Official Languages

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is committed to achieving a public service that embodies linguistic duality and is able to serve the public in their official language of choice.

The PSC provides expertise in policy development, application and interpretation with regard to official languages in the appointment process. The Commission helps ensure that persons participate in the process in the official language(s) of their choice and meet the official language proficiency requirements for the work to be performed, except when otherwise excluded. The PSC examines the use of the Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order and Public Service Official Languages Appointment Regulations, assists organizations in applying its terms and conditions, and reports the findings in its annual report to Parliament. The PSC also provides Second Language Evaluation for the assessment of proficiency in the second official language.


Public Service Employment Act

The preamble to the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) states that Canada will continue to gain from a public service that strives for excellence, that is representative of Canada's diversity and that is able to serve the public with integrity and in their official language of choice.

The preamble goes on to state that the Government of Canada is committed to a public service that embodies linguistic duality.

The PSEA maintains some of the current requirements concerning language in the appointment process, in particular, the following:

  • Section 20 of the PSEA outlines that, with the approval of the Governor in Council, the Commission may exclude a position, person or class of positions or persons from the application of the PSEA or any of its provisions (Public Service Official Languages Exclusion Approval Order (PSOLEAO));
  • Subsection 30(2)a outlines that an appointment is made on the basis of merit when the person appointed meets the essential qualifications for the position, including official language proficiency;
  • Subsection 37(1) outlines that an examination or an interview, when conducted for the purpose of assessing essential qualifications and additional qualifications considered to be an asset, other than language proficiency, shall be conducted in English or French or both at the option of the candidate, regardless of the linguistic requirements of the position or its location; and
  • Subsection 37(2) outlines that an examination or interview, when conducted for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of the candidate in the knowledge and use of English, or French, or both, or of a third language, shall be conducted in that language or those languages.

Related Links:

Official Languages Act

The Official Languages Act (OLA) ensures that French and English have equal status, rights and privileges in federal government institutions. The OLA defines the major principles of representativeness of the two official language communities. It contains provisions concerning the delivery of services (Part IV), the language of work (Part V), the full participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians (Part VI) and the advancement of French and English (Part VII). The OLA also stresses that the application of official language requirements to positions must be objective (section 91).

Policies and guidelines


Outreach activities to encourage Official Languages Minority Community members and students to apply to Federal Public Service jobs.

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