LRDG awarded one of the first-ever National Master Standing Offers Learn more
LRDG logo
What is the Canadian Government’s Bilingual Test?

What is the Canadian Government’s Bilingual Test?

The Canadian Government’s official bilingual test is known as the Second Language Evaluation (SLE). This is a comprehensive three-part language proficiency examination that government employees must take to demonstrate their abilities to read, write, and speak in either of Canada’s two official languages: French and English — whichever is considered their second language.

SLEs are designed to ensure agencies and crown corporations can properly staff positions regulated by Canada’s official language laws. The SLE structure also ensures that certain bilingual public service roles can efficiently and effectively serve the public in both languages.

What is the Canadian Government's SLE Test? 3 phases

What’s on the Second Language Evaluation (SLE)?

The SLE is made up of three separate evaluations, each assessing a different component of communication: The Oral Language Assessment, the Test of Written Expression, and the Test of Reading Comprehension.

Test of Reading Comprehension

Candidates taking the Unsupervised Test of Reading Comprehension are assessed on their ability to read and understand work-related texts written in their second language.

A test taker will be provided with 45 minutes to answer 25 multiple-choice questions. This test requires that participants read a passage of work-related text, such as an email or memo, and then answer a question regarding the content with the most appropriate answer.

Test of Written Expression

The Unsupervised Test of Written Expression evaluates a candidate’s ability to effectively write and communicate with others on work-related matters in their second language.

In this exam, learners have 45 minutes to answer 30 multiple-choice questions, which include fill-in-the-blank exercises and error identification. Test takers are prompted to select the most appropriate word or phrase to complete a sentence or to choose the correct version of a sentence in a paragraph.

The Oral Language Assessment

Previously known as the Test of Oral Proficiency, the SLE Oral Language Assessment measures the ability of public servants to serve the Canadian public in both French and English by measuring their oral proficiency in their second language.

The oral assessment is conducted via video conference with a live accessor who speaks with the candidate, listens to their responses, and asks follow-up questions.

The live accessor assigns test takers with a proficiency level following the test. These results are based on the candidate’s exemplified oral capabilities in fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

Why Does Canada Require the SLE?

The SLE is developed by the Public Service Commission of Canada, which is responsible for administering and overseeing the SLE program.

Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as its official languages under the country’s official language laws, Meaning Canadians have the right to be served in either language when engaging with federal agencies and crown corporations.

The SLE is designed to aid departments and agencies in staffing bilingual positions and ensures government employees are proficient in both languages to ensure effective communication and service provision across the country.

Depending on the position and responsibilities, public service employees can be required to have various levels of fluency and proficiency. Some of the levels are non-negotiable requirements to be hired to the positions, while other roles will allow candidates to initiate second language training on the job.

How Can LRDG Help?

LRDG provides a comprehensive, personalised, and flexible approach to help public service job candidates prepare for their SLEs. With over 30,000 successful learners since 2002 and a 90% test success rate, LRDG creates tailored learning plans, offers flexible scheduling, and provides expert advice and training.

Our unique methodology, one-on-one tutoring, and round-the-clock access to interactive online learning materials make them a trusted partner in achieving your language proficiency goals. Whether you’re aiming to build confidence in your second language, improve your writing skills, or master complex conversational topics, LRDG offers the support and resources to help you succeed on your first try.

Find Out More 

What is the Canadian Government's SLE Test?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Canadian Government’s Bilingual Test?
The Canadian Government’s official French-English bilingual evaluation is the Second Language Evaluation (SLE) test. This is a three-part proficiency exam that public-sector employees must pass to demonstrate their abilities to read, write, and speak in Canada’s two official languages.

What’s on the Second Language Evaluation (SLE)?
The SLE is made up of three separate evaluations: The Test of Reading Comprehension, the Test of Written Expression, and the Test of Oral Proficiency. These tests measure a candidate’s ability to speak, write, and comprehend the second language, respectively.

Why Does Canada Require the SLE?
As a result of Canada’s official language laws, Canadians have a right to be served by their government and crown corporations in either English or French. The SLE is designed to ensure public service agencies can find and staff positions with qualified bilingual candidates.