DAOD 5031-11, Foreign Languages

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 2008-04-25

Application: This DAOD is an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).

Supersession: CFAO 9-61, Foreign Languages - Instruction, Testing and Qualifications

Approval Authority: Chief of Military Personnel (CMP)


  • Director Military Personnel Strategy and Coordination (DMPSC)
  • Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) (for policy administration)

2. Abbreviations

Table of Abbreviations

2.1 This DAOD contains the following abbreviations:

Abbreviation Complete Word or Phrase


Canadian Defence Academy


Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System


Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre


career manager


commanding officer


Director General Military Careers


Director Military Personnel Strategy and Coordination


foreign language


Human Resources Management System


individual training and education


Member's Personnel Record Résumé


records support unit

3. Overview

CAF Requirements

3.1 The CAF requires CAF members who possess diverse degrees of ability in various FLs to:

  1. conduct operations and support missions or deployments;
  2. fulfill international commitments; and
  3. undertake IT&E using a FL.

Note - Ability is used in its broadest sense to refer to varying degrees of knowledge and understanding of a FL. A CAF member who has some knowledge or understanding of a FL, however basic or advanced, whether measured or not, is considered to possess a FL ability.

3.2 The list of required FLs changes in accordance with the strategic and operational requirements of the CAF. FL training priority is determined by these two requirements.


3.3 To meet these requirements, the CAF:

  1. provides FL training;
  2. provides FL testing; and
  3. reports and records a CAF member's FL ability.

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4. Training


4.1 Eligibility for FL training is set out in the following table:

For a … eligibility is … and selection is made by …

CAF member,

  • based upon the requirement to fill a position or take up a posting that requires a FL ability,
  • a CM.

dependant or special dependant, as defined in CBI 10.1.01, Definitions,

  • determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon:
    • factors such as funding, scheduling, requirement, class space, homogeneity of the group, etc; and
    • the advice of the designated IT&E establishment,
  • the CDA.

Types of CAF FL Training

4.2 FL training is tailored to the requirements of the CAF and the needs of the CAF member. In general, the training curricula are based on the principles of the communicative approach.

4.3 The following table outlines three of the most common types of FL courses sponsored by the CAF:

Course Type Purpose

General FL training

Development of ability in all skills with emphasis on listening, speaking and reading, with intensive, full-time instruction.

Special/specialty course

Development of ability in all language skills, while focusing on those skills required for specific positions or special duties and operations, e.g. translation and transcription.

Refresher course

Improvement of a language ability that has diminished through lack of use, or to facilitate maintenance of a previously attained proficiency level.

Course Objectives

4.4 For each course, the course objectives:

  • depend upon the requirements of the operation, position or posting for which the training is required; and
  • are determined by the CAF organization responsible for each position requiring a FL ability, in consultation with the CDA and the IT&E establishment.

Post-course Administration

4.5 Following a CAF-sponsored FL course:

  1. a CAF member shall undergo testing to determine an end of training ability level in the FL (see the Testing map); and
  2. a course report shall be prepared and distributed by the IT&E establishment in accordance with DAOD 5031-9, Course Reporting and Certificates.

5. Testing


5.1 In this DAOD, testing is the process used to determine an individual's level of ability in a FL, not to determine placement in a language class, measure progress during a course or assess mastery of course objectives.

Requirement for Testing

5.2 Testing for FL ability:

  1. is mandatory for a CAF member who receives CAF FL training;
  2. is available to a dependant or special dependant who receives CAF FL training; and
  3. is available to a CAF member on request from a CM or CO, for career or operational reasons.


5.3 The CDA may waive the requirement for FL testing following FL training, on advice from the IT&E establishment.

Types of CAF FL Testing

5.4 The following table sets out the types of FL testing:

Type Description Purpose Standard Source Frequency
Certification testing …
  • is testing done using a validated, standardized test that measures the level of FL ability.
  • grants a valid profile, and a required CAF qualification if applicable; and
  • can be used whether the FL was acquired through CAF training or by other means.
  • is based on the established international standards and level descriptors of the Interagency Language Roundtable.
  • is acquired by the CDA and administered and graded by the IT&E establishment.
  • shall not be conducted at intervals of less than six months.
Capability assessment …
  • is testing done using an informal in-house test that estimates ability in a FL or skill for which no certification test is available.
  • yields a result of pass or fail only; and
  • is generally only used by the IT&E establishment to assess its own students.
  • is based on the instructional or linguistic objectives to be attained.
  • is developed and administered by the IT&E establishment.
  • may be administered at a frequency determined by the IT&E establishment, provided the same version of the test
    is not administered more than once to the same candidate.

Reporting CF FL Test Results

5.5 The IT&E establishment shall report a CAF member's FL test results by a written report, or a course report in accordance with DAOD 5031-9, to:

  1. the CDA;
  2. the CAF member;
  3. the CAF member's CM;
  4. the CAF member's CO; and
  5. any other CM or CO who may have requested FL testing.

Validity Period

5.6 Normally, CAF FL test results are valid for periods set out in the following table:

Military occupation Validity period

Communicator Research

Two years

Other than Communicator Research

Four years

5.7 The validity period may be modified by CDA to meet new or different CAF requirements.

6. Ability Recording

Requirement for Ability Recording

6.1 The FL ability of a CAF member shall be recorded and updated throughout the CAF member's career as set out in this map.

Ability Recording on Enrolment

6.2 During the recruiting process, the CFRC shall obtain all relevant information on the applicants FL ability.

6.3 On enrolment, the CFRC shall enter declared FL information in the CAF members HRMS Other Languages panel. Details are set out in The Military Human Resources Records Procedures (MHRRP).

Recording Process - General

6.4 The method of recording a CAF member's FL ability depends upon the source or type of assessment method used to measure or estimate the ability. The recording process is set out in the following table:

Source or Type of Assessment shall be recorded including the date in the case of a CAF certification test, in … by …

A personal assessment or judgement of a CAF member's own FL ability as being high, moderate or low

the HRMS Other Languages panel

  • the CFRC for an applicant on enrolment; and
  • the CF member's URS other than on enrolment.

Note - These entries should normally be based on information declared by the member and do not require documentary support.

Test results obtained from an organization outside of the CAF FL IT&E system, e.g. from a high school or college

An estimated level of FL ability resulting from CAF FL IT&E if the testing requirement was waived and the CAF member was not tested

the HRMS Other Languages panel

the CAF member's URS, based upon the CAF member's declaration or documented estimate.

the CAF FL databank

the CDA.

An ability level estimate determined by an informal in-house CAF FL capability assessment. See the description of "capability assessment" in the Types of CAF FL Testing block

the HRMS Other Languages panel

the CAF member's URS, based upon the CAF member's declaration or documented estimate.

the CAF FL databank

the CDA.

A CAF member's FL profile, as determined by the CAF through a certification test administered by the IT&E establishment. See "certification testing" in the Types of CAF FL Testing block

the HRMS Test Results panel for the CAF member's MPRR

Note - Ratings attained in each of the skills tested (e.g. listening, speaking, reading), shall be recorded. In the MPRR, the digit 8 is used to indicate a skill that was not tested. Plus values, e.g. "3+", are indicated using the "+" sign.

Recording Process - HRMS

6.5 The FL data is to be entered in the HRMS according to the following table:

Persons Assessed With respect to … the assessment shall be recorded by … in the … Note

An applicant on enrolment

  • an estimated level of FL ability; or
  • a tested level of ability obtained by an outside organization, e.g. a high school or college,

the CFRC on enrolment

HRMS Other Languages panel.


A CAF member

an estimated level of FL ability, estimated by the CAF member, resulting from an outside organization's testing system, or estimated by the CAF FL IT&E system (following waiving of a test or from administration of an informal in-house capability assessment),

the CAF member's URS, based upon the CAF member's declaration or documented estimate

HRMS Other Languages panel.

All estimates or test results obtained within the CAF FL IT&E system shall also be entered by the CDA into the CAF FL databank.

a certification test result,

the CDA

HRMS Test Results panel.

7. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

7.1 The following table identifies responsibilities for FL IT&E:

The … is responsible for …


  • coordinating, interpreting and promulgating the CAF FL policy; and
  • verfying that FL IT &E and related activities are consistent with CF policies and directives.
  • managing and promulgating instructions for in-country and out-of-country FL IT&E related activities;
  • identifying resources in business plans based upon forecasted FL requirements;
  • establishing FL quality requirements as set out in the CFITES and military occupation specifications and by CAF organizations requiring an FL ability;
  • verifying compliance of training or testing establishments;
  • selecting an outside training and testing agency, as required;
  • determining the eligibility of a dependant or special dependant for FL training and testing;
  • granting testing exemptions;
  • establishing and maintaining the CAF FL databank; and
  • updating the HRMS Test Results panel.
  • ensuring arrangements are made, in consultation with CDA, for FL training for a CAF member selected for a position, posting or operations requiring some FL skill;
  • requesting and coordinating FL testing with the CDA, as applicable; and
  • advising CDA of upcoming out-of-country FL training and testing resource requirements.
  • obtaining an estimation of FL ability from an applicant, if applicable, and updating the HRMS Other Languages panel.
IT&E establishment
  • assisting CAF organizations in determining the FL ability required for specific positions, postings or operations;
  • tailoring the FL training to organizational requirements and individual needs;
  • conducting FL training and testing;
  • advising the CDA on granting exemptions for testing; and
  • advising the CDA on FL training and testing for dependants or special dependants.
CAF organization with a requirement for a FL ability
  • determining, in consultation with the CDA and the designated IT&E establishment, the minimum level of FL ability needed to meet position, posting or operational requirements;
  • notifying CAF members of the requirement to test or retest; and
  • co-ordinating testing or retesting with the IT&E establishment, as applicable.
  • requesting FL testing for a CAF member when required; and
  • ensuring a CAF member's FL information is entered in the HRMS and the MPRR.
CAF member
  • requesting FL testing through the chain of command when required;
  • declaring a FL ability; and
  • verifying and updating HRMS information in the Other Languages and Test Results panels.

8. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other References

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