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Language is the key.

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Bridging - Canadian Language Benchmarks and Essential Skills for the workplace

Language is the key

More than 70% of current Canadian labour force growth is due to immigration. By 2011 Human Resources and Skills Development Canada predict that immigrants will account for all labour force growth! (1)

The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarksí conducted several research and development projects in order to bridge two national skills standards.  Bridging these two standards supports a better understanding of the skills newcomers and immigrants need to reach their employment goals.

  • Canadian Language Benchmarks - Describe the second language proficiency of people and their ability to communicate effectively in the workplace and community. They describe language proficiency in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • HRSDC's Essential Skills for the workplace - Are enabling skills, for example, reading and oral communication skills, which help people participate fully in the workplace and community. Seven of the 9 Essential Skills have a scale to describe levels of task complexity. Essential Skills Profiles describe how specific skills are used in a given occupation.

Bridging the Canadian Language Benchmarks and Essential Skills supports the successful integration of adult newcomers and immigrants into the workforce:

  • For internationally-educated workers, it helps them access Essential Skills resources to better understand job specific competencies and requirements and understand the language proficiency necessary to meet those requirements.
  • For ESL/FLS professionals, it helps them use the Essential Skills resources to better understand job specific competencies and tasks, and develop more targeted workplace related language training programs.
  • For workplace trainers and career counsellors, it helps them use the Canadian Language Benchmarks to understand language skills necessary to perform tasks related to specific job competencies, and develop appropriate workplace training and development programs.
  • For employers, government and sector councils, it helps them identify better and understand the language skills required for success in the workplace.
For information on specific projects related to Canadian Language Benchmarks and Essential Skills, see:
For additional information on either of these projects, contact:
Jennifer McKay, Senior Program Manager
Tel: (613) 230-7729 ext. 176
Fax: (613) 230-9305
(1) HRSDC, Knowledge Matters (2002), page 49

Funded by Human Resources & Skills Development Canada and in partnership with the Canadian Society for Training and Development, the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, and Teachers of Ensglish as a Second Language in Canada.

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Date last updated: June 20, 2012