VICTORIA – For the first time in B.C. immigrants will receive advanced workplace-specific, settlement-focused language training to help them find and keep jobs and settle into their communities.
The pilot project starting November 2011 is supported by $5.5 million in new funding, and is part of the government’s investment in free English language classes under the English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) program.
The new project delivers on the commitment made in Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan to support newcomers and enable them to fill some of the over one million jobs anticipated to open in B.C. over the next decade.
Around 19,000 students are expected to benefit from the complete suite of ELSA classes offered in more than 35 communities across the province in 2011. The workplace-specific curriculum, part of ELSA Levels 6 and 7, will be introduced this fall in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Southern Vancouver Island.
The ELSA program is offered through WelcomeBC – www.welcomebc.ca – the Province’s umbrella of services for immigrant settlement and integration services. An annual budget of $40 million is provided through federal and provincial funding.
Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism –
“The federal government continues to work in partnership with the Province of British Columbia to help newcomers transition and become productive members of Canadian society.”
“Language is an important component of success here in Canada; the sooner newcomers improve their language skills, the sooner they will integrate into the job market and produce value in our economy.”
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation –
“Language training is a vital service for B.C. immigrants who want to play an active part in their local communities and workforce.”
“Better English language skills will ensure that our newcomers are able to continue making valuable contributions to the B.C. communities they now call home.”
· Since 2008, more than $160 million in federal and provincial funding has been invested in English language development services for immigrants under WelcomeBC.
· The ELSA program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement. This year over $100 million has been provided for immigration programs.
· In 2010-11, the Province spent approximately $37 million on ELSA Literacy to Level 5 programs throughout British Columbia.
· B.C. continues to be one of Canada’s most popular destinations for new immigrants, welcoming more than 40,000 newcomers each year.
· Services through WelcomeBC are provided to more than 100,000 newcomers in 66 communities across the province, by more than 100 service providers.
· WelcomeBC’s award-winning website recently served its one-millionth client, and is now accessible in several languages, making it easier for immigrants to access vital information.
· By 2019, it’s expected that there will be over a million job openings in the province, and skilled immigrants will play a vital role in filling many of those positions.
· For more information on ELSA programs, eligibility and locations, visit:http://www.welcomebc.ca/wbc/immigration/settle/learn/elsa.page
· For information about other WelcomeBC programs, visit: www.welcomebc.ca
· For information on ‘Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan’, visit: