Language Skills at Enrollment

Topic

Language Skills at Enrollment

Case number

Description

The Committee considered the possibility of requiring candidates for the Public Affairs Officer Course to take a skill test in their first Official Language declared at enrolment. Documentation obtained by the Committee confirmed that the CAF do not check the language skill level of recruits in their declared first Official Language, no matter what military occupation is desired.


The Committee determined that section 91 of the Official Languages Act allows federal organizations to impose an entry standard for Official Language proficiency when justified by the duties of the job. The Committee emphasized that the courts have recognized that such a requirement must not be discriminatory. The Committee also observed that, when entry requirements justify it, other occupations could also benefit from such an entrance test.

Recommendation

The Committee recommended that the CDS order that a bona fide occupational requirement for competence and proficiency in the first Official Language be developed and enforced for the Public Affairs Officer military occupation.

Final Authority Decision

Following the testimony provided by two seasoned Public Affairs Officers, the FA is of the view, as is the Committee, that the proficiency of the Officers in this military occupation in their first official language should be assessed, and therefore, the Committee's findings and recommendations were forwarded to the Assistant Chief of Military Personnel to guide his deliberations on the subject.  However, the FA is of the view that this requirement and it belongs to the appropriate authority to determine the requisite linguistic requirements of the occupation.

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