Tool for the linguistic identification of positions

Disclaimer: The results obtained using this tool may vary depending on a number of factors, including how the tool is used and the user’s level of knowledge. The tool also may not be suitable for all situations. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages therefore cannot guarantee that the results will be in full compliance with the requirements of section 91 of the Official Languages Act. We encourage you to always consult your institution’s official languages staff when establishing the linguistic identification of a position.

*Before starting, it is important to ensure that the work description for the position to be staffed is an accurate reflection of the duties performed by the incumbent and that the work unit’s organization chart is up to date. It is also important to know whether the position is in a designated bilingual region (link is external).

 

**With the 2023 amendments to the Official Languages Act, Section 91 now makes reference to all of the obligations under the Act as a whole. When reviewing the language requirements for a position, the obligations set out in Parts IV and V remain at the forefront. A position’s language requirements must always be shown to be objectively necessary for the performance of that position’s duties.

Functions of the position related to Part IV (Communications with and Services to the Public) or Part V (Language of Work) of the Official Languages Act

The purpose of this step is to identify the functions performed by a position’s incumbent that require communicating with or providing services to the public, or respecting the language-of-work rights of federal public servants.

Does the incumbent of the position have to communicate orally or in writing with the public from a designated office that is required to provide communications with and services to the public in both official languages?

Does the incumbent of the position have to communicate orally or in writing with the public from a designated office that is required to provide communications with and services to the public in both official languages?

Definitions

The public
The public includes any person, group of people (professional associations or others) or organization or company (other than a Crown corporation) in Canada or abroad, as well as any representative of another level of government, who communicates with or receives a service from a federal institution, excluding officers and employees of institutions subject to the Official Languages Act when carrying out their duties.
Designated office
An office is designated as bilingual for communications with and services to the public if it meets at least one of the criteria set out in the Official Languages Act or in the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations. Here are some examples of the criteria:
  • Head or central office of the institution
  • Located in the National Capital Region
  • Belongs to an institution that reports directly to Parliament
  • There is significant demand for services in both official languages
  • Due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office be available in both English and French
The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat maintains a publicly available directory of the designated bilingual offices for communications with and services to the public. However, this directory may be incomplete or out of date; therefore, the above-mentioned criteria should be independently verified.
Does the incumbent hold an assistant deputy minister position or an equivalent-level position?
Is the incumbent a manager or executive who is responsible for a designated bilingual region and whose functions include supervising staff, participating as a regular member of the institution’s management team, playing a significant role in exercising the institution’s authority to direct or to provide services to other institutions, representing the institution to the public or employees of the institution, or playing a significant role in coordinating the programs or activities of employees in bilingual regions?
Does the incumbent have to supervise employees who work in a designated bilingual region (e.g., assign tasks, establish priorities, evaluate performance, approve leave)?

Does the incumbent have to provide central services or personal services to employees located in a designated bilingual region?

Does the incumbent have to provide central services or personal services to employees located in a designated bilingual region?

Definitions

Central services
Central services are provided by the federal institution to its employees to enable them to perform their duties. They include legal, administrative, security, library, procurement, instructional and training services.
Personal services
Personal services are provided by the federal institution to its employees on an individual basis or for personal reasons. They include payroll, employee benefits and health care services.

Does the incumbent have to communicate with employees of another federal institution located in a designated bilingual region as part of services provided by a central federal institution that has authority to direct or serve it?

Does the incumbent have to communicate with employees of another federal institution located in a designated bilingual region as part of services provided by a central federal institution that has authority to direct or serve it?

Definition

Central federal institution
Central institutions (which serve or have authority over other federal institutions) include the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Department of Finance Canada, the Public Service Commission of Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, the Canada School of Public Service, Public Services and Procurement Canada, and other institutions listed in the Common Services Policy.

Does the incumbent have to create a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages in a designated bilingual region (e.g., manage projects, provide functional supervision, mentor or coach, lead or chair meetings, make presentations, represent the institution at events)?

Does the incumbent have to create a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages in a designated bilingual region (e.g., manage projects, provide functional supervision, mentor or coach, lead or chair meetings, make presentations, represent the institution at events)?

Definition

Work environment conducive to the use of both official languages
A work environment is conducive to the use of both official languages when the organizational culture systematically encourages employees to use the official language of their choice in the workplace.
Does the incumbent have to be able to communicate in both official languages for any other reason?
Is the incumbent located in a designated bilingual region, where the incumbent can work entirely in the official language of his or her choice?
Is the incumbent located in a region where English is the predominant language?

Language requirements of the position and bilingual composition of the team

The purpose of this step is to establish the appropriate language requirements (English Essential, French Essential or Bilingual)Footnote * for a position, taking into consideration the bilingual composition of the team that the position is part of (i.e., the composition of the team in terms of the language requirements of positions).

Return to footnote * referrerNote: For the purposes of this tool (i.e., for positions that have functions related to parts IV or V of the Act) the “English or French Essential” (either/or) language requirement is not relevant.

Are the functions for which a Yes response was given in previous questions shared among several colleagues of equivalent groups and levels within a team (i.e., are they included in the other colleagues’ official functions)?

Does the composition of the team, in terms of the language requirements of equivalent positions (same group and level), reflect the percentage of requests for communications or services in each official language while ensuring that communications and services of equal quality are always available in both official languages?

Does the composition of the team, in terms of the language requirements of equivalent positions (same group and level), reflect the percentage of requests for communications or services in each official language while ensuring that communications and services of equal quality are always available in both official languages?

Definition

Language requirements
The term “language requirements” is used in this section strictly as defined in Appendix 1 of the Treasury Board of Canada’s Directive on Official Languages for People Management.
Considering the composition of the team, will the incumbent be required to interact with English-speaking AND French-speaking members of the public or federal employees, or with people whose language preference is not known or identifiable?
Is the incumbent required to interact ONLY with English-speaking members of the public or federal employees?

The position must be identified as Bilingual with a linguistic profile of at least CBC.

The position must be identified as Bilingual.

Linguistic profile

The purpose of this step is to analyze the duties to be performed by the incumbent in both official languages in order to establish the appropriate linguistic profile for the position based on the Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages.

Note: Level A is used only in assessing individual skills; it is not used in establishing the linguistic profile of a position. Code P is reserved exclusively for language specialists, such as writers, editors, translators and teachers.

Written comprehension in the incumbent’s second official language

Do the functions for which a Yes response was given in previous questions require the incumbent to be able to do any of the following, for example?

  • Understand texts dealing with a wide variety of work-related topics
  • Understand complex details, inferences and fine points of meaning and have good comprehension of specialized or less familiar material
  • Read work-related texts—e.g., policy papers, research papers, technical reports, books, complex contract or specifications, legislation or regulations—in order to ensure completeness and accuracy, extract details for action or interpretation, review for meaning and tone when they were prepared by others, obtain an in-depth understanding of the content, assess implications, provide comments or make recommendations
Q3.1

Written expression in the incumbent’s second official language

Do the functions for which a Yes response was given in previous questions require the incumbent to be able to do any of the following, for example?

  • Write explanations or descriptions in a variety of informal and formal work-related situations
  • Write texts where ideas are developed and presented in a coherent manner
  • Modify or correct texts to improve meaning, tone, clarity and conciseness using grammar and spelling that are generally appropriate and require few corrections
  • Write work-related correspondence, briefing notes, memoranda, reports, recommendations, research papers, comprehensive summaries or detailed presentations in order to provide or request detailed facts and reasons or to provide information or comment on contentious issues
Q3.2

Oral proficiency in the incumbent’s second official language

Do the functions for which a Yes response was given in previous questions require the incumbent to be able to do any of the following, for example?

  • Talk about sensitive situations where the understanding and expression of subtle, abstract or complicated ideas are required or where unfamiliar work-related topics must be dealt with
  • Support opinions and understand and express hypothetical and conditional ideas
  • Give and understand explanations and descriptions involving complicated details, hypothetical questions or complex and abstract ideas
  • Give and understand detailed accounts of events, actions taken or procedures to be followed
  • Discuss or explain policies, procedures, regulations, programs and services relating to an area of work
  • Deal with situations requiring persuasion/negotiation, complex arguments and/or the seamless exchange of ideas in both official languages
  • Deliver presentations on complex topics and answer follow-up questions and/or conduct training sessions
  • Counsel and give advice to employees or clients on sensitive or complex issues
  • Participate as a member of a selection board, interview board or assessment team
Q3.3