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Directive on Language Training and Learning Retention
Table of Contents
Roles and responsibilities
Duration of training
Monitoring and reporting
Definitions and Notes for the Reader
April 1, 2004
Employees have access to language training to fulfil the language requirements of bilingual positions, to meet
their institutions' future operational needs, or to develop their language skills in order to advance in the public
This directive applies to all institutions listed in Schedule I, I.1, II and IV of the Financial
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 also refer to the Policy
on Official Languages for Human Resources Management.
Deputy heads are accountable for implementing this directive in their institutions.
Access to language training
To meet the language requirements of a position
Language training is required to meet the language requirements of a position in the following situations:
Language training must take place within the time limits prescribed by the Public
Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order (the Exclusion Order).
An employee appointed or deployed non-imperatively to an executive position begins language training immediately
and completes it before assuming the duties of the position.
In exceptional cases, and with the written approval of the institution's deputy head, an executive appointed or
deployed non-imperatively could begin training later, but this must still be completed within the time limits
prescribed by the Exclusion Order:
For other positions, it is strongly recommended that the employee begin language training before assuming the
duties of the position, or as soon as possible if delays arise as a result of the availability of the courses offered
by the training supplier.
For career development purposes
The institution integrates language training into career development and into its recruitment and development
Training for career development purposes should be encouraged for an employee when:
- the institution considers that the employee needs to develop or
improve certain second-language skills to meet future operational needs;
- the employee demonstrates an interest in developing language
skills in order to advance his or her career in the public service.
- enrols the employee in language training before the employee
assumes the duties of the position in the cases of an appointment, deployment, change in language requirements or
profile of position;
- provides conditions conducive to learning,
monitors the employee's progress, and provides support to an employee who is having difficulty;
- advises an employee when it is determined, after consulting the
employee and the training supplier that the employee is unlikely to achieve the training objective in the prescribed
- in the case of an employee with a disability or an identified
learning disability that can hinder learning of the other official language:
- withdraws from language training any employee who, because of
absenteeism, tardiness or other reasons, is impeding his or her own progress or that of others. The institution and
the language trainer are required to justify the withdrawal;
- provides working conditions conducive to the use
and development of the second‑language skills of an employee returning from language training and, to that
end, gives the employee all reasonable assistance, particularly by ensuring that the employee has access to the tools
necessary for learning retention.
- when language training is required by the requirements of his or
her position, makes a written commitment:
- to successfully complete the language training or, if
unsuccessful, to accept after the end of the time limit prescribed in the Exclusion Order an appointment or deployment
to another position for which the he or she is qualified and meets the language requirements;
- to maintain the language proficiency level acquired, by using
both official languages in his or her duties and by taking advantage of the tools available for learning retention;
- is encouraged to report to the institution any identified
disability or learning disability he or she is aware of or discovers after beginning language training;
- is encouraged to submit a professional assessment of his or her
learning disabilities to the language trainer if one is available.
Canada School of Public Service (CSPS):
- assesses the employee's aptitude to learn and to achieve the
required second‑language proficiency level;
- provides employees with the tools necessary for learning
CSPS and other language training suppliers:
- supply language training services;
- provide conditions conducive to learning;
- in the case of an employee with a disability or identified
learning disability that can hinder learning the other official language:
- increase the maximum number of training hours if it is shown that
the prescribed number of hours will not be enough;
- change or adapt the aptitude assessment, the teaching methods,
and other teaching approaches, as well as class size and physical environment for the teaching or testing.
Personnel Psychology Centre of the Public Service Commission:
- assesses the employee's achievement of the required
second-language proficiency level (second-language evaluation) at the end of the language training;
- takes the necessary accommodation measures when an employee with
a disability or identified learning disability reports for second-language evaluation tests.
- to meet the institution's needs or in the context of recruitment
and development programs is generally taken full-time during regular working hours;
- to further an employee's career development may also be taken
during regular working hours.
To meet the language requirements of a position, the number of hours listed below represents the maximum number of
hours of language training for each language proficiency level:
1,210 hours for level A
1,710 hours for level B
2,270 hours for level C
- An institution may procure language training services without
charge from CSPS (in the National Capital Region restricted to language training resulting from a non‑imperative
staffing action) or at its own expense from private suppliers.
- An institution that authorizes an employee to take language
training for career development purposes must comply with the Policy
on Learning, Training and Development.
- Institutions shall choose the type of language training on the
basis of economy and effectiveness. The use of types of training that result in the payment of overtime or travel
costs must be justified.
- When an institution provides language training given outside
regular working hours, it must comply with the employee's collective agreement. The Travel
Directive may also apply when training is given outside the region where the employee works.
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.
The Public Service Commission is responsible for monitoring the use of the Exclusion Order in federal
institutions to which it applies.
CSPS is responsible for evaluating and optimizing management of its operational capabilities and reporting thereon
to PSHRMAC on request.
Each institution is responsible for keeping its records and information systems up to date and assessing the
attainment of results in order to report on them to PSHRMAC on request. At a minimum, the institution uses the
following indicators to assess its situation:
- number of employees who have taken language training during the
year for career development purposes;
- number of employees who have taken language training upon
appointment or deployment;
- number of employees who have taken language training to meet the
language requirements of a position and:
- have achieved the required second-language proficiency level
- have not achieved the required second-language proficiency level
- have been deployed to positions for which they meet the language requirements;
- number of employees who have taken language training for learning retention;
- number of hours of language training used:
- for staffing purposes
- for career development purposes;
- costs associated with language training;
- effectiveness of learning retention measures.
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 more information, please contact the person
responsible for official languages in your institution.
Financial Administration Act: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/F-11/index.html
Official Languages Act:
Policy on official languages for
human resources management:
This term is equivalent to "deputy minister", "chief executive officer" or some other title
denoting this level of responsibility.
Directive on the staffing of
Public Service Official Languages
Exclusion Approval Order:
Important and immediate operational need:
An exception to the rule that a manager undergoes language training before taking up the duties of his or her
position may be considered to help the institution deal with unusual or unpredictable circumstances – for example,
the need for a short-term assignment to specific duties to deal with a crisis endangering public health or safety.
Conditions conducive to learning:
- The institution adopts values that support the equal status of the two
official languages and compliance with its language obligations to the public and its employees.
- Senior managers adopt these values and communicate them to their
- Managers ensure that employees who must meet their positions' language
requirements are enrolled in language training at the beginning of their exemption periods.
- Managers support employees who must meet their positions' language
requirements. For example:
- Employees are able to attend full-time language training when
required without also having to assume the responsibilities of their positions.
- Managers and employees respect the start dates for language
courses in which employees are enrolled.
- Employees are able to remain in language training throughout the
period for which they are enrolled in language courses.
- The institution provides employees with tools designed to maintain
their language skills. Managers enable employees to take the time to use these tools.
Policy on Learning, Training and
Working conditions conducive to the use and development of the second language skills:
- Supervisors make sure that employees occupying bilingual positions
have access to work tools in both official languages needed to carry out their duties.
- Supervisors encourage employees returning from language training to
take advantage of opportunities to use their second official language in interactions with colleagues, and encourage
the colleagues to help them develop their second language skills.
- In designated bilingual regions, supervisors occupying bilingual
positions conduct meetings in both official languages, reminding participants of their right to use the official
language of their choice.
- Supervisors or managers discuss with employees, as applicable, the
need to take courses to further develop their second language skills and give them the time they need for this
- Employees who have undergone language training accept the
responsibility to use their second official language. Further, they make efforts to maintain the necessary level of
language proficiency and advise the supervisor if the work environment presents obstacles to use of the second
Policy on Learning, Training and