Language requirements for candidates

In the public service positions require knowledge of English, French or both English and French. When both official languages are required, the position is designated "bilingual".

The manager is responsible for determining the language requirements of a position. This determination is based on an objective assessment of the duties and responsibilities of the position. If the position requires the knowledge of both official languages, the manager must also determine the proficiency level, in English and in French, in each of three language skills: Reading, Writing and Oral Interaction. The proficiency levels which can be assigned to each skill are: A (beginner), B (intermediate), C (advanced). In addition, certain positions requiring specialized training or expert proficiency could be assigned Code P.

The requirements of a bilingual position are summarized in a language profile, such as the following:

An example of a language profile
  Reading Writing Oral Interaction
English C B C
French C B C

A CBC/CBC profile means that a person whose first official language is French must possess the CBC level in English and a person whose first official language is English must possess the CBC level in French.

Second language proficiency is assessed by means of tests. Click here for information on the tests used by the public service.

Before staffing a bilingual position, the manager must also decide if the position will be staffed on an imperative or non-imperative basis. An imperative appointment means that the language requirements of the position must be met at the time of appointment. A non-imperative appointment means that the position can be staffed with a person who agrees to become bilingual through language training at government expense.

In determining if you will apply for a bilingual position, you should consider:

  1. whether the position is being staffed on an imperative or non-imperative basis; and
  2. the extent to which your second language proficiency corresponds to the requirements of the position.

Consult the frequently asked questions about second language requirements.

Find more information on bilingual positions in the public service.


First official language: The official language (English or French) with which an employee has a primary personal identification (that is, the official language in which a person is generally more proficient).

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