OLBI's Areas of Specialization

Second-language Teaching and Acquisition


Our experienced, highly qualified professors lead innovative courses and programs for students wanting to learn a second language or increase their proficiency in that language. Our services also extend to university staff and professors, as well as to clients from the public, private and paragovernmental sectors. Our Resource Centre also gives professors, researchers and students access to an extensive collection of references and other materials perfectly suited for both research and learning. Official-languages monitors are on hand to help craft tailored learning strategies and approaches.

Innovative Academic Programs

In collaboration with the Faculty of Education, we offer an honours bachelor's degree and a major in second language teaching.

We also offer specialty courses such as the second language certification course. This course allows students to confirm their second-language skills -- a definite asset when entering the workforce.

Our academic immersion stream and our RAAFI program, an English language learning option for the international Francophone community, are the only such academic offerings in North America.

The academic immersion stream allows students to pursue all or part of their studies in a second language and adds the mention "immersion" to their degree. This personalized approach to university studies can be combined with more than 50 programs at the University of Ottawa.

RAAFI makes learning English an integral part of all undergraduate programs. Students from La Francophonie can pursue part of their studies in English while benefiting from one-on-one support.

OLBI continues to design and market products that meet its clients' expectations and keep step with the new realities of the labour market. We will continue to add interdisciplinary programs at all levels, and continue to hone our teaching and acquisition strategies to promote both bilingualism and academic excellence.

Language Assessment

The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute is a cutting-edge designer, user and administrator of language testing and evaluation instruments, both at the University of Ottawa itself and among external agencies and organizations.

Our Testing and Evaluation Sector boasts a staff of highly seasoned professionals whose expertise make OLBI an essential reference in this field, not only at the University, but also on the Canadian and international markets.

Our activities include:

  • Design, administration and updating of ESL and FSL proficiency tests for the University of Ottawa community;
  • Administration of tests for external clients, including the Test de connaissance du francais (TCF), and the TCF in Quebec for newcomers;
  • Design and administration of both the CanTEST and the TESTCan, as well as proficiency classification and evaluation instruments for university admissions and professional accreditations;
  • Recognition of language proficiency for individuals working towards the Second Language Certificate;
  • Evaluation of second language teaching programs.

We invite potential clients from all sectors, such as university, government, paragovernmental or private to take advantage of our personalized services. Our team will use the most up-to-date tools and techniques to provide you with effective assessment instruments that are tailored to your needs.

Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning (CCERBAL)

Our research centre allows OLBI and the University of Ottawa to assert their roles as catalysts for the growth of bilingualism in Canada. Specifically, the CCERBAL strives to be a national and international hub for the study and design of public policy on bilingualism and linguistic duality.

The Centre, which gathers internationally recognized researchers focused on OLBI's specialty areas, is establishing itself as a prime consultant for those dealing with issues related to language planning and social cohesion. Its services are open to the Canadian and international university communities, to all levels of government and to public and paragovernmental agencies with bilingualism and official language responsibilities.

By attracting top researchers from here and elsewhere and by building a first-rate research infrastructure, the CCERBAL aims to promote interdisciplinarity and international exchanges and discussions. The Centre also plans to set up research chairs in a number of areas such as society and bilingualism, new technologies used in language instruction, evaluation of language skills and language policies. On the strength of these initiatives, both OLBI and the CCERBAL will become essential sources of expertise in bilingualism and language planning.

On behalf of the entire OLBI team, let me take this opportunity to thank my colleague Aline Germain-Rutherford for her two years of excellent service as Director of CCERBAL. It is on the foundations of what she built and consolidated that I will be succeeding her as of July 1, 2011.

Marie-Josée Hamel 

Director, CCERBAL

CCERBAL website

Development and Promotion Office

The Development and Promotion Office's mission is to promote our expertise in language teaching and acquisition, in research, in testing and evaluation, and in language planning, both across Canada and abroad. It therefore works to heighten the University of Ottawa's and OLBI's reputations as centres of excellence for analysis, research and innovation serving university communities, as well as public, private and paragovernmental agencies and organizations.

The Office also acts as a broker for Canadian institutions to market Canadian products and services and to share best practices across the country and around the world in the area of bilingualism and official languages. As well, the Office administers an array of OLBI and University of Ottawa initiatives, including:

We also enter into formal partnerships with Canadian and foreign institutions interested in issues surrounding bilingualism and linguistic diversity. For example, we are proud to have entered into a cooperation agreement with the Council of Europe's European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

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