Social Work Migration Project

Language Requirement

Our research has shown that adaptation of language is an essential element of professional adaptation. There are many challenges with language and the level of proficiency in English and/or French that is expected, is not always clear.

To learn more about the experience of language adaptation in Quebec, look at our research here.


In Québec, professional associations cannot grant a license to practice without the appropriate level of French language, according to the Charter of the French Language (2002, Article 35).

The charter recognizes that a person has this knowledge if:

  • [she] has received, full time, no less than three years of secondary or post-secondary instruction provided in French;
  • [she] has passed the fourth or fifth year secondary level examinations in French as the first language;
  • from and after the school year 1985-86, [she] obtains a secondary school certificate in Québec.

In all other cases, a person must obtain a certificate issued by the Québécois Office of the French Language or hold a certificate defined as equivalent by regulation of the Government. This applies to anyone who wishes to obtain a license to practice any professional occupation regulated by the Professional Code of Québec. This is the obligation of the College of Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists of Québec.

In the rest of Canada

New Brunswick is Canada’s only officially bilingual province; French and English. Some social work positions in New Brunswick require proficiency in both languages, depending on the type of work and the region.

New Brunswick wants to improve immigration by French-speakers and is offering incentives for French-speakers to come to the province through it’s Francophone Immigration Action Plan. These immigration policies are a part of a larger and well-defined multiculturalism policy with specific strategies towards financial and community support for newcomers in New Brunswick. These policies are a result of New Brunswick’s Population Growth Strategy.

Outside of Québec, every province has French-speaking communities. Like New Brunswick, some positions require bilingualism, however the majority require proficiency in English only.

To immigrate to Canada, the federal government requires non-native English and French speakers to provide language proficiency test results, to be submitted along with your application to immigrate.