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Local language proficiency requirements

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Hey Everyone.

I have waited for a while in order to get a view of all the opinions on this.  And so I want to add my own thoughts as a division director of a division that has one FIR that has a language requirement that is enforced.  Specifically our Montreal FIR.  As you all may know, Canada IRL has two official national languages.  English and French.  In Quebec French is the dominant language, so much so in order to preserve the Quebec culture there is varying laws dictating how and when English may be used.

Now, back to VATSIM.  I have a Division where there is 6 FIRs which are predominantly English speaking and 1 FIR where there is a requirement for the controller to speak French to a level of being able to control.  The FIR can provide training in English and some if not all of the documentation is both in French and English.  In other words, the FIR has gone to every length to accomodate the visiting controller short of one thing.  They must be able to control in French as there is a large number of pilots that ONLY want to converse in french.  Then fly within the Montreal Airspace and not outside it.  And IRL this is also applicable.

I have and will continue to support Montreals language requirement.  While CoR dictates that all controllers must be capable of controlling in English (again which aligns with RW), I see no reason why we need to inflict those same rules on Pilots.  I would rather pilots focus their time on being able to fly and follow instructions properly than learning a new language!  At the end of the day there is a WEALTH of places where a controller looking for a new challenge can go control, in a language they are comfortable with.  There is no reason to inflict uncomfortable situations on pilots just to satisfy either a visiting controller or a "quantity first" style argument.  When there really, to my view thus far, is no empiracle data that supports that this actually is a real issue.

One thing that always sticks in my head about the Montreal FIR was a while back, they were in need of help from the training perspective.  My Divisional Training Director took the time to learn French sufficiently to be able to adequately control in the language and thus, then be able to train controllers in that FIR.  To me THAT was the right and most supportive thing to do.  And kudos to him for doing so, for myself, I am lucky that all the staff in Montreal speak English so well and are willing to hold their meetings in English when I decide to turn up 😉

I'll admit, in the initial reviews of GCAP this one slipped past me as I was overly focused on other areas.  However with the benefit of reading so many impassioned responses about this.  I have to agree this is something that is important to many areas and I am unsure there is real tangiable benefit in dictating a path in a high level policy.  Beyond, of course, it's up to the local division with RVP oversight.

I think David has put this nicely.  This is not something that should be dictated by GCAP.  This should be left at the discretion of the RVP's.  I think they are smart enough and know their respective area's well enough to make informed decisions with their divisions on what is best for each area.


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  • 2 weeks later...
13 hours ago, Lars Bergmann said:

Should this part of the policy be implemented as it is right now I would like to see a publicly available list of all Divisions and Sub-Divisions that have been granted a waiver 🙂


This information should absolutely be public.

Liesel Downes

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