What is a Bilingual Imperative (BBB) Position?

Canada has two official languages: English and French. As such, many positions require public sector employees to be fluently bilingual in both languages at the BBB level. This covers reading, writing, and speaking. 

Manager and director-level positions usually have a minimum requirement of a BBB, while some require a CBC level. Either way, not having the requisite certifications is a major career barrier. More opportunities open up to individuals who broaden their skill set. 

While learning any language can be a challenge, it is also a great gift to give yourself. With our instructors helping you to pass a SLE (Second Language Evaluation), you will be able to confidently apply to bilingual imperative jobs before you know it!

But what does “bilingual imperative” mean? What is “English Essential” or “French Essential”? Our instructors explain below.

woman looking at notes and book

Language Requirements for Jobs

Public service positions across Canada require a certain knowledge of English, French, or both languages. The job’s language requirements are based on the position’s responsibilities and duties. 

Proficiency levels for reading, writing, and speaking both official languages are: 

  • A meaning Beginner
  • B meaning Intermediate
  • C meaning Advanced

BBB language requirements indicate that an intermediate proficiency level is required.

Bilingual Imperative vs. Bilingual Non-Imperative Positions

A bilingual imperative position requires candidates to already meet the criteria of the appointment when applying. If you come across a job posting for a bilingual non-imperative appointment, candidates can apply if they agree to become bilingual using language training programs provided by the government. 

What Does “English Essential” or “French Essential” Mean?

A job description may say the following: English Essential (or French Essential), Bilingual Imperative BBB. This indicates that the hiring manager will consider candidates who are only English-speaking (or French-speaking), as well as bilingual candidates at the BBB level. 

woman helping student with homework

Apply for Language Training to Become Bilingual

Whether your first language is English, French, or something else entirely, LRDG can help you speak English or French fluently with our comprehensive courses. 

We have programs designed for ESL (English as a Second Language) and FSL (French as a Second Language) that have been used by over 30,000 public service employees. LRDG’s programs can be taken by full-time or part-time language students at all levels.

Maintaining Language Fluency is Lifelong Journey

Something that’s important to remember about government language certifications is that they’re only good for five years. This means that even after you’ve achieved your levels, you’ll eventually need to be retested and retrained down the road. 

Maintenance training will make language certification renewals much easier, saving you time and money in the long run. If you want to maintain your language fluency, LRDG has programs for that too! Linguistic maintenance is easier with LRDG!

Contact us for more information about our programs and testing methods!

Something on your mind?

Let us know what topics you'd like to see in our future blog posts!