Future of ESL programming in BC remains uncertain

September 3, 2014

British Columbia’s English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students and providers are facing continued uncertainty about the future of their programs, reports the Globe and Mail. The federal government announced last year that it would no longer provide $22 M in annual funding for ESL programs. Although the BC government has committed about $17 M in one-time funding to help institutions transition, the funding will not carry most programs past the 2014–15 school year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has accepted proposals for federally-funded “settlement services,” including ESL training, that “can best provide newcomers with the services they need, such as language training and career counselling, for the best value for taxpayers’ dollars.” Vancouver Community College is the biggest public provider of ESL programming in BC, training nearly half of the province’s 9,000 ESL students. VCC has already announced that it will likely have to cut programs and lay off teaching staff. Other PSE institutions in BC are exploring options before announcing program cuts. Globe and Mail