DAOD 5039-0, Official Languages

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1998-01-30

Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).

Supersession: CFAO 2-15, Official Languages, paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 5, and 14

Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Assistant Deputy Minister (Personnel) (ADM (Per)).

Enquiries: Director Official Languages (DOL)

2. Definitions

anglophone (anglophone)

An Anglophone is any person, of whatever ethnic origin or mother tongue, whose first official language is English.

francophone (francophone)

A Francophone is any person, of whatever ethnic origin or mother tongue, whose first official language is French.

public (public)

Public includes any person, group of persons (professional associations or other), organization or company (other than a Crown corporation) in Canada or abroad, or any representative of another level of government that is communicating with or receiving a service from a federal institution. This excludes employees of federal institutions, Non Public Funds personnel, members of the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when carrying out their duties.

3. Policy Direction


3.1 English and French are the official languages of Canada. In accordance with the Official Languages Act, the composition and operation of DND and CAF must reflect this reality.

3.2 DND and CAF official languages program stems from the 1988 Official Languages Act and takes into account the necessity for DND and CAF to rapidly increase its strength in times of crisis and tension. This program has been developed to provide an infrastructure that will allow the employment of unilingual Canadians, either English-speaking or French-speaking.

3.3 While the provisions of the Official Languages Act apply to DND, the Regular Force and the Reserve Force, some of the obligations that arise from the Treasury Board (TB) official languages policy apply only to institutions for which TB is the employer (DND civilian personnel). It is therefore necessary to develop related policies and direction for the specific needs of CAF.

Policy Statement

3.4 To comply with the letter and spirit of the Official Languages Act, DND and CAF must implement this Act in all components and are committed to:

  1. ensuring equality of status for the use of English and French throughout the organization;
  2. ensuring that the public can communicate with and receive services from DND and/or CAF, in Canada or abroad, in either language, where such an obligation exists under the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations;
  3. ensuring that, in bilingual units, the work environment is conducive to the effective use of both official languages;
  4. ensuring that Francophones and Anglophones have equal opportunity for employment and career advancement within DND and CAF;
  5. ensuring that DND and CAF workforce tend to reflect equitably the existence of the two official language communities in Canada; and
  6. promoting the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities by supporting their development, as well as fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

4. Authority

Authority Table

4.1 The following table identifies the authorities responsible for implementing the policy.

The …has/have the authority to …


formulate policies and oversee the implementation of the official languages program in DND and CAF.


on behalf of ADM(Per):

  • develop and interpret policies;
  • develop and manage the official languages awareness program;
  • process external complaints; and
  • act as the point of contact between DND and external agencies and organizations.

commanding officers and managers

ensure adherence to the Official Languages Act and related policies issued by DND and CAF within their respective spheres of responsibility.

Note - DOL is responsible for reporting on the official languages program and for developing official languages strategic planning.

5. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

  • CFAO 2-15, Official Languages, paragraphs 3, 6-13, 15-37, and Annex A and B
  • A-AD-102-101/AG-001, DND and CF Official Languages Policies and Directives Manual