New Language Requirements


Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney’s proposed reform of the application process for potential citizens will impose new linguistic restrictions upon newcomers. Kenney will close doors to those who cannot prove proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages upon the submission of their application. These changes will affect thousands of applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker Program and other options hosted by the Canadian Immigration System.

Canada’s current policy on the linguistic status of newcomers mandates that applicants take a written examination that assesses their familiarity of either English or French. However there are no outlined criteria available to the public that specifies what constitutes the “basic comprehension and expression” that the government seeks.

For Kenney, a written test is an incomprehensive tool to assess language proficiency. His hard-lined modification will require that supplementary documentation—either from the completion of a state-sponsored program, secondary or post-secondary curriculum, or language test—must be submitted during the application process to validate candidates’ knowledge of either French or English.  

The Canada Gazette estimates that these new constraints will impose an absolute cost of $110 million over nine years. However Kenney defends himself by asserting that this financial impediment will be buffered by gains in productivity and increased welfare as skilled workers achieve higher incomes. 

A report that delineates the specifics of this proposed minimum standard re-adjusts this figure and estimates that the net cost of these changes will amount to only $17.5 million over nine years.

Those seeking to immigrate to Canada should refer back to our website regarding news and further changes to immigration legislation. 

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