Positions in the federal public service require knowledge of English, French or both English and French. When both official languages are required, the positions are designated as "bilingual".
The employee or the person to be hired in a bilingual position is expected to function at a designated proficiency level in both official languages. There are three levels of official language proficiency:
These levels are established based on job requirements. Proficiency levels are assigned to three aspects of language:
For example, a position with a requirement for an intermediate level of proficiency in reading and writing but an advanced level in speaking in both English and French will have a profile of BBC/BBC. Some positions require a level "P," which is a specialized or expert requirement that sets it apart from the general proficiency levels of "A" , "B" and "C". "P" level requirements are usually reserved for Editor and Translator positions.
Job notices will indicate whether a position is designated bilingual and if so, the required level of proficiency. It will further indicate if the position is being staffed on a bilingual imperative basis (i.e. candidates must meet the language requirement when they are appointed) or non-imperative (i.e. it is not necessary for candidates to meet the requirement when they are appointed, as long as they agree to undergo training to attain the level of proficiency).
Official language proficiency is always listed in the essential qualifications for a position. If you have never been tested for a bilingual job with the federal public service, you may be unsure of your proficiency level. If you are screened in for assessment of your qualifications, you will be asked to undergo a Second Language Evaluation and subsequently you will be advised of your profile.
PSC Second Language Evaluation (SLE) results remain valid for a period of 5 years. However, if you are not successful you can still retry the SLE in another hiring process. For example, if you achieve a result of CBA (C for reading, B for writing and A for oral interaction) and you apply for a bilingual position requiring a BBB profile, you would only need to retry the Oral Interaction part of the test on which you had achieved "A".
Visit the Public Service Commission web site for more information on official language profiles.