This page has been archived.
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
The present policy on the staffing of bilingual positions comes into effect as of February 8, 2001.
To ensure that federal institutions, when staffing bilingual positions, meet their obligations to the public and to employees in accordance with the Official Languages Act, particularly section 91 of this Act, and the regulations under the Act.
It is government policy that a position requiring the immediate use of both official languages must be staffed with a candidate who meets the language requirements of the position at the time of appointment or deployment (imperative staffing). When other means of temporarily providing the bilingual service are possible, the position may be staffed by a candidate who is eligible for language training at government expense to meet these requirements, or who is exempted from meeting them according to the conditions listed in 3.1 below (non-imperative staffing). In all cases, however, the language requirements of the position must be identified as being objectively necessary to carry out the duties of the position.
This policy applies to all federal institutions subject to the Public Service Employment Act and its regulations. Other federal institutions are urged to apply this policy in ways appropriate to their administrative procedures and operations.
Deputy heads of federal institutions subject to the Public Service Employment Act have the delegated authority to approve imperative staffing actions. In the case of appointments, deputy heads may sub-delegate this authority under the terms of the staffing delegation instrument they sign with the Public Service Commission.
For deployments, deputy heads may also sub-delegate this authority.
The following criteria based on the nature of the duties of the position, the degree of operational impact, and the type of position govern the use of imperative staffing for bilingual positions.
Imperative staffing must be used for appointments or deployments to a bilingual position for a specified period. Candidates appointed or deployed for a specified period of time who do not have indeterminate employee status (i.e. term employees) must meet the language requirements of the position at the time of appointment or deployment.
Imperative staffing must be used for appointments or deployments to bilingual positions requiring technical or specialized language use. Bilingual positions that require a technical or specialized language proficiency (code P) in all three language skills must be staffed imperatively. If a bilingual position has a linguistic profile that includes both technical or specialized proficiencies (code P) and general levels of proficiency (A, B, or C), the "P" proficiency must be met at the time of appointment or deployment.
Imperative staffing must normally be used for appointments or deployments to indispensable bilingual positions for providing service to the public or to employees in both official languages. An example of an indispensable bilingual position is one that is the only point of contact or an important point of contact required to provide service to the public or to employees in both official languages under the provisions of Parts IV and V of the Official Languages Act and its pursuant regulations.
Imperative staffing must normally be used for appointments or deployments to bilingual positions having significant operational impact. Such a bilingual position must have an immediate and significant impact on the organization's activities or projects. The appointment or deployment of a candidate who meets the language requirements of this position will ensure that the duties are carried out effectively and the linguistic obligations are met.
The following are examples:
Imperative staffing is obligatory for all appointments or deployments at the Assistant Deputy Minister level when the area of competition is limited to candidates from within the institutions comprised in Schedules I.I and I.II of the Public Service Staff Relations Act. For staffing actions at this level that are open to candidates from outside these institutions, imperative or non-imperative staffing may be used in accordance with this policy.
When other means of temporarily providing bilingual service are possible, non-imperative staffing may be used. Managers, when staffing a position non-imperatively, must ensure that the following eligibility criteria are met and, if need be, take certain administrative measures.
Candidates for a non-imperative staffing action either meet the language requirements of the position (valid results according to the SLE) or are eligible for appointment or deployment without meeting the language requirements of the position. Exclusions from meeting the language requirements apply to persons who:
With regard to the potential to complete language training successfully, the deputy heads may, in exceptional circumstances (isolated post, unique position, rare speciality, etc.), override this access condition (to demonstrate potential) and recommend, for Public Service Commission approval, that employees judged as having low potential be appointed nevertheless to non-imperative bilingual positions.
An eligible person must submit a statement to the Commission in the case of an appointment or to the responsible deputy head in the case of a deployment. This means that the person agrees in writing to demonstrate his or her aptitude for learning the other official language, to attain the level of proficiency required within the exemption time granted and to be transferred or deployed to another position, in the event that the person has not attained the required level of proficiency, within two months from the end of the exemption period. (The two months is to allow for transfer to another position in case of negative results.) The exemption period is two years from the date of an appointment or a deployment to a bilingual position. In the case of a staffing action concerning positions or functions in the Executive Group or positions in the Career Assignment Program Group, that part of the statement dealing with the agreement to demonstrate one's potential for learning the other official language does not apply (see also Policy on Language Training). However, applicants for these positions who are aware that they have a learning disability, or who come to learn they have one, are nevertheless encouraged to undergo the process for determining aptitude to better identify the accommodations needed for their language training (regarding this issue, see the following section).
In the case of appointments, the Public Service Commission (or its delegate) has the authority to grant an extension of the exemption period. In the case of deployments, the deputy head has this authority but may delegate it.
Persons with a learning disability that affects the acquisition of the other official language are required to undergo the process for determining their aptitude to acquire the required proficiency level. However, on account of their disability, if it is shown that they would require more than the prescribed number of language training hours to attain the required level, the need for additional hours is not a barrier to their admission to language training for statutory purposes. The Public Service Commission is authorized to exceed, in the case of these persons, the prescribed number of training hours. In the case of deployments, deputy heads are authorized to override the prescribed number of training hours in the case of persons with learning disabilities.
If, during the assessment of aptitude or language training, it becomes apparent that the two-year exemption period is insufficient for a person to attain the required proficiency level due to a learning disability, an assessment of the person's progress in language training must be submitted to the Public Service Commission (or to its delegate) when requesting an extension of the exemption period. This information will assist the Commission (or its delegate) in establishing an extension adequate to the person's needs. In the case of deployments, the assessment must be submitted to the deputy head.
Persons who are aware that they require accommodation on account of their learning disability are strongly encouraged to bring such disabilities to the attention of their employing institution, which must then inform the Public Service Commission or other training supplier so that they may take the necessary measures to accommodate the individual. Such information must be kept confidential due to its very personal nature.
See also accommodations for persons with learning disabilities under the Policy on Language Training.
In cases where an employee is sent on language training or is exempted from meeting the language requirements of the position, federal institutions must use appropriate alternative measures to ensure that the bilingual services this employee would normally provide are offered.
The following options are available to unilingual or bilingual incumbents of positions whose language requirements or linguistic profiles are changed:
When an employee ceases involuntarily to occupy a position as a result of a change in the organization or a transfer of the control or supervision pursuant to the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, that employee retains any linguistic rights and obligations in the new position if the functions or linguistic level are similar to the former position.
|In the context of the human resources policy on retraining, surplus employees who, in work force adjustment situations, are unable to be appointed or deployed to bilingual non-imperative positions solely because they do not meet the language qualifications and are not eligible for language training, may be given up to six months additional language training if the Public Service Commission considers them likely to meet the qualifications within the training time available. For employees who have not had training to the same or a higher level at government expense, the appointment or deployment may take place prior to their attaining the required level. For those previously trained, the appointment or deployment can only be made after the additional training.|
The Treasury Board Secretariat and the Public Service Commission will continue to advise federal institutions under their respective jurisdictions on cases that could result in complaints to the Commissioner of Official Languages and to recourse to the Federal Court concerning the application of section 91 of the Official Languages Act.
The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) will ensure that this policy is implemented through:
Official Languages Act
Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations
Public Service Employment Act, in particular subsection 34.2(1)
Public Service Employment Regulations
Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order
Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations
Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act
Policy on deployment, Treasury Board
Staffing Manual, Public Service Commission
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
Public Service Commission