French in the Canadian Federal Government

The Canadian Federal Government spends a fortune training public employees in French. It was once estimated that the cost for each anglophone public servant ,trained at public expense, who actually reaches a sufficient level to actually use French, is around one million dollars. Sounds like a lot!

A friend has a nephew who works for the Canadian International Aid Agency, CIDA. He is quite senior and so was sent on French training,on full salary, for a whole year!!! At the end of the year he decided that his French was still not good enough to enable him to be assigned to a Francophone country. He went to Vietnam (which is no longer a francophone country) instead. His French will not get better there, so the full cost of his year of language training and salary is a total waste of money.

The vast majority of public servants trained in French never use the language. They go to language schools at public expense on full salary, and then do not speak. There is the odd exception,and if all costs are averaged in, the cost for each successfully trained public servant amounts to one million dollars.


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