Bilingualism in Moncton is Worth 50 Cents an Hour

I live in the most bilingual city in the most bilingual province in the most bilingual country in North America and yet my employer is having trouble hiring bilingual employees. Bell Sympatico subcontractor Sitel, also located in Moncton, has given up on hiring bilingual staff and hires people proficient in either official languagee.
My Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, employer just gave me a 50 cent raise because I can speak French and English. And it to has started hiring unilingual French employees.
French speaking call centre workers in southern Ontario are used to getting two or three dollars an hour more because they can speak French. Usually isn't the case in Ottawa or Montreal where there are plenty of bilinguals, especially among the minority Franco-Ontarian and Anglo-Quebecker populations.
Don't get me wrong, my Moncton New Brunswick employer pays third world salaries. This same employer paid more 10 years ago for the same job. They have trouble hiring people who graduated high-school, never mind being bilingual.
Still, it is interesting that a couple of days after my bilingual bonus is announced the government of New Brunswick abolishes early French Immersion. Based on dubious science, the government has decided to concentrate on teaching French the normal way, as a second language course. Immersion hasn't gone out the window, however, as it will be available starting in grade 5.
New Brunswick isn't bilingual because the people are, it is bilingual because the people aren't. Northern New Brunswickers are very French, South-Westerners (as well as Bathurstians and Miramichians) are very English. Even in Moncton the language divide is dramatic. Dieppe is where most French-speaking Monctonians live, and they often live exclusively in French.
That said, Moncton does have more than it's fair share of truly bilingual residents. People who can work and play in either language and have maintained both. But 50 cents an hour*!? Not sure I'd bother learning a second language for that.
*As 50 cents an hour is about $1000 a year, that is more than the $600 non-indexed bilingual bonus that the Federal Government gives its employees. He, he, he.

1 comment:

Tania said...

As a federal govm't employee who is bilingual, I get an $800/year bilingual bonus.

If I weren't bilingual, I'd get hired anyways (as an unilingual anglophone) and would then be giving free French lessons for 12 months, all the while getting paid full salary. I think it costs more than $800/yr!

Wait! it gets better! they hire someone on contract for 1 year while the "non bilingual" person is getting language training!!

Meanwhile, 20% of people who live in the national capital are bilingual.

Somehow, they aren't "qualified" for these jobs. Especially if they are non-white.

Just a coincidence.


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