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Human Resource Manual

1208 - Bilingual Bonus

The Official Languages of the Northwest Territories are Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich'in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tlicho.

Application

These guidelines apply to all employees except those employed by the Northwest Territories (NWT) Power Corporation and employees represented by the NWTTA bargaining unit.

Definitions

Bilingual Required is a position where the ability to speak more than one official language is required by the Employer to provide adequate service in the community or region the position serves.

Bilingual Preferred means the ability of an individual employee to speak an official language in addition to English is an asset to the position as the employee may occasionally provide service in another official language (e.g., field calls or requests from the public or interjurisdictional inquiries) but is not a requirement of the position.

Guidelines

  1. Deputy Heads are responsible for establishing levels of service in official languages and for commitments under the Official Languages Act. Deputy Heads decide how official language services are provided within their Department or Agency.
  2. Employees in positions that are assigned translation and/or interpreter duties in a particular language in their job descriptions are not eligible for the bilingual bonus for use of the designated language. Compensation for this language use is provided through the job evaluation process. Examples of these positions include interpreter/translators, legal translators, and clerk interpreters.
  3. The Deputy Head shall advise the Department of Finance  (Comptroller General and Human Resources branches) of approved bilingual bonus requests under the Bilingual Preferred category and provide the:
    1. employee name;
    2. employee location; and
    3. language being used.
  4. The Department of Finance, Human Resources Branch, will provide:
    1. Deputy Heads with annual reports on employees who are receiving the bilingual bonus; and
    2. the Francophone Affairs Secretariat with annual reports on employees who are receiving the French language bilingual bonus.

Bilingual Required

  1. Employees in positions, other than employees assigned duties of translation and interpretation in their job descriptions, required by the Employer to use two or more of the official languages of the NWT shall receive a bilingual bonus of $1,200 per annum.
  2. Bilingual Required positions are determined by Deputy Heads.
  3. When a position has been designated Bilingual Required it will be identified, along with the required language, in the job description. If available, the required language proficiency should also be included in the job description.
  4. If an employee changes positions (i.e., transfer assignment or promotion, etc.), the bilingual bonus is terminated, unless the employee is moving to a position designated as a Bilingual Required position.

Bilingual Preferred

  1. Employees who use more than one official language occasionally during their regular workday in positions that are not designated as Bilingual Required may apply for the bilingual bonus under Bilingual Preferred.
  2. Examples of jobs where an employee may be approved for the bilingual bonus under the Bilingual Preferred category include, but are not limited to:
    1. communication officers
    2. economic development officers
    3. classroom assistants
    4. community health nurses
    5. hospital nurses
    6. health promotion and education officers
    7. community health representatives
    8. community health aides
    9. lay dispensers
    10. juridical officers
    11. social service workers
    12. social services, health or education attendants for:
      1. boarding homes
      2. transient centres
      3. residences
      4. correctional facilities
    13. renewable resource officers
    14. assistant renewable resource officers
    15. Housing Corporation officers in district offices or communities
  3. The employing Department or Agency will review the request against criteria established for official languages provided in their Department or Agency as well as, but not limited to the following criteria:
    1. The employee uses a second official language occasionally during their regular workday in their provision of services and the bilingual service provided by the employee is more substantial than simply passing off a client to another bilingual colleague;
    2. The employee should possesses an adequate language proficiency to provide occasional services in the second language;
    3. The employee is NOT working in a bilingual required designated position;
    4. The employee is NOT working in a position whose job description states that the major responsibilities require the use of another language (i.e., legal translator, clerk/interpreter).

Evaluation of Language Abilities​

  1. Evaluation of all language abilities is coordinated by the Department of Finance, Human Resources Branch.
  2. Individuals in the process of being appointed to a Bilingual Required position are required to successfully undergo an evaluation as part of the recruitment process, prior to a job offer being made.
  3. Unless otherwise required, to be eligible for the bilingual bonus, employees using an official second language(s) other than English and French must demonstrate an adequate level of skill to provide occasional services in that language.
  4. Language Abilities must be re-evaluated if there is a reasonable basis to believe an employee receiving the bonus may not be providing adequate bilingual services.

French Language Specific Provisions within the Evaluation of Languages Abilities

  1. Unless otherwise required, to be eligible for the bilingual bonus employees using French must undergo a standardized evaluation and achieve a minimum of:
    1. intermediate level of oral expression and comprehension;
    2. basic level in reading comprehension; and
    3. basic level in writing expression.
  2. Where an employee is unable to meet the required proficiencies:
    1. In the case of a French Bilingual Required position, a Language Proficiency Attainment Agreement must be developed outlining what the employee will do and what supports will be provided in order to be evaluated at the required proficiency level within one year.  If the employee is still unable to achieve the required proficiency the employee may be subject to consideration for voluntary reassignment or the employee may no longer be able to hold the position.
    2. In the case of a French Bilingual Preferred employee, a Language Proficiency Attainment Agreement may be developed at the department’s discretion for the employee to be evaluated at the language proficiencies within one year.  Where an employee is still unable to achieve the proficiency level the department will discontinue the bilingual bonus.

Authorities and References

Official Languages Act

Main Collective Agreement with UNW
Article 24.12 - Pay

Senior Managers' Handbook
Bilingual Allowance

Excluded Employees' Handbook
Bilingual Allowance