Working Temporarily in Canada – English or French Optional?
By Author: Admin | January 25, 2010
A recent bulletin (170) by the Canada’s immigration department has clarified the assessment of language skills for persons seeking a temporary work permit. This bulletin reminds visa officers and port of entry officers that the level of English or French for a work permit holder must be related to the job being performed.
A helpful excerpt states,
“…it is not appropriate for an officer to consider perceived challenges the applicant might face in interacting with the broader community, such as availing him/herself of community services, if this is not relevant to their job performance. Such a consideration is beyond the scope of the current legislation.”
This bulletin confirms that persons employed in such tasks as fruit pickers, and ethnic food cooks do not have to demonstrate a particular level of one of Canada’s official languages unless it is relevant for the performance of the job being offered in Canada. This coheres nicely with the current occupation list for federal skilled workers which includes chefs.
This bulletin is of course being made with regard to the language needs of the job being offered. Thus, it is obvious that a nanny on a live-in caregiver work permit must have a sufficient knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages to navigate such essential services like reading medication bottles, or calling 911.
In the grand scheme of Canadian society, Canadian farmers will not have to pick their own produce. Further, this move may eventually see more foreign workers displace Canadians in more lucrative jobs. This has been a concern in the recent past:
Some companies like Maple Leaf Foods in Manitoba have availed themselves of foreign workers and are creating a system by which work permit holders can obtain permanent resident status in Canada:
There is of course nothing wrong with Maple Leaf foods employing foreigners on temporary work visas, as long as it is true that local Canadians are not interested in working there. This latter issue is the mandate of a different government office, Service Canada.
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