In September 2006, at its 87th meeting, the Advisory Committee of Deputy Ministers of Education (ACDME) agreed to strike a working group to define the steps in developing a common framework of reference for language learning and to develop a reference framework for this project. In follow-up to the recommendations of the working group in October 2008, the steering committee recommended “the use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) in the Canadian context as the framework of reference for the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and jurisdictional projects, programs, and initiatives related to second and additional languages, as appropriate.”

CMEC's decision to propose working with the CEFR in the Canadian context is well-founded. One of the merits of the CEFR, in addition to promoting a common understanding of the terminology associated with language teaching/learning and assessment for practitioners, is that it provides viable reference tools, intervention methodologies, assessment procedures, and reference levels. Referencing the CEFR must be done from a Canadian perspective.

The document Working with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in the Canadian Context: Guide for policy-makers and curriculum designers is intended to generate reflection among ministries of education and local jurisdictions, such as school boards, universities, and research centres, with respect to the potential use of the CEFR in the Canadian context. It provides possible avenues of direction to policy-makers and curriculum designers with regard to the use of the CEFR in the Canadian context, taking into account Canadian concepts of language teaching, learning, and assessment, recent research developments, and innovative programs that have been implemented in Canadian provinces and territories for over 30 years. This initiative is part of an ongoing societal response shaped by citizen mobility and by increasing numbers of multicultural and multilingual newcomers to Canada.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is available on the Council of Europe Web site.