Guiding principles for alternate methods to second language evaluation tests: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. In this context, organizations are seeking flexibility in assessing language qualifications for appointment purposes.
To permit flexibility in assessing second language proficiency, pursuant to its authority under ss. 29(3) of the Public Service Employment Act, the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Canada is granting a temporary exception to requirement 12 of the Appointment Policy. Requirement 12 states that proficiency in the second official language must be assessed using second language evaluation tests approved by the PSC.
The method of assessing proficiency in a candidate’s second official language must respect the PSC’s Appointment Policy, except requirement 12, as noted above. The method needs to ensure that:
- candidates meet the essential official language requirements
- those conducting the assessment have the necessary competencies, including official language(s), to assess the qualifications
- accommodation measures are provided to candidates who need them
The assessor(s) must:
- be proficient enough in the language being assessed to be able to assess the second official language proficiency required for the bilingual position
- review and understand the descriptions of language proficiency set out for levels A, B and C oral, written expression and reading comprehension established in the Treasury Board Secretariat's Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages
- be someone other than the candidate’s former or current second language instructor, in order to avoid a conflict of interest
- Sub-delegated hiring managers determine the assessment method and whether the required official language proficiency is met for each required skill.
- The assessment method must produce a “pass/fail” result.
- For all appointments over 12 months, second language results must be confirmed with PSC SLE tests within 12 months of the appointment.
- When second language proficiency is assessed using tests other than the standard PSC SLE tests, the assessment results aren’t transferable to appointments to any other position.
- The organization must establish mechanisms to monitor appointments for which alternate methods to PSC SLE tests are used.
- Organizations will ensure that these measures are applied consistently and will be required to report on their use in the 2020–21 reporting to the PSC for annex D of the Appointment Delegation and Accountability Instrument.
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