Regulation 200(3)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR/2002-227 provides that an officer shall not issue a work permit to a foreign national if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign national is unable to perform the work sought.
An issue that is becomming increasingly common is whether someone has sufficient language ability to perform the work sought.
For the most part, the Federal Court has been very deferential to visa officers when assessing whether they have the language requirements to perform the work sought.
In Sen v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 777, for example, Madam Justice Strickland determined that it was reasonable for a visa officer to determine that someone with a 3.5 IELTS reading score could not perform the duties of a Cook in Canada because they might be unable to follow recipes, read notes from serving staff, and read food safety instructions.
In Singh v. CAnada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 638 Justice Bell set aside the refusal of a work permit application for a truck driver. There, an officer wrote “I have concerns regarding the applicant’s English language skills which are also listed as a requirement for the position on the LMO. While the applicant has an overall band score of 5.5. on the IELTS, I note that he only received a score of 4.5 in reading and a 5 in speaking. Although the LMIA does not explicitly state a minimum required IELTS score for this position, I note that the British Council classifies students at this band level as being a “Limited user [whose] basic competence is limited to familiar situations. [They] frequently show problems in understanding and expression. [They] are not able to use complex language.”
Justice Bell determined that relying solely on the IELTS description was improper. He wrote:
The fact that a resume is in English or that a resume states that someone speaks English is generally not persuassive evidence that one actually speaks English. In Puyda v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2022 FC 82, Justice McHaffie stated: