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Language schools to play a key role in Canada’s immigration strategy

Language is a fundamental element of communication, vitally important for most service careers, particularly for those jobs that rely almost entirely on human interaction.

In the workplace, that means the more interactive the vocation, the greater the need for clear communication.

That is often the first obstacle for new Canadians who come to this country to participate in an active workforce where they hope to achieve a higher standard of living than they had in their country of origin.

Communication in the workplace

English-language training provides the necessary tool to achieve that. Personal service workers, for instance, are constantly interacting with the patients and their family members to provide the help they need and the comfort they seek. And talking to colleagues and others in the workplace daily is an important aspect of the job.

Newcomers seeking to fill positions in other allied health professions — nursing or medical device operation — also require solid knowledge of the vocabulary attached to that particular field. The level of proficiency increases with the degree of interaction specific to the vocation.

The argument can be made that truck drivers don’t need as much language training to do their jobs as someone who works in the healthcare profession where life and death decisions are sometimes made. However, basic knowledge of the fundamentals of the English language is important for anyone coming to Canada to work.

Language training key to Canada’s education sector

Canada’s language schools are often the first stop for new Canadians from non-English-speaking countries who must build the grounding of language for these positions, in addition to the skills training they seek. That becomes evident in the rapid increase in international student numbers.

A research paper commissioned last year by Languages Canada, which represents more than 200 schools, found language education represents an integral part of the country’s $22 billion per year international education sector.

For many students, language programs are the first step in their pursuit of Canadian post-secondary credentials, providing them with an opportunity to live in and experience Canada. The study found Canada is the fourth most popular destination for English language learners globally and the second most preferred place of study for French language courses.

Already more than half of Canadians are considered newcomers. And the demand isn’t and shouldn’t be letting up. In fact, it is bound to continue and build, given the dire need to bring more immigrants to Canada to fill the growing number of job vacancies here.

Immigration and the aging workforce

Newcomers are critical as one-quarter of the Canadian workforce will be over the age of 65 and in the position to retire by 2030. The only way for the country to grow its population is to welcome workers from other countries through a careful but liberalized immigration policy.

Not only is there a need to fill the existing and anticipated vacancies but new Canadians also add to the tax base as well as the economy overall. They will shop, get loans to buy houses and cars and contribute to their communities.

Even arriving as students, new Canadians must buy food and the necessities of life and pay rent as they develop skills to further the economy.

Immigrants rightfully see Canada as the land of opportunity. But policymakers cannot lose sight of the importance of the training sector and that includes training in languages.

Look forward to your comments, criticisms, and feedback! Thanks for reading.

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