Beyond Words - Language Blog

Canada Considers Mandatory Language Tests for Immigrants

In a controversial move, Ottowan officials have proposed mandatory language testing for immigrants who want to enter Canada as skilled workers.

As reported in The Toronto Star, supporters of the mandatory English and French proficiency tests claim that, “the measures would make the process of proving they can fluently speak one of Canada’s official languages more transparent.”

Criticism of the proposal ranges from accusations of racism to claims that the mere annoyance of mandatory testing for immigrants from France, the United States, or England might dissuade potential immigrants from contributing to Canada’s economy.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

Comments

  1. I think it depends upon how the testing is administered and handled: Are the tests going to be on-site and proctored? Can I take the test over the phone or online? The crux of the issue isn’t whether language proficiency should be necessary, as Canada already factors language proficiency in the skilled immigrant qualification process, but rather how it should be measured. Currently all that’s needed is a letter testifying to those abilities, which seems like a flawed method of validating someone’s language skills. If language assessment is a part of the process, I think it should be done right. But that doesn’t mean I want to drive for hours and take a day off of work to take an on-site test.

  2. I am not favor on the Ottowan officials’ mandatory language testing proposal, as it is a clear form of racism.
    Proficiency in English and French languages should not be a basis whether an immigrant worker for Canada would become efficient, there are other factors to consider.

  3. Thanks for the thoughtful response, Nathan.

    Great point about the inconvenience of on-site testing. The Canadian test is run by International English Language Testing Systems, and if you plan to move to Ottowa from the U.S., you might have to drive quite a distance to find one of their testing centers.

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