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The present policy on language training comes into effect as of February 8, 2001.
It is government policy to ensure that employees continue to have generous access to language training to enable them to meet the language requirements of bilingual positions in support of the government's requirements as well as to meet their career objectives.
This policy prescribes the conditions under which departments and agencies may authorize employee access to language training at government expense. It establishes a management framework and administrative rules intended to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government-funded language training.
This policy applies to all departments and agencies listed in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA). It also applies to all agencies listed in Schedule II of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) as well as branches designated as departments under the Act.
This policy is issued pursuant to the Official Languages Act, the Financial Administration Act and the Public Service Employment Act.
Deputy heads of departments and agencies are accountable to the Treasury Board for the implementation of this policy and for the results achieved from departmental expenditures on language training.
In the case of appointments, the Public Service Commission (PSC) determines the potential to succeed of employees and provides testing services and certain language training services.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) contracts on behalf of departments and agencies for language training services required from accredited suppliers.
Deputy heads must ensure that their managers comply with this policy when authorizing employee access to government-funded language training.
The Department of National Defence is authorized to carry out the guidance process and establish and maintain its own schools and programs for the language training of military personnel.
The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and Transport Canada are authorized to provide language training to specified employees using departmental training staff at their national schools. All other language training they require is procured as prescribed in this policy.
Language training supplier that is certified as meeting standards established by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) or by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and named in a list of suppliers maintained by PWGSC. (Accredited supplier)
Language training to general levels of proficiency required by positions identified as bilingual by departments in order to ensure the implementation of their mandate with respect to the Official Languages Act.
Language training has two complementary aims associated with human resource planning to meet institutional needs: (1) to prepare employees identified in succession plans to fill bilingual positions in the near future, and (2) to develop or improve the specialized second language skills that normally go beyond what can be provided by training for general language proficiency.
Language training which is not related to job requirements but in support of employee's career objectives.
Access to training to meet these requirements is available to:
To have access to training to meet these requirements, eligible employees must:
Persons appointed to Executive Group positions or functions, as well as incumbents of such positions (or functions), and persons appointed to positions in the Career Assignment Program Group (CA), are excluded from the requirement to demonstrate the potential for attaining the proficiency level required in order to meet the language requirements of their positions or functions.
Employees deployed to bilingual positions that are to be staffed non-imperatively have access to language training on the following conditions:
Access to training to meet these requirements is available to:
Access criteria for training to meet these needs are the same as those stated for training to meet statutory requirements (see "Language training to meet statutory official languages requirements" in this policy).
Training to meet these needs may be considered for employees appointed to an indeterminate position, including those working on a seasonal or part-time basis.
To have access to training to meet these needs:
Training to meet these needs may be considered for:
To have access to training to meet these needs:
Requirements created by certain policies and/or recommendations from the Staff Training Council could result in the identification of government-wide language training needs. Certain one-time or longer term training courses may be offered.
Eligibility criteria and access to such courses are generally determined on the basis of identified needs. The following is part of this type of language training.
Eligibility for this training is limited to members of the Executive Group wishing to qualify for admission into the Assistant Deputy Minister Pre-Qualified Pool (ADM PQP) and is intended to help candidates acquire the level of second-language proficiency required for this program. While EXs aspiring to admission into the ADM PQP receive priority for training, Accelerated Executive Development Program (AEXDP) participants may also have access to this training.
Language training to meet employer needs is generally taken during normal hours of work.
Language training in support of employee aspirations will normally be taken outside of working hours.
Managers are nonetheless encouraged to take appropriate measures, (work rescheduling, etc.) without reducing productivity, to facilitate employee access to such training.
The maximum number of hours of language training during working hours at government expense that may be authorized for a candidate to reach a language proficiency level with respect to each staffing action is:
In exceptional cases, deputy heads may authorize an extension of up to 210 hours (equivalent to six weeks full-time) of language training, if it has been demonstrated near the end of the training period that such an extension would enable the student to reach the target proficiency level.
Persons who must meet the language requirements of Executive Group positions or functions, as well as persons appointed non-imperatively to positions in the CA Group who require language training, are not subject to the training hour limits set out above.
For appointments, in the case of the persons who are identified as having a learning disability that affects the acquisition of the required proficiency level in the other official language, the training hour limits indicated above may be extended when it is established that they are insufficient to take into account their disability. Persons who are aware that they have such a disability are strongly encouraged to bring this to the attention of their employing institution, which must then inform the Orientation Service of the Public Service Commission. This approach will ensure that the Public Service Commission is able to take the disability into account and exceed the prescribed number of hours at the time of the orientation process (aptitude assessment) or during training, if required. In situations where the person may come to know of his or her disability only after being admitted to language training, it is equally necessary to bring this fact to the attention of the Commission and the employing department or agency, which will take the measures that are required.
The Public Service Commission is mandated to make accommodations for persons with learning disabilities, including teaching methods and other pedagogical approaches, adjustments to class size for instruction or the physical environment for teaching or testing.
In order to better identify their training needs, individuals are strongly encouraged to present to the Public Service Commission (or their employing department, where deputy heads are responsible) a professional assessment of their learning disability, if they possess one. Failing that, the Commission (or the deputy head) is authorized to ask that a professional assessment be carried out by Health Canada or by other qualified professionals for the purpose of determining how to accommodate the disability. Such information must be kept confidential due to its very personal nature.
Departments and agencies must register persons with learning disabilities for language training as early as possible after the start of the exemption period in the case of appointments and deployments.
The above requirements regarding accommodations also apply in the case of deployments and all other purposes for language training indicated in this policy.
See also accommodations for persons with learning disabilities under the Policy on the Staffing of Bilingual Positions.
Administrative responsibility for employees on language training remains with employing departments and agencies, which are required to take measures to:
Since departments and agencies are required, as a general rule, to select training modalities on the basis of relative cost efficiency and effectiveness, they should be prepared to justify recourse to:
Departments and agencies are required to ensure that working conditions are conducive to the use and improvement of the second language proficiency of employees returning from language training and to provide them any reasonable support to this end.
Employees who have taken language training at government expense are expected to maintain the language proficiency achieved at their own expense.
Departments and agencies may obtain their language training services from the Public Service Commission (PSC) or from accredited suppliers.
The PSC is funded to provide language training to meet statutory requirements and government-wide corporate needs at no cost to departments and agencies.
Departments and agencies are to cover the cost of all language training to meet other needs and the cost of any training to meet statutory requirements or government-wide corporate needs procured from suppliers other than the PSC.
When departments and agencies schedule language training outside normal hours of work, collective agreements may require the payment of overtime.
The Travel Directive may apply when the employer schedules training outside the work region.
Departments and agencies are authorized to fully reimburse tuition fees and the cost of prescribed textbooks for courses taken outside of working hours provided employees:
Deputy heads are required to establish mechanisms for planning, co-ordinating and controlling the implementation of this policy in their institutions.
To meet Treasury Board requirements, departments and agencies will:
The Treasury Board Secretariat will monitor the implementation of this policy using the data provided by departments and agencies in their annual management reports, and reports provided by the PSC and PWGSC.
Treasury Board Secretariat may also conduct special studies, evaluations and audits on the performance by departments and agencies of the implementation of the language training policy.
Please direct enquiries to the person responsible for official languages in your institution. This person may then address policy interpretation questions to the:
Official Languages Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat