# 2019-295 Careers, Accommodation, Bona Fide Operational Requirement – Language Proficiency, Promotion

Accommodation, Bona Fide Operational Requirement – Language Proficiency, Promotion

Case summary

F&R Date: 2021-03-29

This grievance concerned the Chief of the Defence Staff's (CDS) denial of a request to waive the second-language requirement for the grievor to be promoted. Diagnosed with a disorder that could render him unable to achieve the required skill-level in his second official language, the grievor’s best chance for success was one-on-one training with a speech-language pathologist. The Chain of Command (CoC), aware of the grievor’s diagnosis, removed him from a second language course he had been scheduled to attend. The CoC also submitted a second-language exemption request to the CDS asking to waive the language proficiency requirement. The intent was to allow the grievor to obtain a permanent promotion to an acting rank while on assignment (Acting While So Employed).

The Committee noted that the applicable policies upheld bilingual leadership as necessary for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to fulfill their obligations as a Canadian institution, and found that the CAF was required to enforce language proficiency standards for permanent promotions. With regards to the CDS’ decision not to waive the CBC requirement for the grievor, the Committee found that the grievor had been treated fairly.

However, the Committee noted that the CAF had been informed of the grievor's diagnosis more than three years earlier and acknowledged it is a learning disability. As such, the CAF had a duty to accommodate this learning disability without incurring undue hardship in terms of health, safety, and cost. The grievor had attempted to request accommodation, but had not received a determination from the Director Personnel Generation Requirements (DPGR). The grievor appears to have been left to his own devices to attempt to obtain a specialist's assessment to support his request for accommodation. 

The Committee found that the grievor had been discriminated against by the CAF in that it failed to accommodate his learning disability, which adversely impacted his employment. The Committee recommended that the matter be referred to the DPGR for assessment and approval of interim accommodation until a specialist's assessment could be completed.

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