Rescinded [2012-11-19] - Policy on Official Languages for Human Resources Management

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Policy statement

The language requirements of positions or functions are determined objectively. They reflect the duties of employees or their work units as well as the obligations related to service to the public and language of work in the Official Languages Act (OLA). The positions or functions of executives at the assistant deputy minister level or equivalent are designated as bilingual at a superior level of proficiency throughout Canada. Positions or functions at other executive levels in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes are also designated as bilingual under the terms of this policy.

A position or function designated as bilingual is filled by a candidate who meets the language requirements of that position. In exceptional cases, a position or function may be filled by an employee who does not possess the required language skills. The institution then provides language training to allow the candidate to acquire these skills and takes measures to ensure that the bilingual functions of the position are carried out in the interim.

Institutions ensure that English- and French-speaking Canadians have equal opportunities for employment and advancement while respecting the merit principle. They use recruitment strategies that ensure equitable participation of both official language communities.

Application

This policy applies to all institutions subject to Parts IV, V and VI as well as section 91 of the OLA with the exception of the Senate, the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament, the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer and the Office of the Ethics Commissioner.

Related Directives

The institutions in question must also apply the following directives:

Policy Requirements

Accountability

Deputy heads are accountable for implementing this policy in their institutions.

Expected Results

Identification of language requirements

Step 1: Determine official languages obligations

The institution determines the obligations related to service to the public and language of work (Parts IV and V of the OLA and the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations) that apply to its operations.

Step 2: Determine the language requirements of positions or functions

The institution determines the language requirements of positions or functions in order to meet its official languages obligations.

Managers review the language requirements of positions or functions when staffing or when positions or functions change significantly in order to ensure that the requirements still reflect the obligations of the institution.

If changes are made in the language requirements of a position or function, the incumbent is informed in writing as soon as possible. The institution tries to ensure that changes are consistent with the incumbent's terms and conditions of employment.

Step 3: Determine the levels of proficiency required in both official languages

For any position or functions that have been identified as bilingual, the manager determines the language proficiency levels required to fully meet their obligations.

The position or functions of an executive at the assistant deputy minister level or equivalent are designated as bilingual at a superior level of proficiency throughout Canada.

For executives, a superior level of bilingual proficiency is required so that they can carry out their duties and fulfil their obligation to create a work environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, if the position or functions include one or more of the following:

  • supervision of employees occupying bilingual positions or positions with differing language requirements;
  • participation as a regular member in the institution's management team;
  • a significant role in exercising the institution's authority to direct, or to provide services to, other federal institutions;
  • significant functions related to representing the institution to the public or employees of the institution;
  • a significant role in the co-ordination of programs or activities of employees in regions designated as bilingual for language‑of‑work purposes.

Staffing of bilingual positions

In the following cases, bilingual positions are filled by candidates who meet the language requirements of the position:

  • when the position is for a specified period;
  • when the position requires technical or specialized language skills;
  • when the position or function is indispensable for providing services to the public or to employees in both official languages.

In exceptional cases, a position or function may be filled by a candidate who does not possess the required language skills. The institution then provides language training to allow the employee to acquire these skills, before assuming the duties of the position, or if not, as soon as possible. The institution takes appropriate administrative measures to ensure that the bilingual functions of the position are carried out in the interim.

Language training

Institutions provide language training to incumbents of bilingual positions who need to acquire the skills in order to meet the language requirements of their positions. Employees who receive language training for this purpose commit themselves to achieving the required level of proficiency as soon as possible.

Institutions provide language training to employees who wish to develop their second‑language skills in order to advance their careers and possibly fill bilingual positions in the future. Conditions for such training are negotiated between employee and manager, taking into consideration the respective needs of the employee and the institution, as well as the available resources.

Institutions are responsible for maintaining sufficient language capacity to continue to meet their linguistic obligations with respect to service to the public and language of work. To this end, institutions provide conditions of work conducive to the use and development of the second‑language skills of employees returning from language training and provide them with reasonable assistance in this regard. Employees who have received language training make a personal commitment to maintain and use their achieved proficiency.

Institutions take necessary steps to accommodate anyone with a disability or an identified learning disability that may hinder learning the other official language.

Equitable participation of both official language communities

Taking into account their mandate, public, and the locations of their offices, institutions ensure that:

  • the method used to select employees is based on merit;
  • English- and French-speaking Canadians have equal opportunities for employment and advancement while respecting the merit principle;
  • recruitment measures are in place to ensure equitable participation by both official language communities;
  • their workforce tends to reflect the presence in Canada of the two official language communities.

Monitoring and reporting

The Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (PSHRMAC) is responsible for determining the method for assessing performance and monitoring implementation of this policy in institutions.

Each institution is responsible for keeping its records and information systems up to date and assessing results in order to report on them to PSHRMAC on request. At a minimum, the institution uses the following indicators to assess its situation:

  • percentage of employees meeting the language requirements of their positions;
  • time elapsed between the appointment and the start of language training when a candidate is appointed to a position for which he or she does not meet the language requirements;
  • number of employees who have taken language training to meet the language requirements of their positions and :
    • have achieved the required level of second-language proficiency
    • have not achieved the required level of second-language proficiency;
  • number of hours of language training taken:
    • further to staffing actions
    • for career development;
  • costs associated with language training;
  • ratio of positions identified as bilingual and those identified as requiring superior language proficiency, in the following categories:
    • positions providing service to the public
    • positions providing personal and central services
    • supervisory positions;
  • effectiveness of the administrative measures taken to ensure that the bilingual functions of positions are being carried out if the incumbent is not bilingual.

When assessment of the results reveals that the policy has not been respected, the institution reports the situation to PSHRMAC and takes appropriate corrective action.

Consequences

Enquiries

For more information, please contact the person responsible for official languages in your institution.

Definitions and Notes for the Reader

Background : http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/OffLang/olpf-cplo_e.asp

Official Languages Act : http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/O-3.01/index.html

Equivalent:

  • In institutions listed in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act "equivalent" refers to functions or positions approved by the Treasury Board as equivalent to the functions or positions of an assistant deputy minister, even though the title does not include the term "assistant deputy minister."
  • In institutions that do not appear in these schedules, "comparable" refers to management functions or positions where the level of authority exercised and organizational role are similar to those of an assistant deputy minister position (for example, the duties of a vice president in a Crown corporation), considering these institutions' individual administrative and operational structures.

Regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes :
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/offlang/chap5_1_e.asp

Institution:

Any institution subject to Parts IV, V and VI and section 91 of the Official Languages Act. (Note: For a formal definition, see section 3 of the Official Languages Act.)

Institutions that are not mentioned in section 3 but whose acts of incorporation provide for the application of the OLA (e.g., Air Canada and NavCanada) are also subject to the OLA.

Directive on the linguistic identification of positions or functions :
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/OffLang/dlipf-dilpf_e.asp

Financial Administration Act :
http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/f-11/

Directive on the staffing of bilingual positions :
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/OffLang/dsbp-ddpb_e.asp

Public Service Employment Act : http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/P-33.01/index.html

Deputy Heads:

This term is equivalent to "deputy minister", "chief executive officer" or some other title denoting this level of responsibility.

Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations : http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/offlang/dolr_e.asp

Regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes :
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/offlang/chap5_1_e.asp

Indispensable:

An office required to provide services in both official languages to the public or to employees must be able to provide them in both languages at all times. Managers are responsible for organizing their human resources, including staffing positions, in order to ensure this capacity. In determining the particular mix of positions or functions as well as other means of providing services (e.g. recorded messages, automated services, information on electronic networks), they are required to staff certain bilingual positions with candidates who meet the language requirements of the positions. This applies when the positions are linguistically indispensable because the provision of services depends on direct spoken or written communication by persons and the quality or availability of service in either of the official languages would be inadequate without this capacity. Bilingual positions should be filled by candidates who meet the language requirements of the positions in the following circumstances (not an exhaustive list):

  • when the bilingual position is one of the very few in an office that provides services to the public or employees;
  • when the bilingual position is the only one that provides certain services;
  • when the bilingual position is one of several providing similar services but there are not enough incumbents who meet language requirements to ensure service in both official languages at all times;
  • when the functions of the position require the capacity to communicate promptly and accurately in both languages in situations where the communication has a direct bearing on the health, safety or security of the public or the occupants of the office (e.g. a position responsible for communicating instructions within the context of internal security services or for the management of emergency situations).

Administrative measures:

Arrangements made by an institution to meet the language-related obligations of a bilingual position or function occupied by an incumbent who does not meet these language requirements (for example, when the incumbent is taking language training to meet the language requirements of the position).

Accommodate:

To adapt teaching methods and other teaching approaches, as well as scheduling, duration of training, training-related evaluation processes, premises and materials, to the needs of persons with disabilities or learning disabilities that can impede the learning of a second official language. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/TB_852/ppaed_e.asp 

Recruitment measures:

Institutions can adopt, for example, the following measures:

  • Expand areas of competition as far as possible in order to include applicants from both official language groups.
  • Adopt a recruitment strategy for one official language group when needed to enhance their participation in competitions.
  • Ensure that the linguistic composition of selection boards is representative of the applicant pool.

However, the following measures are not acceptable:

  • Setting or implementing quotas (numerical objectives or targets) for the number of Francophones or Anglophones, or both, to be appointed to a given number of positions over a given time period.
  • Arbitrarily defining positions' language requirements to encourage the recruitment of members of a single official language group.

Consequences : http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpubs/OffLang/olpf-cplo1_e.asp#consequence

Person responsible : http://www.psagency-agencefp.gc.ca/ollo/common/listinstitution_e.asp