Rescinded [2012-11-19] - Directive on the Linguistic Identification of Positions or Functions
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April 1, 2004
The language requirements of positions or functions are determined objectively. They reflect the duties of employees or their work units as well as obligations with respect to service to the public and language of work. Owing to their supervisory and leadership role in institutions, positions or functions at the assistant deputy minister level and other assistant deputy head titles across Canada and those of members of the Executive Group in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes are identified as bilingual at the "CBC" level.
This directive applies to all institutions subject to Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act.
Institutions subject to the Official Languages Act (OLA), except for the Senate, the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament, the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer and the Office of the Ethics Commissioner,must refer to the Policy on Official Languages for Human Resources Management.
Deputy heads are accountable for implementing this directive in their institutions.
Determining official languages obligations
Institutions determine the official languages obligations applicable to their operations and establish the linguistic identification of positions or functions accordingly.
Service to the public
Institutions ensure that, where required under Part IV of the OLA and the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations, they have the capacity to communicate with and provide services to members of the public, both orally and in writing, in the official language of their choice.
Language of work
In regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, institutions ensure that:
- employees occupying bilingual or either/or positions are supervised in their preferred official language. All other employees are supervised in the official language of their position;
- employees receive personal and central services in their preferred official language.
Institutions also ensure that everywhere in Canada and regardless of the language requirements of their position, employees may file grievances in their preferred official language.
Unilingual regions and use of the other official language in other functions
In exceptional cases, positions may be identified as bilingual for liaison functions that require the use of both official languages between two unilingual regions of different official languages.
Establishing language requirements
Once the official languages obligations are determined, institutions objectively establish the language requirements of positions or functions to meet these obligations :
- bilingual, when the functions must be carried out in English and in French;
- English essential, when the functions must be carried out in English;
- French essential, when the functions must be carried out in French;
- Either/or, when the functions may be carried out in English or in French, in accordance with the employee's choice.
In any activity that affects human resources, including staffing actions, reorganizations or reclassifications, managers review the language requirements of the positions or functions in question. If, as a result of this process, the language requirements or the linguistic profile of the position are modified, the incumbent must be informed in writing within ten working days following the modification. Obligations relating to incumbents are set out in the Directive on the Staffing of Bilingual Positions.
Determining the linguistic profile of a position
When the language requirements of a position or function are identified as bilingual, the manager determines the linguistic profile required. The linguistic profile reflects the tasks to be carried out and respects the principle of equal status of the two official languages when carrying out the functions. Only in exceptional circumstances do the tasks in one language differ from those in the other; linguistic profiles of bilingual positions are therefore normally the same in both languages.
For information on how to determine the linguistic profile of a bilingual position in both official languages, refer to the Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages.
To ensure services of quality in both official languages, the language proficiency levels of positions or functions involving service to the public or to employees, as well as supervision of employees, are identified at the "BBB" level or higher.
To ensure that the work environment is conducive to the effective use of both official languages:
- positions or functions at the assistant deputy minister level and other assistant deputy head titles anywhere in Canada are identified at the "CBC" proficiency level because of the nature of their duties;
- the proficiency levels of executive positions or functions in regions designated as bilingual for language‑of‑work purposes are set at least at "CBC" if the positions or functions include at least one of the following activities:
- 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.
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 directive 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:
- for all staffing actions undertaken in the past year, number of positions or functions identified as
- English essential
- French essential
- language requirements and linguistic profile for positions identified as bilingual for
- service to the public
- personal and central services
- rationale for the language requirements of the positions or functions.
When assessment of the results reveals that the directive has not been respected, the institution reports the situation to PSHRMAC and takes appropriate corrective action.
For further information, please contact the person responsible for official languages in your institution.
Definitions and Notes for the Reader
- Other assistant deputy head titles
- Regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes
- C in reading
- B in writing,
- C in oral interaction
- Financial Administration Act
- Official Languages Act
- Policy on official languages for human resources management
- Deputy Heads
- This term is equivalent to "deputy minister", "chief executive officer" or some other title denoting this level of responsibility.
- Part IV
- Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
- Regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes
- Personal and central services
Here are some examples:
- accounting services
- administrative services
- financial and budget services
- computer services
- evaluation and audit services
- legal services
- library, archival and information/communications services
- management advisory services and consultation services
- materiel management services
- purchasing and procurement services
- asset management services
- security services
- staffing and classification services
- technical services
- translation services
- pay and benefits services
- health care services
- vocational guidance services
- Directive on the staffing of bilingual positions
- In exceptional circumstances do the tasks in one language differ from those in the other
For the A, B and C language proficiency levels, there should be no distinction between the two official languages in terms of language profile as these levels are not linked to specialized language skills.
With regard to the use of Code P, a task analysis of the position must support any exception to the rule by which the language skills required in the second official language do not differ from one official language to the other. For example:
- For translation of texts from English to French and vice versa, the profile should require Code P for written comprehension and written expression for English and French. For oral interaction, level B or C in both languages should be indicated for interaction between translators and clients (this does not necessarily exclude the use of Code P for oral interaction, but it must be justified by the task analysis).
- If the translation is solely from one language to the other, Code P would be required for both languages in terms of written comprehension but for only one language (the target language) in terms of written expression. The same factors apply to oral interaction as in the above example.
The details are in the Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages.
- Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages
- Other assistant deputy head titles
- Person responsible