Multilingualism raises language policy questions

The question of language is one that organizations may want to avoid addressing but can't, given Canada's increasing mix of cultures
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/15/2005

As Canadian workplaces become more and more diverse, employers may find themselves grappling with whether to impose an official language policy.

At Hay River, N.W.T., an employee of H.H. Williams Memorial Hospital last month received a letter of reprimand after someone overheard her speaking French to a colleague. According to media reports, the letter said it is rude and impolite to speak a language other than English.

Paul Vieira, chief executive officer of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority, said he wouldn’t comment on the particulars of the case. He did stress, however, that the incident “is part of a more complex personnel issue at the facility” and that there are “layers” to the incident.