes. A research on this subject gives little hope to Atlantic Canada's Francophones who live in its major cities because activities in high technology, research and innovation in Atlantic Canada represent only a small portion of domestic production for this chapter and because these cities attract few immigrants and are too small to compete with the large metropolises in attracting the creative classesFootnote71. The researchers noted economic growth in Moncton and the contribution of its bilingual workforce to this effect, including in the knowledge economy and industries, especially call centres, but they did not dare include "bilingualism" in Florida's "ethnic mosaic" index to measure the impact of bilingualism in the regional context. Their data supported the following hypothesis: since (a) economic development is concentrated in urban areasFootnote72 and is linked to their capacity for innovation and creativityFootnote73, (b) bilingual workforce is an asset in some industries of knowledge, (c) cultural activities generate impactsFootnote74, and (d) the cultural community formed by the OLMCs generates proportionally higher benefits than its demographic proportion, ergo: the knowledge of two international languages offers a comparative advantage to bilingual cities in the creative economy.

We can draw on a review of the literature on the creative capacity in rural areas to make a few parallels with our thinking on OLMCsFootnote75. According to its authors, creativity is not limited to major cities. Every economic region produces tacit knowledge, a critical component in the knowledge economy, and transfers knowledge. The extent and the nature of ICTs may differ between rural and urban areas, as is the case with the use of ICT, but the geographical proximity effect is the same in both types of regions as well as in sectors of natural resources (forests, mines, fisheries).

The Canadian science and technology strategyFootnote76 poses challenges for OLMCs, but it also offers some opportunities. OLMCs are not leaders in the priority sectors: environmental science and technologies, natural resources and energy, science and technologies in health and related life sciences, information technologies and communications, and aerospace and defence. In fact, apart from McGill University, which is not defined as an Anglo-Quebec university, and the University of Ottawa, well located but whose service to OLMCs remains to be defined, postsecondary institutions in the OLMCs will have a difficult time to land centres of excellence that will bring together government, businesses and academic experts from around the world to support applied research in the priority areas. The OLMCs could nevertheless request a Canada Research Chair in minority community economic development and convince the Government of Canada and the provincial and territorial governments to promote excellence in post-secondary education in French and to improve its access in remote areas, and to convince the Federal Government to work with community colleges and local companies to support the development, the adaptation and the adoption of new technologies. Moreover, nothing prevents OLMC entrepreneurs from obtaining financial support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The fact that no research has followed up on the strategy to meet the needs or challenges of OLMCs raises serious questions.

Let's return from our tangent. In addition to conceptualizing economic development, we must understand community economic development (CED). Here also, there is no consensus. However, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) approach to Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) seems most relevant because it covers several important themes, such as regional and rural economic development.

The LEED approach promotes the social economy as the empowerment of individuals and organizations to develop the local economy to best ensure the overall development of the communityFootnote77. Education, participation, identity and the cooperation of the community members thus become essential purposes. LEED favours coordinated action based on local in-depth information that seeks flexible local solutions tailored to the strengths and opportunities specific to each community. An approach that targets local characteristics is more effective.

However, its focus on innovation requires constant intelligence gathering by public and private decision makers to assess local opportunities faced with evolving technologies, and an active networking with training institutions to better match the local competences with those required. The ability of workers and local businesses to adopt and transform new technologies also depends on the ability to produce new entrepreneurs and to access the necessary funding, two other issues of concern in the field of local development. Funding mechanisms are not the only concern of the private sector; municipal and regional governments, because of their role as facilitator and provider of public goods such as the technological infrastructure and research and as the early purchasers that help make profitable new technology, also draw the focus of local development researchers in search of innovative means of financing local revitalization.

The LEED approach must be understood as one of many components to economic development. It should not be isolated. First, communities are part of a region, the main focus of modern economic development (more so than national economic development). According to this approach, a national government can better develop the country's economy by supporting the economy of its regions. How? It must adopt national policies which have a fair impact on all the regions, provide education to all citizens and ensure access to basic infrastructure (e.g.: airports, roads, high speed Internet). It must also invest in all regions based on their specific realities and their comparative advantages. This investment should encourage the regions to mobilise their own resources to maximize their comparative advantages, which will contribute to national economic diversity and complementarities between regions, including direct and induced effects in a region for the benefit of other regions—such exchanges amplify economic growth.

Regional economic development must not be designed as a subsidy to equalize individual and collective socio-economic data, but as a way to amplify the comparative advantages of less affluent regions to increase the country's economy. Research shows that innovation and a skilled workforce, two essential conditions in the modern economy, are geographically concentrated. In fact, each region has advantages that should be identified and amplified, notably through its workforce. We must therefore identify regional niches and integrate the interventions by provincial, national, regional and local agencies.

This integration cannot succeed if parachuted; top-down and bottom-up approaches are required. The role of the national government (and that of the provinces) is to facilitate the regional efforts, but they can also contribute elsewhere. They can encourage collaboration between the various players. They can facilitate the establishment of common goals and coordinate progress evaluation—for example: the number of patents and innovations in the production and marketing processes. They must also know when and how to withdraw from the process to let entrepreneurs continue the work.

Irrespective of the niche, regional strategies must invest in innovation and knowledge. They should support research in the universities, institutes and research centres but also in businesses. They should push universities to patent their research and transfer their knowledge to entrepreneurs. The role of postsecondary institutions is critical to innovation and entrepreneurship in the LEED programFootnote78. They train human resources, including their entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviours and skills. But postsecondary institutions can do more. They should establish an administrative structure dedicated to entrepreneurship, build facilities and purchase equipment to facilitate business incubation. They should work closely with the local business community to support business start-ups and help entrepreneurs reach their market. They should establish a relationship between its alumni and the business world to improve the education they provide. They should also offer their research capacity to evaluate economic development actions.

Having painted a portrait of economic development, we can now focus on the concept of ‘community'. In the case of OLMCs, in addition to territorial space, we can also think of the space of networks, where solidarity is a sense of belonging or common interestsFootnote79. Defining OLMCs in terms of networks, rather than in terms of space communities, is based on the assumption of a community of interest or identity between persons with similar language characteristics that do not necessarily rub shoulders in a common environment, an assumption supported by the proliferation of ICTs and virtual social networksFootnote80.

However, the territorial conceptualization is more advanced. The census contains 20 spatial units. Some researchers recommend census subdivisions to identify OLMCs because these units coincide with the communities (municipalities); this can facilitate federal-provincial-municipal cooperationFootnote81. One can also focus on higher levels: census divisions (counties), economic regions, zones of metropolitan influence, provinces or territories. However, it must be understood that survey data do not generate necessarily reliable results for very fine geographical levelsFootnote82, and not all geographic units are useful for analysisFootnote83.

We must also distinguish OLMCs from the majority communities according to language. This distinction is a problem in both geography (OLMCs can include majority members) and economics (free mobility). Nevertheless, linguistic differentiation is required. There are three ways to proceed: by proportion (%), by numbers or by specific indicators such the presence of a school or a community centre. These may apply to several linguistic variables: mother tongue, knowledge of official languages, language spoken at home (most often or regularly), language used at work (most often or regularly) and first official language spoken (a derived variable). These variables apply to workers and communities but not businesses.

One researcher proposed six criteria to identify ‘minority' businessesFootnote84: (1) the language of the owner or Manager, (2) the language used by staff at work, (3) self-assessment of the company (by the owner or manager), (4) external relations (including membership in Francophone or Anglophone associations), (5) a minimum level of service provided in the minority language and (6) the OLMC in which the company is located. This proposal provides a good starting point, in part because it meets an earlier challengeFootnote85.

Once the conceptualisation is done, we will be able to integrate the various Statistics Canada databases for the purpose of a longitudinal and multivariate analysis to answer key research questions. In addition to the census, we can use data from various surveys, notably on the vitality of the minority official language communities, on active population, on labour and income, as well as longitudinal administrative data, the longitudinal database on immigrants, the business registry, the agricultural census and the farm business registry. One could add databases on vitality, culture and recreation (for example: the volunteer survey), ethnic diversity and immigration (for example: the longitudinal survey of immigrants in Canada), education, training and learning (for example: (the national graduates survey and the international survey of adult literacy and skills) and students and youth surveys (for example: the national longitudinal survey of children and youth and the international PISA surveyFootnote86). However, no database is specifically designed for the study of economic development in OLMCsFootnote87. The census includes several relevant variables, but it focuses on individuals, families and households. Several indicators of community economic development need other sources, but linguistic data are generally non-existent in business surveysFootnote88. Questions on language should be added to such surveys, and databanks should be coupled.

In its second conceptual paperFootnote89, Statistics Canada places questions of this nature at the mezzo level, i.e. at the level of businesses and institutions. What is a minority business? Is it defined according to the language of the owner, the language used by the employees, the language of the services or the location in an OLMC? We could also describe the characteristics of the companies operating in OLMCs. Other questions at this level include: Do federal investments in OLMCs promote entrepreneurship?

Questions can also be raised at the micro (individual) and macro (community) levels but only one issue was identified at the macro level (What is an OLMC?Footnote90) is conceptual. Other issues at the macro level include (1) How can immigration contribute to fill manpower needs in OLMCs?; (2) Do OLMCs take full advantage of the skills of its immigrants?; and (3) In what context and in what OLMCs does economic growth affect linguistic vitality? The report raises five questions at the micro level. First, is the use of the minority language at work concentrated in certain industries? Second, is the level of education correlated to the use of the minority language at work? Third, how do factors such as the field of study, the type of profession and the employment sector affect the economic evolution of linguistic minorities? Fourth, what is the profile and the route taken by immigrants who settled in OLMCs? Finally, how do federal investments in OLMCs lead to skills development and job creation?

Moreover, databases must be able to communicate with each other. We should go beyond the simple accumulation of data on OLMC members and use information dynamically, to understand and explain the phenomena, processes and the various forces in interaction or opposition that animate the OLMCs. We need to integrate different databases and structure them for compatibility and accessibility to facilitate complex analyses. The Business RegistryFootnote91, the Census, the Survey on the vitality of official language minorities, the Survey on labour and income dynamics and the Longitudinal database on immigrants are among the existing databases that should be integrated to allow such analyses. We must therefore develop a global analytic model of OLMCs that is durable, versatile and easily transmissible and can frame an integrated research program founded on useful data.

Research also requires conceptualising community economic development. This includes governance processes, networks, and the linguistic and sociocultural purposes of the economy in OLMCs, as well as the creation of businesses and jobs and the means that can increase both. Social economy targets the equitable distribution of income, social capital, the reduction of povertyFootnote92, inclusion in the work world, the number of families living in affordable housing, the number of children living in families receiving social assistance, employment and training as a source of individual and collective vitality, health and well-being, the sense of community belonging, and civic engagementFootnote93. Jobs, businesses, wealth creation and the production, exchange and consumption of goods and services are also important. Research and interventions on CED/HRD in OLMCs do not have to pick classical economics over the social economy, or vice versa, because both co-exist and are equally important to OLMC leadersFootnote94. There is nevertheless a need to clearly define the concepts for both approaches. Indicators and data sources are particular.

Conceptualisation is critical if we want to know what to measure and why, and, subsequently, what policies and programs would be most effective. It requires an intellectual effort on the part of experienced researchers in OLMC vitality and in community economic development, both with regard to the social economy and classical economic development. This effort must not be limited to researchers; community and government stakeholders can help because they ensure follow-up, both in terms of the financing of research projects and the transfer of knowledge into policies and programs. If well organised, two days of discussions should be sufficient for a dozen researchers from several disciplines, accompanied by a dozen government and community leaders of various levels and regions, to meet the conceptual challenge. Nonetheless, this challenge will never be settled—new knowledge is produced every day—but it is important to decide the issue as soon as possible to make important progress.

Finally, whether we consider economic development as a means to contribute to the well-being of all members of a community, as does the social economy, or to the well-being of the most skilled individuals living in this community, bringing benefits to the other members of the community, as the classic capitalist economy suggests, we should conceptualise the link between economic development and community vitality—in this case, the linguistic vitality of the minority language community. Since the first efforts were made to elaborate a systemic socio-linguistic (or ethno-linguistic) model of minority community vitality, economic variables are part of the pictureFootnote95. However, almost all of the subsequent studies have focused on educational and identity variables while economic variables have been ignored. One can appreciate the value of bilingual commercial signs for the minority identity, but would it not be more important for the OLMCs to have a minority owner and minority employees inside the store? Testing has occurred on the use of the language in the workplace but rarely, if ever, on the creation of businesses, jobs and wealth. Existing models are therefore interesting, but the empirical research that ensued does not help us explain the role of the economy in linguistic vitality.

The efforts of the Commissioner of Official LanguagesFootnote96 to develop a model of vitality of OLMCs include economic factors. The authors present ‘mechanisms' such as diversification of sectors, entrepreneurship, innovation, human resources development and mobilization of financial resources, but also the social economy, cooperativism, community economic development and cultural, political and social factors such as access to appropriate training, control of local information and access to government jobs. However, they do not specify the relationship between these mechanisms nor the relative importance of each.

Respondents' perspective

Several respondents said that this conceptualisation effort is essential. What is measured? In fact, many raised the question of whether past and present efforts are guided by appropriate research. Can government and community organizations justify their investments on the basis of the research? Some think so, but others fear that most stakeholders are not up to date on the most recent research on economic development or know its link with the vitality of the OLMCs. Others believe that such research is not critical because continued community economic development coincides to the boundaries of the OLMCs. However, others note the challenges to economic development that is exclusive to OLMCs.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
What is the relationship between bilingualism and economic development? How do bilingual employees improve business performance? Does the knowledge of French and English provide a comparative advantage to bilingual towns in the creative economy? If so, why? How can the community economic development agencies entice businesses located in the OLMCs to take advantage of the benefits of bilingualism? What are best practices in Canada and elsewhere? What best practices in CED/HRH apply most effectively in OLMCs? Why? What lessons can we apply from the OECD's LEED?
In what context and what type of OLMC economic development affect linguistic vitality? Why? How can the community economic development agencies convince schools and businesses in the OLMCs to leverage their comparative advantages? What are best practices here and elsewhere?
How does one define a minority economy: according to the language of the owner, employees or the host community? Or other factors? What are the characteristics of the businesses and employees who work in the OLMCs? What is the linguistic profile of positions and the employees who occupy them? How can researchers, OLMCs and governments work together to resolve the conceptual issues? On what issues should they collaborate? Can they develop a logical model of economic development and human resources development in the OLMCs?
What is the relationship between the economy and the minority's language and culture in OLMCs? How can OLMCs maximize the cultural sector as an engine of economic development? What are best practices? What are the niches in each OLMCs (ex: cultural tourism)?
What is the return on investment in the language industries? What benefits does the languages industry provide to OLMCs? What companies in the industry of languages provide more benefits to OLMCs and Canada?
What are the best evidence to develop the economy and human resources of OLMCS? Are existing data adequate and sufficient? Should Statistics Canada ask questions about languages in all its economic surveys? Can we integrate all existing data? Which data are a priority? How can we ensure that the data are collected and analyzed regularly and in a collaborative manner? How do we transfer data to practice?

Question for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

Should we develop a long-term research strategy on CED/HRD in OLMCS or is it better to let researchers and stakeholders conduct research as they see fit? Why?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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The knowledge economy

Presentation

Knowledge economy is characterized by accelerated growth of knowledge that is embedded in products and techniques, knowledge whose complexity is now such that their production depends on specialized human resources who must necessarily work in teams and systems to apply this knowledge. Knowledge is part of all economic sectors. It is integrated into the economic activities in a variety of ways. It underlies the division of labour. It is in goods and services, methods and techniques, forms of organization which manage the production steps all along the chain of added value (inside and outside the company) all the way to the market. More than 20 types of actors, grouped in seven categories—workers, businesses, industries, education, research, community and government—participate in the knowledge economy. The majority of innovations and knowledge applicable to the economy occur during daily activities carried out by a large number of workers throughout the chain. Research and development carried out in universities are thus a source of applied knowledge, but not the only one. In fact, several researchers see university R&D as a secondary source of innovation.

The value of knowledge does not only depend on the intensity of knowledge used in the production; the value of knowledge also depends on its rarity: the easier it is to obtain, less it has value and gives a competitive advantages to the company and the region in which it is produced. Certain forms of knowledge are easily codified, such as the information we obtain rapidly from the Internet, but other forms of knowledge are hard to codify, thus hard to exchange. This is the case of tacit knowledge.

Tacit knowledge is a form of knowledge transmitted informally in a community or a company. Looking at it through the lenses of localization economies, the benefits of knowledge stem from the relations between companies (competitors, suppliers, professional services, customers) who share similar expertise and work in similar industries. The localization savings (benefits of proximity) underlie many industrial niches. Urbanization economies are another type of localization economies (or agglomeration economies), but in this case the benefits of knowledge stem from diversity instead of specialization. This is the case with large urban centres, in which density accelerates the speed of interaction (and therefore decreases the cost of interaction) between individuals. Major cities also have a larger workforce and a greater diversity with respect to workers’ skills. In short, economic activities, especially those related to knowledge, agglomerate in part because of the ‘stickiness’ of knowledge, which is in turn related to the fact that it is produced by specialized workers, capital assets, company practices and economic relations that are local.

Research conducted since 2006

Two studies conducted since 2006 by the same author focused on the knowledge economy in a minority environment. The first dealt with the francophone communities of New BrunswickFootnote 97; the second explored the participation of the OLMCs across Canada in the knowledge economyFootnote 98. They raise some important findings. Based on his research, the author claims governments are no more able than entrepreneurs and communities to better guide the development of a knowledge economy. In fact, government actions have prioritized university research and development based on the assumption that this source of knowledge was more productive and profitable than the others. However, academic research, ironically,  shows that university R&D is often too slow and seldom commercial while most of the innovations occur following formal and informal exchanges between companies. As a result, the first waves of investment brought few returns. The second generation of investments, based on research, is more promising.

According to his analysis of previous research, especially those produced by the OECD, the challenge for OLMCs is to recognize the specificity of the modern industrial processes, to identify the opportunities that they offer OLMCs, and focus on innovations that will improve their competitive advantages. We ought not abandon our entrepreneurs and our existing industries with new sectors whose needs are not met by the OLMCs’ assets. On the contrary, since all economic sectors need to increase productivity and improve products, it is important to appreciate the competitive advantages that local entrepreneurs try to achieve in order to maximize the opportunities of new forms of knowledgeFootnote 99. Thus, a strategy for the knowledge economy should not devote too many resources to raiding and attracting businesses that may locate anywhere; it would be wiser to assess and identify the competitive advantages of the region and the forms of knowledge and know-how that are unique to each one. The strategy should also aim to maximize the returns of its local knowledge and expertise by increasing productivity in local businesses.

Respondents’ perspective

Several respondents noted the importance of the knowledge economy in OLMCs. However, knowledge economy is not defined the same way – for most of them, it is ICT producing companies, but for others, it is products or services marketed on the Web. There is some difficulty in identifying research to enable the OLMCs to take advantage of the knowledge economy. However, the majority agrees that OLMC companies must innovate, regardless if innovations are part of the knowledge economy or not.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental research Applied research
What is the importance of innovation and a culture of continuous learning? Is this the case in the OLMCs? What is the role of the school, development agencies, employees and businesses in the implementation of these means? What industries and what existing sectors in OLMCs are better investment risks with respect to innovation and the knowledge economy? What are the most promising niches in each OLMC? Why? How can we encourage OLMCs to launch or accelerate the transition to the knowledge economy?
What is the role of postsecondary minority institutions in the minority knowledge economy? What structural impediments, if any, prevent them from collaborating with minority entrepreneurs? What are the most compelling ways to integrate the culture of continuous learning and innovation? To promote the five dimensions of the knowledge economy (skills, technologies, technology, innovation, collaboration)?
What OLMCs are best able to become learning communities? What OLMC businesses could most easily take advantage of innovations? Why? What are the best practices in innovation? How can OLMCs apply these best practices?

Question for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

What role, if any, can non-economic community partners (for example: schools, volunteer groups) play in the development of the knowledge economy in OLMCs?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Mobility (immigration and migration)

Presentation

A low birth rate and an aging population bode poorly for Canada. The impact of these demographic challenges in OLMCs is more critical because they reduce their political weight. Indeed, minority language schools—cornerstone of their vitality—and the delivery of federal services in the minority language are established ‘where numbers warrant’. Immigration is therefore an effective solution to these demographic challenges (while providing benefits of creativity through different perceptions and inherent cultural differences). However, if the arrival of immigrants in Quebec have increased the Anglophone population, low francophone immigration outside Quebec fails to maintain their demographic importance. Many francophone communities have launched efforts to recruit and retain francophone immigrants.

Many of these communities are also faced with the migration of several members to large urban centres. The exodus of young people is the most critical phenomenon. Urbanization poses a dilemma for OLMCs: urbanization explains most of the constant increase in revenues among the OLMC members, but it also contributes to assimilation. However, recent research indicates that the minority members who migrated to urban centres were more likely to use the minority language in the home than the minority members who remained in the OLMCs.

OLMC members have lived in the urban centres for many years. We do not claim that OLMCs are all homogeneous and rural communities as folklore suggests. Urban migration is more than a century old. In some cases—for example: Saint Boniface in Winnipeg, Maillardville in Coquitlam and Westmount on the island of Montreal—the minority has long been part of an urban landscape that grew around them. In other cases, the minority are recent additions to the urban centres. It is this recent urbanization (since the 1970s) that causes current challenges. It is important because OLMCs no longer have a high fertility rate.

Research conducted since 2006

Since 2006, OLMCs, notably some in Eastern Ontario, prepared a profile of immigration from the 2006 Census dataFootnote 100. The assessment is discouraging: English-speaking immigrants are proportionally more numerous than French-speaking immigrants; therefore, Francophones’ proportional demographic weight decreases progressivelyFootnote 101. The report also presented challenges related to the integration of French-speaking immigrants and measures to improve their recruitment and retention in Francophone OLMCs.

Other research focused on minority language foreign students, a potential source of new Francophones. In 2010, more than 215,000 foreigners were pursuing post-secondary studies in Canada, twice as many as in 2000Footnote 102. They inject 7$ billion into the economy in tuition fees, accommodation and discretionary expenses. Most of them would like to work in Canada after graduationFootnote 103; two-thirds of the students surveyed in Atlantic Canada would like to work in Canada after completing their studiesFootnote 104.

We do not know the exact number of foreign students in French language postsecondary institutions, but we know that, in 2009, nearly 9,000 students came from countries where French is an official language: 5,300 students came from France, 881 from Morocco, 656 from Tunisia, more than 300 from Switzerland, Egypt and Senegal, and more than 100 from Lebanon, Belgium, Haiti, Cameroon, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Mali and Burkina Faso. We do not know where they are studying, but it is logical to assume that the majority studies in Quebec. We can infer that 3,000 francophone foreign students study and live in Francophone OLMCs, and that the majority of them will soon establish permanent residence in Canada.

We also know that several French-speaking immigrants face significant socio-economic challenges. Many do not have essential or general skills; others have a low level of literacy, which complicates their quest for jobs. About 80% of new immigrants have a mother tongue other than French and EnglishFootnote 105. Other French-speaking immigrants face a hierarchy of statuses based on origin and the resulting tensions based on historical conflicts between the two 'founding peoples'Footnote 106.

We also know that despite government and community efforts in regard to immigration, there is no overall strategy for the economic integration of French-speaking immigrants in a minority environment, nor specific programmes for the economic integration of immigrantsFootnote 107. It was also observed that services specifically intended for immigrants are located mostly at the beginning of the continuum of needs, e.g. information, training and support. There is also a difference between regions. In the areas that attract a lot of immigrants, emphasis is placed on assistance to established immigrants to help them participate in economic life. Other areas focus on the recruitment of immigrants for economic growth. We also know that entrepreneurship-related services exist, but they are not specifically designed for immigrants. Finally, we know that there is a clear division of roles between the various stakeholders.

The report presents seven best practices to improve the effectiveness of government and community efforts in immigration and five suggestions. First, it suggests a comprehensive approach adapted to each province or territory and an increased role for local immigration service providers. Second, support for employment and entrepreneurship tailored to immigrants. Third, raise the awareness of employers. We must also understand the dynamics of the labour market and the effect on French-speaking immigrants. Finally, evaluate the youth entrepreneurship program. Each of these suggestions requires research.

Another study on immigration in OLMCs offers three delivery models for the allocation of support services for new families in OLMCs to help them find lucrative employment and integrate and adapt to life in CanadaFootnote 108. First, assess the support services offered by post-secondary institutions and survey these institutions and their students to identify best practices for wider application. Second, analyze the implementation of existing programs in literacy and essential skills for minority language immigrants to adapt them or use them elsewhere. Finally, conduct a research project on awareness and the capacity of local employers to recruit, assess and retain internationally trained skilled immigrants.

Finally, a study on Anglophone immigrants and visible minorities in Quebec concludes that the lack of ability in French, in particular, is the main obstacle to employment equalityFootnote 109. The author recommends research to assess the effectiveness of funding organisations in meeting this need. It also recommends training programmes for immigrants and visible minorities to develop a business network, take advantage of mentoring and learn about microcredit and community and governmental sources of funding available.

In addition to the challenges of immigration, Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec face the challenges of migration, including the search for employment in other provinces, and the rural exodus, especially of the younger members of these communities. Mobility is something very common in Canada and it provides some advantages to the regions of origin, including the importation of new ideas and capital upon returning, but it seems to bring more challenges to OLMCs. Demographic losses can cause school closures and increased business costs to retain workers through higher salaries. Also, the devaluation of properties reduces the ability of OLMC municipalities to provide local services, including recreational and cultural programming that can contribute to the vitality of the minority language.

Several studies were conducted since 2006 on migration in OLMCs. Some concern all OLMCsFootnote 110. Others focus on particular provinces or territoriesFootnote 111, including QuebecFootnote 112. Some research focuses on the migration of Francophone youth in British ColombiaFootnote 113, YukonFootnote 114 and rural areasFootnote 115. Others compare the migration of French-speaking and English-speaking minoritiesFootnote 116. Another focuses on social networks and ethnolinguistic vitalityFootnote 117.

Several findings emerge from this research. First, migration is something common in Canada and is not a recent phenomenon in the OLMCs. However, contrary to past migrations, the most recent migrations provide significant challenges to OLMCs that can no longer be compensated by a high birth rate. Thus, the exodus of young people could hurt even more in the long run. Furthermore inter- and intraprovincial migration varies slightly between the minority and majority depending on the province or territory. Finally migration provides benefits, such as a higher revenue and greater use of the minority language at home.

New Brunswick offers a good example. Migration from the North to regions with a strong Anglophone majority—Saint John, Fredericton, as well as the Moncton area—pose serious challenges to the Francophone communities of the Acadian peninsula, the Restigouche and Madawaska, but it leads to a higher average income and a more frequent use of French in the home (compared to those who remained in their community of origin)Footnote 118.  However, Francophone communities lost 2,075 members between 2001 and 2006, or a little less than 1% of the 230 000 Francophones in the province. Worse, 3,470 young Francophones left the province between 2001 and 2006.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Francophonie lost 620 members between 2001 and 2006, or one third of its membersFootnote 119. The francophone population is strongly affected by migration. However, provinces of origin and destination appear to be the same, suggesting that part of the migrants return to their home provinceFootnote 120. Nevertheless, the loss of 620 members between 2001 and 2006, coupled with the loss of 310 Francophones between 1996 and 2001, shows a worrisome situationFootnote 121.

Respondents’ perspectives

Respondents are well aware of the challenges posed by migration, particularly that of young people, to the survival and vitality of the OLMCs, but few respondents raised the issue of immigration. With regard to the exodus of young people, many do not know the answer to the basic question—Why do young people leave rural areas?—but they admit that research is needed to answer the question. Research is also required to answer other basic questions, such as: How can OLMCs bring back their youth? Some believe that this exodus is ‘normal’ and that the return of young people after studies or a few years in the city will enrich the community of origin, but most think that this youth, once gone, may not return and, therefore, that rural areas will suffer a permanent loss. Arguing that youth will remain if jobs are available, they want research that helps young people find jobs.

Some believe that francophone foreign students could be an important source of new French-speaking members, and most wanted research to recruit and maintain them in OLMCs. Some participants raised the challenges for the integration of the immigrant labour force, including the lack of recognition of foreign credentials, and wish to know how to address this critical challenge. A few respondents also wished to know what interventions would be best suited to meet the challenges of the immigrants, such as literacy in French. Specifically, are the challenges faced by immigrants similar to those of OLMC Francophones so that we should maintain existing programs, or should we develop specific programmes for French-speaking immigrants?

Questions

Questions
Fundamental research Applied research
How can immigration contribute to fill manpower needs in OLMCs?  How can employers contribute to the integration of immigrants in the labour force in OLMCs? Do the immigrants who settled in the OLMCs use their skills? What is the profile of these immigrants? What support for entrepreneurship and employment would allow immigrants to successfully integrate the labour force in OLMCs? What essential skills do they need?
What is the economic impact of immigrants of minority language in OLMCs? In addition to increasing population, do they increase the supply of skilled labour and the diversity and innovation linked to the knowledge economy? How? What are best practices for OLMCs to better recruit and retain minority immigrants? Must they target the post-secondary students? What are their needs? What are the best ways to meet these needs? What services do post-secondary institutions provide? Are they effective?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the exodus of young people? For what reasons they can move in urban centres? Do they want to return? What strategies would best keep the young in the OLMCs? Do young people wish to become entrepreneurs? If so, why? Otherwise, why not?
What OLMC businesses need a succession plan? What is the profile of these OLMC businesses? What youth and immigrants in OLMCs would be most able and interested to take over an established business? How can OLMCs and governments ensure the transition?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

What are the economic challenges and opportunities for OLMCs created by the aging population, the youth exodus, the intra- and inter-provincial migration and immigration?

Are these challenges and opportunities particular to OLMCs?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Natural resources and rural areas

Presentation

The scarcity of immigrants and the exodus of young (and not so young) is most likely explained by a lack of jobs in rural areas. This phenomenon is not unique to OLMCs; it is observed everywhere in Canada. Regions that are heavily dependent on an economy based on natural resources—forests, fisheries, agriculture, mines—are faced with a decade-old downward trend on international markets. Resource-based sectors are in crisis throughout the country. Only agricultural areas based on a quota market—milk, eggs, grain—fared well. The economy in many OLMCs is in decline. The young and the not so young leave to earn a living. How do OLMCs reverse the tide and transform their local economy?

Research conducted since 2006

Previous researchFootnote 123 had raised a number of questions on the development of natural resources in rural OLMCs. Since 2006, several action-research projects were conducted related to this issue, most notably in the agricultural sector. For example, an action-research suggests the development of agriculture as a cornerstone of Francophone economic development in the Prescott-Russell areaFootnote 124. The study identified the labour needs required to achieve this objective, and it proposed an action plan to meet the challenges. For example, to eliminate the dispersal of information and to provide the tools for starting a business, training should be provided to interested producers. And to compensate for the small size of the agri-food companies in the region, an association of small and medium-sized enterprises should be formed.Footnote 125

This approach is appropriate according to the research on the development of natural resources in rural areas, particularly in regards to the spatial variation in human capital and its impact on economic development as well as in regards to the innovative capacity of communities. According to that research, growth occurs as a result of endogenous incentives to invest in human capital and technology. In rural areas, however, the economy does not provide such incentives to individuals, businesses or communities, due to lower yields on investments. Thus, even in rural areas, place matters in the new knowledge economy, but the low critical mass and the distance from markets presents additional challenges.

As argued earlier, the innovation process includes sectoral and spatial dimensions. Spatial patterns of innovation differ systematically between industries, largely due to the variation of the technological intensity. One can link these differences in part to industries’ life cycle. However, some regions have developed specific ways to produce and share innovation. This notion is at the heart of the concept of regional innovation system. Proximity, networks and institutions are its main components.

We also saw that the locality-specific attributes of human capital constitute an important element in the innovation process. This is particularly true with respect to tacit knowledge in the innovation process. According to research, remote rural areas may face special problems when they try to increase their level of human capital and support innovation in communities. These problems are related to the nature of the interactions and incentives facing these communities. The lack of incentives to invest in education (both from the individual and community points of view), combined with the mobility of highly skilled workers, complicates in a significant way the enhancement of human capital in these localities. Decisions taken by individuals and companies on investments in human capital or the adoption of new technology affect the decisions of the other actors in the community through economic interactions (behaviour patterns, lower adoption costs, etc.). At the same time, the low density of economic activities and the lack of facilities in rural areas can reduce opportunities for interactions between the economic actors (networking and other effects) that support innovation. Finally, the lack of human capital has an impact on the ability to access technology and public programs, which may increase the vulnerability of small communities. The initial disadvantaged state of a rural community can cause a spatial poverty trap, i.e. perpetual disadvantages.

According to the author, relatively little research has been conducted on the process of innovation in small communities and non-metropolitan areas. We share this conclusion.

Respondents' perspective

Several respondents mentioned the economic crisis in natural resources in many OLMCs. Some want to know how to add value to natural resources in these OLMCs. For example, many suggested feasibility studies to transform natural resources into finished, value-added products: wood furniture, complete meals from fish (tv dinners), etc. Others suggested studies to help overhaul the economy of these regions. It is believed that training will allow workers to become entrepreneurs.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
Do rural OLMCs have different economic challenges than urban OLMCs? Do rural OLMCs have different economic challenges than the neighbouring majority rural communities? If so, what differences? How can we address these rural challenges? What international best practices of rural communities having met these challenges?
What are the barriers in the OLMCs to innovation and adding value to natural products? What are the root causes? How can we increase and improve innovation and the value added in the sectors related to the transformation of natural resources in rural OLMCs?
What are the main challenges to OLMCs posed by the globalization of markets for natural resources (forests, mines, fisheries, agriculture)? Are there more vulnerable or promising sectors than others? If so, which sectors? Why? How can OLMCs meet these globalization challenges? Is the creation of niches an appropriate strategy? Are incubators appropriate in each case? If so, how can OLMCs establish incubators effectively?
What are the various cooperative models? How can cooperatives help overcome some of the OLMCs’ limited critical mass? What economic sectors and what OLMCs are most able to develop their economy with the use of cooperatives? Why? How?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

Should we give priority to generic research (for example: community profiles) or research that is tailored to specific OLMCs (for example: the creation of small and medium Anglophone businesses seeking to add value to the fishing industry on the North Shore)?


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Literacy and postsecondary and continuous education

Presentation

Literacy and essential skills challengesFootnote 126 appear in several research on CED/HRD in OLMCs. These challenges, resulting in part from the absence of French language schools in several OLMCs prior to the adoption of Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 and the jurisprudence that gave it life afterwards, are especially important in the more mature age groups. This explains in part the lower incomes and the higher rates of unemployment among the minority. Illiteracy affects the integration of immigrants and intra- and inter-provincial mobility of OLMC members. Moreover, in a knowledge economy, literacy—learning, the ability to write, behavior in regards to literacy, and cultural practices associated to literacy—becomes essential to the CED/HRD in OLMCs and to the individual and collective vitality. However, research indicates that 56% of the Francophone population has difficulty understanding what it reads compared to 39% of the Anglophone populationFootnote 127.

Research conducted since 2006

According to research conducted for the Fédération canadienne pour l’alphabétisation en françaisFootnote 128 and based on an analysis of socio-economic data in OLMCs, it would be important to determine the sectors of employment most appropriate for less literate members. It would be relevant to identify the professions and trades most important to OLMCs, the specific sectors in which trades and professions may be more accessible to low literate adults and in which it is possible to develop programmes for professional integration, and those that can easily combine literacy and specialized vocational or technical training. In addition, based on community needs, one should determine the expanding sectors with specific workforce needs, all the while identifying jobs requiring skills that can be easily acquired. Research suggests that many sectors make this endeavour possible: food (for example: cooks), sale (for example: clerks), construction and manufacturing (for example: welders), agricultural (for example: horticultural technicians), childhood (for example: teacher's aids), health (for example: health services officers) and administrative/commercial (for example: office clerks).

The research also raised the importance of analyzing the cultural context. It stated that less literate people find it more difficult to deal with the mutations in the new economy where new jobs require higher levels of literacy. Minority Francophones, because of their history of low literacy levels, are doubly disadvantaged in this new economy.  On the one hand, historically, they had less access to schoolsFootnote 129. On the other hand, they must live and communicate in a context where their language and their culture are scarcely present, or of little valueFootnote 130. Thus, despite progress in education and economic development, more needs to be done. However, these challenges are more serious in the older age brackets.

A research on postsecondary aspirations of young Francophones in a minority settingFootnote 131 attracted our attention. A survey of 2,400 Franco-Ontarian students in their 12th year shows that the regional economic situation has a considerable impact on the confidence and the probability of finding work in this area, and this confidence and this probability largely determine the youth’s intent of pursuing a career in the region after their post-secondary education. It also offers several interesting findings. The vast majority of the students intend to pursue post-secondary education. Most plan to attend university, but a good proportion is bound for colleges. Girls are more likely than boys to pursue such studies. These students are motivated primarily by personal goals, career, and economic status. Barely half of the students prefer post-secondary training in French; according to the authors, students prefer English studies because they have lower averages in French, live far from a French-language post-secondary institution, and have few scholarships to study in French. Finally, although more than half of the students are very confident to find work in their region of origin, barely a third of them have a strong intention to live and work in their region. This is not a good sign.

Finally, some studies focused on continued training. A study focused on the meshing between labour, career aspirations and college training in Acadian communities in Nova ScotiaFootnote 132. Others determined the current and future needs of the labour markets in ChéticampFootnote 133, Isle MadameFootnote 134, ArgyleFootnote 135 and ClareFootnote 136, in Nova Scotia.

Respondents' perspective

Few respondents suggested research on literacy. Do they agree on the importance of literacy and essential skills for individual growth, local business productivity and economic development in OLMCs? We hope so. The few people who suggested such research are however divided as to the research to be done. Some believe best practices should be identified that will allow improvements to worker productivity and company productivity, which would lead to further actions by unions and entrepreneurs, but others want to determine the causes of illiteracy in the OLMCs to propose more societal solutions.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental research Applied research
What are the gaps or needs in each OLMC in regards to essential skills?Footnote 137 Are there gaps or needs that are particular to OLMCs or are they shared by the majority community? Do the gaps and needs disappear over time (with age groups)? What are best practices for the acquisition of essential skills in minority communities? How can the OLMCs ensure the acquisition of these critical skills?
What is the importance of literacy and essential skills in each economic sector? What would be the value of literacy and these essentials to existing businesses? How can individuals, businesses, community agencies and government institutions work together to improve continuing training in OLMCs? What are national and international best practices in this regard?
What are the current and future labour market needs in OLMCs in regards to existing and targeted niches and existing OLMC human capital? What sectors of employment available in each of the OLMCs are most appropriate for less literate learners?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

What importance should OLMCs give to raising literacy levels as part of CED/HRD?

Is it best to focus on eradicating illiteracy or raising literacy levels and other essential skills in general?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Minority institutional completeness in economic development

Presentation

The role of minority institutions in economic matters is one of the objectives put forth by the Royal Commission as follows: provide both linguistic societies with economic self-determination. According to this objective, OLMCs should have institutions in economic matters. There are a variety of minority institutions across the country, including caisses populaires, co-operatives and chambers of commerceFootnote138. In several regions, the OLMC represents the majority of the population, which gives it access to the decision-making levers of regional economic development agencies and to their financial and human resources. The RDÉEs and the CEDECs complete the picture.

Research conducted since 2006

One research focused on the added value of minority economic institutionsFootnote139. The assessment is positive, but it identified several challenges. These do not directly relate to institutional completeness as conceived by sociological or political theory, but the challenges affect the interventions on the ground by OLMC agencies and government institutions.

Several studies focused on RDÉE-Canada and its provincial and territorial partners. One author studied the organisation according to the role of social capital in community empowerment in regards to two government programs that support the Francophone minority communitiesFootnote140. According to him, it is a question of economic nationalism, paraphrasing the objective formulated in 1981 by the Fédération des Francophones hors-Québec (FCFA)Footnote141: the reappropriation of our collective development. Based on this framework, he argues that the minority knows better than anyone the answer to the basic question: How is it possible to do business in an Anglophone majority economy while preserving the francophone language and culture?Footnote142 CED assumes a community’s democratic support for its own developmentFootnote143.

The author questions the role of the RDÉE. Among other things, if the socio-economic actors involved in the initiative of the RDÉE rely on 'added value' of Francophone OLMCs in an attempt to show that it is 'cost-effective' to invest in the economic development of the francophone minority communities, it can be difficult to demonstrate profitability if the Francophone OLMCs’ economy does not perform adequatelyFootnote144.

Other researchers question the principles supporting the RDÉE (and, by extension, the CEDEC)Footnote145. First, the RDÉE seems more concerned by its political function (Canadian unity) than its economic function (reduce economic disparities of OLMCs)Footnote146. The authors doubt that the RDÉE understands the needs and realities of OLMCs it serves. Second, there is no empirical reason justifying the choice of the four priority areas—tourism, rural development, the knowledge economy and youth—or to justify why these four areas are priority in all the OLMCs. In addition, they do not see how these areas will contribute to the competitiveness and economic growth of OLMCs. Finally, since the four sectors are not complementary, they can not easily benefit from economies of scale, of agglomeration and of proximity. According to them, RDÉE policies have followed a 'one-size-fits-all' approach to public intervention. A more targeted approach based on a rigorous analysis of regional dynamics and economic and entrepreneurial processes specific to each Francophone minority community would have been more appropriate. According to them, the RDÉE added a level of bureaucracy which needlessly duplicates efforts.

Previous research had found that duplications were minor and that the RDÉE were a necessary intermediaryFootnote147. Despite some confusion in roles at the beginning, the Atlantic Canada RDÉEs had carved a strategic niche to complement and amplify the contribution of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to the Acadian and Francophone communities. According to another researchFootnote148, the RDÉEs play an important role in economic planning for the Western Canadian Francophone communities and in the implementation of community projects. The role and impact of the RDÉEs thus remain uncertain.

Other research focused on the role of cooperatives in the CED/HRD in OLMCs. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Secretariat for Rural Affairs and Cooperatives, in collaboration with the Canadian co-operative Association and the Canadian Council of Cooperation and Mutuality, has developed a research program on co-operatives to determine research priorities, to study current knowledge gaps and to bring together Anglophone and Francophone stakeholders interested in this subjectFootnote149. Through a pan-Canadian survey, 70 researchers and industry representatives were invited to enumerate recent and important studies on cooperatives and to identify the main priorities for future research on this subject. The 130 research projects conducted between 2004 and 2009 focused on six themes: governance and management, models of cooperative, cooperative development, types of specific cooperatives, the social economy and the economy. These themes are similar to those identified in 2004Footnote150. Within these themes there is some research that is relevant to CED/HRD in OLMCS. Some want to establish the theoretical basis of the cooperative movement, including its role in the social economy and society in a minority setting. Others proposed to assess the impact of cooperatives and their strength in times of economic crisis. They also want to measure the contribution of cooperatives in CED.

The research report also raises several challenges associated to research on co-operatives, such as the fragmentation of research, the lack of funding and access to data, and the gap between the research conducted by Francophones and Anglophones and between the research conducted by the community and universities. It suggests measuring the positive effects of the cooperative communities—which, in our view, may bias the research—and ensuring the dissemination and accessibility of the data collected.

Respondents' perspective

Several respondents suggested measuring the impact of the RDÉEs and CEDECs, while others questioned the choice of the four priority sectors, the wisdom of having the same priorities in all provinces and territories, the limits of the Enabling Fund and, in some provinces, the potential duplication between the RDÉE and other OLMC economic development agencies. No one is suggesting to eliminate the RDÉEs, but many want to know how the OLMCs can best manage their CED/HRD and how government institutions can contribute to this. Many also want to know if government policies meet the needs of OLMCs and if the respective development plans are integratedFootnote151. For example, is the recruitment of immigrants in OLMCsFootnote152 compatible with the efforts of federal and provincial institutions? Some suggest listing the various economic institutions in the OLMCs and determining which ones are effective and why. It is also suggested to assess the training of the volunteers who manage minority institutions. Also, the various assessments conducted on the Enabling Fund, RDÉEs and the national CED/HRD committeesFootnote153 should lead to a systematic evaluation, including a study of the impact of community and government institutions in OLMCsFootnote154 according to existing models and based on previous studies on governanceFootnote155.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
What are the areas best able to contribute to the economic development of OLMCs? Is it tourism, youth, the knowledge economy and rural development? Are these the priority in all OLMCs? Why? What are the performance indicators? What sectors provide more jobs than others? The most full-time jobs? The more income? Generate more profit? Are better able to contribute to the linguistic vitality of OLMCs?
What community and government institutions are best able to ensure the economic development and the vitality of the OLMCs? Do the RDÉE and the CEDEC represent the best model or are there other models elsewhere (for example: Udaras na Gaeltacht, agency of Irish economic development in the Irish regions) that would be relevant in the OLMCs? What economic institutions exist in OLMCs? Which are effective and why? What is the impact of the RDÉE and CEDEC, the choice of priority sectors, and the wisdom of having the same priorities in all provinces and territories? What are the limits of the Enabling Fund? Is there in some provinces or territories duplication between the RDÉE and other economic development organizations? What are the training needs of volunteers governing OLMC economic agencies? How do we meet the needs?
Do OLMCs have CED/HRD needs that are not met by government programs? If so, which needs? For example, is access to capital limited in OLMCs? Why do they exist? How can we eliminate these gaps? Are the various development plans integrated?Footnote156 For example, is the recruitment of immigrants in OLMCsFootnote157 compatible with the efforts of federal and provincial institutions?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

Do OLMCs need their own institutions to enhance their CED/HRD? If so, what institutions?

How do we ensure OLMC and government institutions collaborate most effectively?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Positive measures in economic development and human resources development

Presentation

In November 2005, the Parliament of Canada modified the Official Languages Act to make federal institutions take positive measures in favour of OLMCs and to consult with them in their decision-making with regard to policies and programs that have an impact on these OLMCs. DEC/HRD in OLMCs is one of the sectors worthy of positive measures. What positive measures did federal institutions take and can they take in favour of OLMCs?

Research conducted since 2006

The six regional development agenciesFootnote 158 and Industry Canada, thanks to six programs with an identifiable impact on OLMCsFootnote 159, spent between 2006-2007 and 2009-2010, approximately 400 million dollars in OLMCs – money overall proportional to the demographic weight of these communitiesFootnote 160. The consultant did not say if a proportional investment is a positive measure or not. He added that some OLMCs have received less investment than their demographic weight from some agencies and programs. Investments in francophone communities declined in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 before returning to their demographic weight in 2009-2010 while the amounts invested in the Anglophone communities in Quebec remained stable from 2006-2007 to 2009-2010. Moreover, it is not possible to identify all the grants and contributions to OLMC organisations or in regions where OLMC members live for each programme and agency, because the administrative databases rarely identify the beneficiaries on the basis of membership in the linguistic communityFootnote 161.  The analysis is thus limited.

Research conducted from a literature review, interviews and case studies, concludes that the location of federal institutions and their material and human resources can be a positive measure for OLMCsFootnote 162. Such localisation efforts could contribute to the development of the OLMCs and improve the provision of bilingual services and the opportunities for federal civil servants to work in their official languageFootnote 163.

The economic value of federal jobs in rural and remote areas is greater than that of federal jobs in the national capitalFootnote 164. In general, federal jobs are very sought after in the peripheral regions because they are seen as both stable and well-paid jobs. These jobs give rise to additional, indirect jobs, contributes to local volunteerism, increases school enrolments, improves the real estate market, and increases the municipal tax base and local pride. The introduction of bilingual jobs can also contribute to the vitality of the local minority community. It also helps to improve the bilingual services in the host OLMC.

Localisation can be a double-edged sword for OLMCs. It provides a plus to the new OLMC host but a loss for the former OLMC host. This was the case when Fisheries and Oceans moved an office from Shippagan to Shediac, New Brunswick. Should localisation promote more vulnerable OLMCs or the most affluent ones?Footnote 165  Ideally, there would be new offices, but governments have stagnated in the last decade.

The report suggests a detailed study to determine on the one hand the federal services that can easily be delocalised and on the other, the OLMCs that can accommodate these services. In the first case, it suggests that fairly autonomous institutions or those engaged in a specialized area be targeted, in order to avoid harming interactions with departments or partner organisations present in the capital, and those that have little interaction with headquarters, rarely develop public policies and have employees who have professional and demographic characteristics most appropriate to OLMC needs. In the second case, it suggests promoting the OLMCs that would gain more economically from relocations and would benefit more synergies with the local economy, that have adequate workforce and office space, that provide good transportation options with the capital, and that offer amenities required by delocalised civil servants (for example: a minority language school).

Respondents' perspective

Some respondents raised the issue of positive measures and most welcome the efforts made since 2005, but few asked the basic question: Do the positive measures taken by federal institutions working in economic development meet the needs of OLMCs? Nevertheless, they raised a variety of questions, which we reproduce in the next table.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
What was the economic impact on OLMCs of policies and programs implemented since 1969? What was the economic impact of the positive measures taken since November 2005? Are HRSDC’s Empowerment Fund, the "filter" developed by Industry CanadaFootnote 166 and Treasury Board GuideFootnote 167 the most effective positive measures? What are the best practices?
What are the opportunity costs of federal interventions? Without these interventions (for example: HRSDC’s Enabling Fund, Industry Canada’s Francommunautés virtuelles), would OLMCs have had more or less development? Why? What evaluations have been conducted on international efforts on DEC/HRD in OLMCs? What are the differences and similarities with Canada’s OLMCs? What lessons can we draw from these experiences?
What are the advantages, disadvantages and costs of delocalising federal offices and jobs in OLMCs? What institutions are most appropriate to delocalisation? What OLMCs are most appropriate for delocalisation?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

How can OLMCs and federal institutions determine the most effective positive measures in regards to OLMC CED/HRD and OLMC sociolinguistic vitality?

What does this mean in terms of research priorities?


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Research Infrastructure

Presentation

How can we facilitate research in CED/HRD in OLMCs? Even if we simplified the task by clarifying the concepts and developing a programme of fundamental and applied research, research will not conduct itself. Research is part of the knowledge economy. Financial incentives are thus necessary to motivate researchers. This may take the form of grants, contracts or research chairs. However, money is not enough. In fact, many researchers will refuse to conduct research on OLMCs even if money was awarded. Just as in any other sector of the knowledge economy, researchers perform better if they have an intrinsic motivation. Nevertheless, funds are always an important incentive.

Research conducted since 2006

A surveyFootnote 168 conducted since 2006 identifies challenges and offers possible solutions. There are three reasons why some researchers do not conduct research on OLMCs: 55% say the subject is not in their field of inquiry; 21% say they have no experience in this field; 9% claim lack of interest. Two key means could motivate them to change their mind: more funds and funding opportunities and the valuation and recognition of research on OLMCs. The authors of the survey suggest several strategies, including:

  • create and coordinate a network of researchers and research teams
  • implement means to disseminate the research
  • agree on the relevant sectors and strategies based on their contribution to OLMC vitality
  • foster cooperation between stakeholders involved in research on OLMCs
  • develop synergies and organize and coordinate research and dissemination efforts in academia and government and community circles
  • establish a proper balance between basic research and applied research
  • optimize the contribution of Statistics Canada in the collection, analysis and dissemination of data
  • promote comparative international and interprovincial research, including Québec
  • stimulate or reinforce the development of partnerships with interested research institutes
  • share research results on OLMCs between Canada and other countries
  • create stable funding programs dedicated to OLMCs within the major research councils
  • increase funding to Statistics Canada to establish valid samples of the OLMCs
  • ensure that the Action plan and programs on official languages incorporate research more systematically

The initial report of the Commissioner of Official Languages on the vitality of the OLMCs also provides an interesting contribution. It proposed the following strategies (we slightly adapted them for our purposes) in a matrix on the linguistic vitality of OLMCsFootnote 169:

  • establish a budget and a plan of strategic research on economic development in the OLMCs;
  • Develop research projects and large-scale action-research on OLMC CED/HRD of the CURA type;
  • Evaluate the performance of the CED/HRD initiatives in OLMCs;
  • Collect all the pertinent data relating to OLMCs in the economic field, disseminate the results, and repeat regularly;
  • Build capacity for research and analysis of economic data in the federal, provincial and OLMC institutions;
  • Establish a Research Chair on economic development in minority communities;
  • Ensure access to and transfer of knowledge with a web site and other popular public media;
  • Establish mechanisms for planning, coordination and shared governance (researchers, OLMCs, governments) of research on CED/HRD in OLMCs;
  • Ensure that government policies take into account knowledge about the vitality of the OLMCs and the contribution that economic development and human resources development bring to OLMCs;
  • Ensure adequate and equitable funding for the research needs of OLMCs, through the major research councils, research chairs and the road map initiatives.

Respondents' perspective

This theme is one of the most popular, yet few respondents are researchers. The joint elaboration of research projects, the sharing of data and the transfer of knowledge in evidence-based interventions is a priority. Most of the respondents said that there has been considerable research on CED/HRD in OLMCs, but most add that a lot is missing, that there are no research priorities, and that too much research is conducted in silos, which leads to duplications and confusion on the ground when similar results lead to different interventions. Many suggest a bridge between academic research and the ‘how-to’ studies performed by consultants. Action-research seems to be an effective means to this end. According to them, the two types of research are useful, but there is a lack of opportunities or capacity to combine the two types of knowledge. Also, the OLMCs have limited capacity for research and data analysis.

The respondents identified a few challenges. There is a lack of fund for research in periods of budget restraints. Actors work in silos. Case studies conducted produce anecdotal evidence rather than a coherent and in-depth picture. It is difficult to transfer the knowledge gained and use them for policies. Data are not always accessible on time or presented in lay terms. Almost all respondents request a long term joint research programme that produces useful data.

Questions

Questions
Fundamental Research Applied Research
What factors prevent or facilitate the transfer of knowledge between academia, community and government? Are these factors the same in OLMCs? How can we optimize the contribution of Statistics Canada in the collection, analysis and dissemination of OLMC data? Would it be through a particular fund or dedicated departmental funds? Should we establish a research centre dedicated to OLMCs?
What models allow to structure the research in CED/HRD? Does the health sector, with its ample evidence-based researchFootnote 170, offer a good example? What financial incentives will be most effective to entice researchers to focus on CED/HRD in OLMCs? What other incentives are required? Would a dedicated fund within the major research councils and/or a research chair on CED/HRD in OLMCS be effective?
What international minority communities are relevant for the purposes of comparison (for example, the Gaeltacht in Ireland, the German minority in Bolzano)?Footnote 171  Why are these most relevant? How can we promote interprovincial and international comparative studies? Should we encourage collaboration between research institutes or between researchers? Is it through applied research and action-research? Is it through a joint research program?

Questions for discussion at the workshop and Symposium 2011:

How can we better integrate and share the fundamental and applied research in CED/HRD within OLMCs conducted by the various community, governmental and university partners?


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Workshop Results

The August 30 workshop gathered 63 participants from OLMCs, the federal government and academia. For four hours, they fielded the questions found in this document. Following some initial presentations, they split into ten tables. Each table tackled one question in depth for 45 minutes and, after a break, tackled a second question for 45 minutes. Afterwards, they identified key challenges, as well as potential solutions for presentation during the next day’s Symposium.

Theme 1) Socio-economic differences between the minority and the majority

The needs are different in OLMCs in Western Canada, Ontario, Québec, the North and Eastern Canada. It is thus important to identify the particular needs and specific realities in each OLMC, while taking into consideration common realities wherever these occur. According to some, research should give priority to the most promising sectors, OLMCs and entrepreneurs, since these will have a positive domino effect. It is important to identify the most promising niches. We should encourage young retirees (for example: military personnel, teachers, civil servants) who are well educated and have interesting life experiences, to become entrepreneurs. For others, however, we must not abandon the most vulnerable clienteles. Research should thus not favour one overarching strategy that drowns out the diversity of OLMCs. More holistic research is needed to consider the different issues and characteristics. Moreover, OLMCs must have access to data to conduct the required research.

Also, little research focused on the socio-economic gap between men and women, but it's an interesting problem. Research should verify if the current socio-economic gap (rather than historical) still exists and, if so, determine the causes and potential solutions. Research should also tackle the difference between the older and younger generations with respect to their conception of and relation to work, as well as the challenges faced by businesses with regard to the shortage and recruitment of workers. Research that can harmonize the two challenges would be very useful.

Theme 2) OLMC vitality

We must define "community". To use only its geographic component favours the rural sector; we must give more attention to communities of interest. We must also define "vitality". The consensus suggests that vitality in the context of OLMCs means the ability to live in French (or in English in Quebec) and institutional completeness. We must agree on the role of the social economy: some participants question its relevance to economic development while others espouse it because the GDP and maximizing production and returns are not more important than the ecological footprint, social progress, individual happiness, linguistic continuity, etc. In their opinion, economic development often occurs after a crisis and a community’s empowerment. There is something more in economics than financial or material gain; we should seek a spirituality to link us. Qualitative aspects are key because experiences in each OLMC allow members to define the "vitality" according to their particular realities. The research should find ways to improve OLMC vitality in their particular circumstances. It should also identify the role of the cooperative sector—for instance, to ensure business successions.

We should not forget human resource development. Education helped reduce economic gaps since the 1960s and it is a key determinant to economic development. Beyond education, we must include literacy, family literacy, etc. We must also determine the deficiencies in terms of the skills available and lacking in OLMCs (for example: the lack of teachers, the shortage of qualified caregivers, etc.).

Theme 3) Conceptualizing the research

Economic development is linked to the vitality of the OLMCS. However, the urgency for action has not been demonstrated. It would be better to conceptualize the CED/HRD within a sustainable development approach. Also, a distinction should be made between the creative economy and the knowledge economy, even if the two are related. Does one generate more wealth than the other?

Research on CED/HRD must be inclusive and supported by an adequate communication strategy. It must take into consideration the Canadian economy because the economy has no language. It must nevertheless define a ‘minority’ economy to improve interventions. In this regard, it would be good to conduct research on subjective variables, such as the sense of belonging of entrepreneurs. It is also wise to review the international literature on the link between language and economy, the economic benefits of bilingualism and bilingual countries, and the economic potential of the Francophonie.

We cannot give carte blanche to researchers and community and government stakeholders because it would create confusion and it would be difficult to coordinate research projects. We need a common national research strategy, for example on the use, transformation and waste of natural resources. Research must help to identify priority areas and niches for each OLMC, while considering the results within the Canadian and global economies. The strategy must be developed and implemented by competent representatives of community, academia and government, while maintaining researchers’ autonomy. We must draw a list of potential research projects from the three perspectives then choose priorities according to common goals. Researchers can thus conduct the research they want, but they will not have access to public funds if their project is not on the list. Some also suggest an annual conference on research to identify the priority projects for the year. We need fundamental research, but not for academic purposes; they must be of value to government and community stakeholders.

Theme 4) The knowledge economy

It is hard to understand how voluntary organizations can contribute to OLMCs’ knowledge economy, in comparison to universities and trade schools. However, few postsecondary institutions exist in rural and isolated OLMCs. It is important to encourage exchanges between OLMC members on this issue, because it is important to democratize access and use of knowledge in the OLMCs. Municipalities have a role to play. Finally, we should focus on the development and transmission of knowledge.

The priority is to integrate the knowledge economy in the day-to-day business operations. However, this may prove difficult if the population does not have the necessary skills. We must thus measure the differences between the skills needed for jobs and the skills of the population then target the training necessary to fill the needs and gaps. Here, the schools and post-secondary institutions can play a vital role. The school system can also adapt its programming to the economic realities of the OLMCs. Schools can also work with local companies to offer internships to students. We should also identify the pertinent best practices then apply them, with or without modification, in OLMCs.

RDÉEs in Atlantic Canada have already initiated a project in the knowledge economy, supported by a panel of researchers and stakeholders, and the results are encouraging. It is better to conduct projects and strategies than do nothing, but we should also evaluate the results and share lessons. The challenge is to inventory the ‘minority’ businesses; identification is problematic. We must also recognize that the knowledge economy is everywhere and that each OLMC has particular realities.

Theme 5) Mobility (immigration and migration)

Immigration offers both challenges and opportunities. Also, the challenges are not unique to OLMCs. The most important challenges are in isolated and remote communities: urban migration is high and there is little immigration. Immigration is less welcome where unemployment is high. How can OLMCs attract immigrants? How can they recognize their diplomas? Do OLMCs have the necessary infrastructure to welcome and integrate immigrants? Seasonal interprovincial migration should also be the object of research (e.g.: oil exploration in Alberta, summer fishing on the Atlantic coast).

Youth mobility is a serious concern. The challenge is more serious in the OLMCs that do not have a postsecondary institution to attract and retain youth. What are the solutions? Summer internships for students in OLMC businesses? Promote bilingual careers to students in high school? How do we distinguish the needs of OLMCs and those of the surrounding majority communities also faced with youth outmigration? According to many, the phenomenon is fairly well documented; research must therefore focus on the possible solutions and best practices.

Theme 6) Natural resources and rural areas

Participants say that rural and urban needs differ. It is thus important to seek specific approaches and solutions. However, research is required to validate these findings. We must also harmonise the specific with generic research (for example: socio-economic profiles), because several issues are similar. Some lament the lack of research on minority businesses, limited or expensive access to data, for instance in forestry in a period of instability and turmoil, and the lack of attention given to agriculture. It is said that it is better to develop existing businesses than to try to create new ones. Some also complain of the lack of knowledge and the duplication (in isolation) of research. Some wish the involvement of the community in the research, including in the interpretation of the results.

Some add that natural resources provide significant wealth (e.g.: oil in Alberta), but that a crisis in a sector can have devastating economic consequences.

Theme 7) Literacy and postsecondary and continuous education

We cannot have a prosperous knowledge economy without a fully literate population. However, the most serious literacy challenges are found in OLMCs with a declining economy more than in urban and prosperous OLMCs. Literacy is the foundation, but we should not isolate it; it must be thought of as one of the essential skills. Workers must have all the essential skills, but we should ensure that they are literate in their mother tongue (as well as in the other official language).

Research must focus on the means to keep youth in their OLMC and help them return. One could set up local cooperatives to create jobs for young people. Cooperatives are economic institutions created and managed by the community for its development. They provide tools for socialisation and spaces for education, including literacy. The Antigonish study circles provide an excellent model.

Theme 8) Minority institutional completeness in economic development

We should determine what institutions are necessary. For instance, do OLMCs require their own research institutes? The answer will depend on the circumstances to be elucidated by the research. We should be open to the possibility of shared institutions with the majority, while ensuring that the final result will promote the vitality of the OLMCs and that the institutions of the majority can meet the specific needs of OLMCS. We should also be open to joint research and interventions projects because a lot of data and interventions can be useful to both groups.

Research should identify and describe the particularities of each OLMC and explain the relationship of these particularities to the research and to national and international economic trends. For example, what is the impact of an economic crisis in an OLMC that depends on a particular sector? Also, what is the impact of institutional erosion on the vitality of an OLMC?

The RDÉEs and the CEDECs are useful, notably as a tool for liaison with government departments. They also collaborate with majority NGOs, provincial departments and municipalities. They give a permanent structure and a voice to OLMCs in economic matters. They are also good facilitators.

Theme 9) Positive measures in economic development and human resources development

We require a common definition of what is a "positive measure". Some suggest something that fills a need or reduces a gap. For example, the opening of a satellite office in a rural, remote or poorly served OLMC. Some also suggest a comparison with an exemplary community. A compilation of best practices in OLMCs and elsewhere would also be useful, as would community-government planning mechanisms (a forum?). We need to ensure that positive measures are also effective (e.g.: fill the need). A measure may therefore be positive when launched but prove otherwise over time.

We should also explore the potential of collaborating with the neighbouring majority community. Some minority needs probably exist in the majority community as well. Some measures can be positive for both communities. We should also ensure a link between the decisions taken by government institutions at the national and local levels, as well as interdepartmental effort to explain federal interventions. The Rural Secretariat has had success with working groups on specific topics (e.g.: barriers and challenges to accessibility to federal programs in rural areas). We can better design or request a positive measure if we know that one exists elsewhere. Finally, we should resort to economists to elaborate positive measures in CED/HRD in OLMCs.

Theme 10) Research infrastructure

We need to establish a Research Chair on CED/HRD in OLMCs, managed by a network of universities in collaboration with governments and OLMCs. It should include municipalities. The Chair would be the umbrella body mandated to organize, coordinate and share research results. As an alternative, we could ensure, notably through additional funding, that the existing research bodies (for example: the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities) accomplish this task. Federal Government departments working in CED/HRD could also establish a Fund for research on CED/HRD, and ensure that the funded research projects comply with common tripartite priorities, while avoiding the creation of unhealthy competition for research funds.

Moreover, there is much research that is not well known. We must ensure the sharing of results and the knowledge transfer. In the immigration sector, Metropolis provides a good example. We must compile the literature on CED/HRD, put them in relation to other sectors, ensure access and dissemination of results, etc. The results are not readily available. A thematic classification should allow a critical reading. We should avoid duplications by using a knowledge pyramid, for instance. Access to the research also helps avoid duplications. We should synchronize languages between researchers and the community. We must ensure that the results are understandable. We should have a virtual short-, medium- and long-term infrastructure. A virtual bank would be appropriate.

Above all, however, we must inculcate a set of values to glue the pieces together. We should start with francophone and anglophone minority values. The rest will follow.

Finally, we need effective collaboration. The Interdepartmental Committee for research in CED must include community and academic representatives. We must find commonalities in research, and then work to achieve them. We need a structure for the coordination and exchange of information. We need to create a common and interactive place, a collective memory, a commitment to share needs and priorities. We must also translate the research for the benefit of stakeholders and entrepreneurs in OLMCs. We must consult OLMCs and dovetail government and community-based interventions for these purposes. We must equip organizations in research to improve interventions.

The workshop participants identified five priority challenges and proposed relevant solutions. They are not presented by priority, but one could easily conceive them in a chronological sequence.

1) Establish a thorough conceptualisation of research on CED/HRD in OLMCs

We must establish the link between CED/HRD and OLMC vitality, including the ‘minorisation’ of languages in the business world. We must clearly define concepts like ‘minority’ businesses and ‘minority’ economy in order to know how to intervene effectively in CED/HRD in OLMCs. We must construct an explanatory model to link the various variables and data in a logical manner. We must establish a common vision of CED/HRD in OLMCs in order to set measurable objectives and valid indicators for the purpose of determining pertinent data. We must establish OLMC particularities and determine if there are differences between rural, urban and suburban OLMCs and, if so, explain them.

The participants proposed two solutions: (1) an international review of the conceptual literature and (2) a two-day workshop (nourished by discussion papers submitted beforehand) featuring Canadian and international researchers, as well as government and minority representatives.

2) Determine the economic particularities of each OLMC

We must go beyond the generic and regional socioeconomic profiles. We must delve deeper into databanks and perform detailed and multivariate analyses in order to determine the main economic challenges and opportunities (niches) in each OLMC. If some realities are common among many OLMCs (for instance, succession planning, adding value in specific sectors), the OLMCs in question should collaborate or share their best practices and lessons learned.

Three solutions come to mind. First, a two-year research program to draw historical economic profiles and detailed, multivariate analyses of all OLMCs, as well as gap analyses and niche determinations according to the OLMC’s comparative advantages. Second, a literature review of best practices for common themes (for example, succession planning, the LEED approach). Finally, mindful of Canadian OLMC particularities, launch pilot projects and knowledge transfers of these best practices.

3) Establish effective tripartite collaboration on research

Researchers and community and (federal, provincial, municipal/regional) government actors must elaborate and implement a joint research programme following a common effort. They must set the priority list of research projects and the necessary and respective resources to that end. They must give priority to applied research (with the exception of the conceptualisation effort), notably action-research. The three actors must be able to interpret the data from their respective lenses to improve mutual understanding. They must ensure reciprocal access to data and research results. Knowledge transfer of research results must be ensured to nurture and improve concrete actions on the ground. We must improve the OLMCs’ ability to conduct and interpret research.

Four solutions are proposed. First, transform the Interdepartmental Research Committee on CED into a tripartite committee, as is the case in education. Second, adopt an integrated programme of fundamental and (mostly) applied research. Third, establish digital tools to facilitate exchanges—for example: a virtual databank, e-bulletins to present new research in lay terms, etc.. Finally, establish a Research Chair in CED/HRD in OLMCs over seven years (or a CURA project) or a sustained effort by the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities.

4) Demonstrate the value of federal investments in CED/HRD in OLMCs

In these times of economic uncertainty and imminent budget reductions, OLMCs must demonstrate to the federal government (the principal funding partner in OLMC DEC/HRD) that its investments achieve a good return. On the one hand, this is a political challenge: OLMCs must show the value of bilingualism as stipulated in the Roadmap on official languages. On the other hand, this is an economic challenge: by demonstrating a high federal return on investment, OLMCs may convince Ottawa to invest more in their DEC/HRD.

One solution is proposed: conduct applied research on the positive measures and other federal interventions in CED/HRD in OLMCs over the past decade. For example, one could evaluate the federal programs and other interventions in order to determine their results and present their merits.

5) Better understand the issues associated with migration and immigration

Workforce mobility is a serious concern. Internal migrations and immigration contribute to CED/HRD in OLMCs—for example, when foreigners attend OLMC postsecondary institutions and seek to stay in the community after their studies—but they provide challenges in OLMC CED/HRD—for instance, when immigrants settle in OLMCs with low literacy skills or undervalued abilities and diplomas. There is a need for research on this issue—for instance: How can OLMCs maximise the positive impacts of migration and immigration and minimize their negative impacts?

No solutions are proposed because the answer to the question will depend on the realities in each OLMC. Each OLMC will thus have to provide its own answer. Few OLMCs have a postsecondary institution. Some OLMCs never receive immigrants. Some see significant demographic growth while others suffer through youth exodus.

Analysis

We presented our analysis of the research conducted since 2006 throughout this report. We also presented the fundamental and applied research questions that seem relevant for each theme. Without repeating these questions, we will reproduce the main points of our analysis.

Significant progress has been achieved with respect to research on CED/HRD in OLMCs since 2006. There is also a buzz about it, both for applied research carried out by consultants and for basic research conducted by academic researchers, as well as for extensive and longitudinal analyses by statisticians to draw a complete picture of CED/HRD in OLMCs. This bodes very well for the subject matter.

However, progress is slow. Several themes date back many years. We know that Francophones caught up to Anglophones on most socio-economic indicators, and that differences persist in some areas although these are due to regional disparities more than language. However, we do not know why these differences have disappeared in general or why they persist in some areas. We should determine the reasons for the economic differences between age groups and regions.

We thus cannot say with certainty whether the three goals and 13 objectives proposed by the Royal Commission in 1969 have been met or if there is still work to do and, if so, why and how to do it. We can not say if OLMCs still deserve positive economic measures. And if so, which ones? Basic training strategies (high school diploma) and specialized training (certificates, diplomas) in entrepreneurship and secondary professions? Create a special fund to encourage the minority youth to start a business?

Many of the research topics proposed at the 2008 Symposium have collected dust—for example: rural development, demand for language skills in the private sector, the identification of the economic engines that support the development of OLMCs, the economic impact of school drop-out and the determinants of the vitality of the communities (e.g.: jobs). We cannot explain the paradox of urbanization as a critical factor in the equalisation of socioeconomic data and in assimilation. We have not even verified the economic assumptions that led to the adoption of the Action plan on official languages: countries with two official languages are more competitive, and bilingualism gives greater access to markets and jobs and increases labour mobility.

We now know much more on the social economy, notably through the studies of the Commissioner of Official Languages. However, it is not clear how the efforts of community empowerment over its economy creates more jobs, generates more wealth, facilitates the knowledge economy, and increases the production, exchange and consumption of goods and services.

In our view, the main reason that explains the timid progress in research, is the absence of a logical framework to identify, describe and explain the essential elements of the CED/RHD in OLMCs, and the relationship between these elements and the linguistic vitality of the OLMCs. Research requires a proper conceptualization of CED/RHD and OLMCs. Improvements have been made to systemic models of socio-linguistic vitality, but the economic variables and indicators are inadequately conceived. Some researchers have outlined possible explanations based on preliminary analyses—for example: a statistical correlation between the concentration of less educated minority workers in economic sectors with low income and little focus on the knowledge economy in natural resource-dependent rural communities. Where is the follow-up?

There was no follow-up, either, to Statistics Canada’s Survey on OLMC vitality and the Canada-wide survey conducted by Canadian Heritage in 2003. Despite their sociological bias, both efforts collected key economic data. The main challenge is to couple all of the data into an integrated database, making this integrated bank available to researchers for analysis, to analyse the specific needs of OLMCs, and to compare these data to existing policies to determine whether to adapt them or to adopt others. Moreover, the economic profiles of OLMCs helped draw action plans, but the data analysis was cursory.

In a nutshell, there is progress, slow but sure, but there is still much work to do. Yet economic prosperity is essential to OLMC vitality. Research in this sector has been minimal to ones in health and education.

A metaphor—the production of cognac—allows us to explain the work achieved and the work that remains. This high-end product from a terroir is the result of centuries of iterative research and actions. It offers a better profit margin that the wine produced from the same grapes or similar grapes. CED/HRD in OLMCs should seek to produce cognac instead of selling grapes at the market. Research must nurture the thinking and acting at every step in the value-added process.

First, we must pick the white grapes. One does not choose any grape. The Cognac region is well defined. We need to do the same with OLMCs. The grapes must have high acidity and low alcohol content. Data from the research in CED/HRD in OLMCs must be pertinent. We need to clearly define the concepts and develop an effective explanatory model. We must also know when the grapes are ripe. These steps will ensure that workers will be able to pick the good grapes at the right time. Thus, we need to determine the appropriate time to gather and analyze data for strategic plans and budget cycles (e.g.: the Action plan).

Then, we must ferment the grapes. What is the most effective press to extract the juice? OLMC agencies, government institutions and researchers must join forces to collaborate in the elaboration, production and analysis of the research. We must structure the research. A long-term programme of basic and applied research on priority issues is required. A Statistics Canada research centre dedicated to OLMCs would be useful. Furthermore, we must not add sugar to the grape. Thus, we should be frank and transparent. Research must be pertinent, the resources are limited. We must exclude less relevant research.

We must also distil the brouillis with a still of high quality. In fact, we must distil it twice. We must translate the data into practical information for application in the field. We must also measure the actions on the ground in a feedback loop that will nurture evaluative research.

Finally, we must bottle the product to make it appealing and improve sales. A Summit on the economy in OLMCs would take stock and identify prognostics in CED/HRD in OLMCS. The idea was proposed in 2008 and is relevant; recently, the Ministers of the Canadian Francophonie decided to organize such an event in the Fall of 2012Footnote 172. It should see researchers interested in these issues as well as OLMC agencies and government stakeholders, both at the federal and the provincial/territorial levels as well as at the municipal and regional levels. The event, which should occur every five years, must be well organized to be as productive as possible. Thus, this report could not only be used for the participants of the workshop and the 2011 Symposium but also the 2012 Economic Summit. Indeed, it is difficult to believe that the 2012 Summit would launch important initiatives without supportive research.


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Conclusion

This report presents the progress made since 2006 and the gaps in research on the CED/HRD in OLMCs. It raises some questions for researchers and community and government stakeholders to go further.

We presented an overview of issues—the knowledge economy, regional economic development, etc.—because actions in OLMCs since 2006 do not all seem based on the latest empirical research and theoretical advances. Few respondents know the theory of the creative class, for example. This suggests that stakeholders are not sufficiently up to date on the latest empirical evidence or recent theories. They do not share the same definition of the knowledge economy and the challenges of youth retention, for example, but this does not prevent them from intervening, often each in his or her own way, according to personal preferences or organizational responsibilities. Several respondents share this conclusion. In short, everyone is rowing in the same boat, but not always in unison.

The risk is, some actions may be doomed to failure. For example, the plan that results from the study on the vitality of the OLMCs of the Basse-Côte-Nord—improve the culture of work, increase investment and improve infrastructure to maintain and improve the local quality of life through economic growth—seems detached from research and theories. Thus, the study of vitality produced a plan that is ambitious, possibly unrealistic. Will it ensure the vitality of the OLMCs?

Our presentation of these topics is too brief, but it meets a critical need: introduce several of the interveners to the concepts and theories in vogue in economic development. Also, remind stakeholders that their actions must be based on demonstrated evidence. Stakeholders are well intentioned, but very few are formally trained. This is explained in large part by the lack of basic training—we met few economists or policy researchers interested in economics during our research—as well as a lack of capacity for research and analysis in economic development and human resources.

This challenge arises less in government: If most of the government respondents are not researchers or have no PhD in economics or regional economic development, they are supported by such researchers, in their institution or in others, who can design and conduct basic and applied research, analyze the data (including regression analyses of integrated databanks from various sources), and translate research results into policy options. And if not, they have sufficient funds to hire researchers to perform this work. The OLMC agencies lack these resources. They may share the resources they have, but each OLMC has different realities. Researchers, for their part, have important research capacity. However, as many respondents noted, few researchers know how to translate the results into relevant recommendations. OLMC stakeholders are thus too often left to themselves to transfer this knowledge.

Since OLMCs are the weakest link and they are key players because they know their community better than academics and government stakeholders and because they are better placed to make the link between CED/HRD and OLMC vitality, OLMC agencies should be first on the list in research capacity-building. This does not mean that the OLMC stakeholders must pursue doctoral studies in economics or in public policy analysis—several researchers are already there—or take classes on how to develop and implement public programs—government stakeholders have this competence. Rather, OLMC agencies must bring to the table their knowledge of their community.

Community stakeholders’ knowledge is rare and therefore adds high value to the analysis of OLMCs and their CED/HRD. A statistical analyst can integrate a variety of databases and cross variables to draw the portrait of OLMCs. A civil servant can explain how an existing program addresses a particular challenge or how it can be modified to ensure effective results. A researcher can determine whether the intervention respects the latest theories. However, the researcher and the civil servant cannot understand the effect of the intervention or ensure the relevance of the analysis without the input of community stakeholders.

Also science and governments have their limits. We saw there is a debate between theorists of economic development with respect to the location of businesses. There is thus no perfect theoretical knowledge. Success seems to depend on several factors. Niches differ if the regions are rural or urban. It also depends on the niche. We also noted that important concepts remain imprecise. In addition, existing data banks present many challenges to statisticians. Finally, public policies are disparate and sectorial and not targeted specifically to the challenges and advantages of OLMCs. What is the economic role of language and culture? What is the added value of bilingualism? Can generic and pan-Canadian policies meet the needs of OLMCs with different critical masses? Finally, development depends on economic factors like the competence of workers, the proximity to markets, comparative advantages, access to risk funding, the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, etc. Economists and officials do not know what domino must fall first to achieve success. So, even limited, the contribution of community actors is just as useful.

It is important to integrate the knowledge of community stakeholders at all stages of research and interventions. This improves the development of an integrated and long-term programme of fundamental research and applied research on CED/HRD in OLMCs. Community stakeholders can suggest research questions and respond to questions posed by others. They can analyze qualitative data and examine the link between policies and community needs. As members of the OLMCs, these stakeholders will suffer the consequences (successes, failures) of the interventions in CED/HRD. Even if several community stakeholders deserve an honorary doctorate, we need to improve their research skills, including learning ‘on the job’ training in the company of the other stakeholders with more knowledge in research.

In the end, economic development is the result of a very small common denominator: the entrepreneur. Thus, how can an OLMC, in partnership with governments and researchers, produce an adequate quantity and quality of entrepreneurs? It is here that the limited critical mass of OLMCs becomes an advantage rather than a liability: organization theoryFootnote 173 shows that those that succeed best are not those that are the biggest, but those that are small and specialized and that, consequently, know how to identify their challenges and needs and mobilize their members to meet these needs. OLMC stakeholders in economic development should know their community and their existing and potential entrepreneurs, and how government policies and interventions and best practices according to research can better succeed in their midst. Their knowledge of the terrain offers governments knowledge of a very high added value.

Our review of the literature, comments from respondents and our thematic questions should help the participants of the Symposium and the economic workshop answer the fundamental strategic question:

What are the priority challenges related to research in community economic development and human resource development in official languages minority communities, and how might these challenges be addressed?


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Appendix A: Methodology

We commenced the project on June 6, 2011. We submitted the draft report on August 8, 2011. Following the 31 August workshop, we submitted the final version on September 21, 2011.

The project followed five stages. During the first stage, we gathered and reviewed the research conducted on CED/HRD in OLMCs since 2006. We consulted the web sites of research institutes interested in the topic, consulted researchers and federal institutions, and surveyed academic publications. The second stage required the reading and synthesizing of the documentation for the purpose of a discussion paper for the workshop and Symposium. During the third stage, we surveyed, by telephone or e-mail, 82 members of academia, OLMC groups and governments.

Members of Academia
Organisation Spokesperson
Industry Canada Lisa Setlakwe
Louis Doyle
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Rural and Co-operatives Secretariat Dominique Guénette
Statistics Canada Jean-Pierre Corbeil
Citizenship and Immigration Canada Caroline McNicoll
Commissionner of Official Languages Graham Fraser
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada François Lachance
Stéfan Bergeron
Denise Gareau
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Kurt Inder
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Ashley Cederwall
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions Serge Desrosiers
Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Natalie Brabant
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Grace Hodder
Western Economic Diversification Canada Guy Lajeunesse
Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes Pierre Bhérer
Quebec Community Groups Network Sylvia Martin-Laforge
Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité Karine Silva
Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation John Buck
Language Industry Association of Canada Alaa Ghoneim
Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité Réjean Laflamme
Fédération canadienne pour l'alphabétisation en français Normand Lévesque
Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities Éric Forgues
Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network Lorraine O'Donnell
Canadian Association for Studies in Co-operation Darryl Reed
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute Larry Vandergrift
Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration Marc Duhamel
Chaire des caisses populaires acadiennes en gestion des coopératives André Leclerc
Conférence ministérielle sur la francophonie canadienne Chantal Alarie
Société acadienne du Nouveau-Brunswick Bruno Godin
Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise Denis Simard  
Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta Denis Perreaux
Association francophone du Nunavut Réjean Côté
Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario Linda Lauzon
Association franco-yukonnaise Isabelle Salesse 
Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse Jean Léger
Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique Christine Sotteau
Fédération franco-ténoise Léo-Paul Provencher
Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador Gaël Corbineau
Société franco-manitobaine Daniel Boucher
Société Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin Aline Bouffard Cohen
Quebec Community Groups Network Sylvia Martin-Laforge
Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta Marc Tremblay
Société de développement économique de la Colombie-Britannique Donald Cyr
RDÉE Île-du-Prince-Édouard Inc. Francis Thériault
Conseil de développement économique des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba Louis Allain
Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick (CÉNB) - Moncton Anne Hébert
Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse Julie Oliver
Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité de l'Ontario Nicole Sauvé
Conseil de la Coopération de la Saskatchewan (CCS) Robert Therrien
RDÉE Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador Christophe Caron
Conseil de développement économique des Territoires du Nord-Ouest Andréanne Laporte
RDÉE Yukon Sophie Delaigue
Chambre de commerce acadienne et francophone de l'Î.-P.-É. Raymond Arsenault
Société de développement de la Baie acadienne Louise Comeau
Conseil Coopératif Acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse Darlene Doucet
Conseil de développement coopératif de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard Velma Robichaud
Conseil acadien de la coopération (Nouveau-Brunswick) Éric Aubé
Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité Hélène Simard
Conseil de la coopération de l'Ontario Luc Morin
Caisse Groupe Financier (Manitoba) Joel Rondeau 
Conseil de la coopération de la Saskatchewan Robert Therrien
Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta Marc Tremblay
Coopérative de développement régional—Acadie ltée Melvin Doiron
Fédération canadienne pour l'alphabétisation en français Normand Lévesque
Canadian Heritage, Official Languages Secretariat Jérôme Moisan
Secrétariat francophone de l'Alberta  Denis Tardif
Secrétariat aux relations intergouvernementales (Colombie-Britannique) Pierrette Maranda
Affaires acadiennes et francophones (Î.-P.-É.) Aubrey Cormier
Secrétariat aux affaires francophones (Manitoba) Guy Jourdain
Francophonie canadienne et Langues officielles - Ministère des Affaires intergouvernementales (Nouveau-Brunswick) Line Pinet
Office des affaires acadiennes (Nouvelle-Écosse) Vaughne Madden
Ministère de la Culture, de la Langue, des Aînés et de la Jeunesse (Nunavut) Michel Potvin
Office des Affaires francophones (Ontario) Daniel Cayen
Direction des affaires francophones - Bureau du secrétaire provincial (Saskatchewan) Charles-Henri Warren
Bureau des services en français - Secrétariat de la fonction publique (Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador) Jeff Butt
Division des langues officielles - Ministère de l'Éducation, Culture et Formation (Territoires du Nord-Ouest) Benoît Boutin
Direction des services en français (Yukon) Francine Blais

In the end, we interviewed 70 spokespeople; they answered our eight essential questions:

  1. Have you or your organisation conducted research since 2006 on economic and human resource development for Canada’s Official Language Minority Communities?
  2. To your knowledge, what other research has been conducted on these topics since 2006? By whom?
  3. What, exactly, do we know on the topics of economic and human resource development for Canada’s Official Language Minority Communities?
  4. What remains to be discovered? What are the gaps in our knowledge on these topics?
  5. What are the emerging or recurring research issues on these topics?
  6. Are there topics in economic and human resource development that are in vogue elsewhere than OLMCs that should be part of a research agenda on economic and human resource development in OLMCs?
  7. What future research activities would be of great value? Which ones would be priority?
  8. What are the challenges, obstacles, constraints, gaps in terms of research and data sources on the topics?

The answers provided were then summarized in the draft report.

During the fourth stage, we drafted this report as a discussion paper for the August 31 workshop participants. The final stage consisted of facilitating the workshop, take notes of the proceedings to communicate during the Symposium, and revise the final report for publication.


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