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OTTAWA, May 7, 2004 — Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Judy Sgro announced today that the Government of Canada is expanding the Enhanced Language Training initiative to reach up to 20,000 new immigrants a year in need of higher levels of language training.

“Immigrants have much to offer in terms of education, training and experience,” said Minister Sgro. “They contribute to every aspect of Canadian life, and we are committed to supporting them so that they can thrive in their adopted home.”

While most newcomers destined for the labour force have adequate conversational language skills when they arrive in Canada, many employers report gaps in recent immigrants’ mastery of specialized workplace language skills and vocabulary.

“Improving the language training available for immigrants, along with speedier recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience, is an important part of the Government’s strategy to ensure the successful integration of new immigrants into the economy and communities,” said Dr. Hedy Fry, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, with special emphasis on Foreign Credentials.

The Government currently spends about $140 million a year on language training for about 50,000 adult immigrants, outside Quebec. In addition to this, through the expansion of the Enhanced Language Training initiative, $20 million annually will go towards providing higher levels of language training specifically geared to ensuring adult immigrants are able to enter and remain in the labour market at levels that will make full use of their skills and credentials.

The Enhanced Language Training initiative is implemented through cost-sharing partnerships with provinces, territories, municipalities, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, employers and educational institutions.

In 2003–2004, Citizenship and Immigration Canada entered into cost-sharing agreements with partners to fund 43 projects at a cost of $1.5 million. These projects will help immigrants acquire the language skills they need to pursue careers in fields such as nursing, engineering, policing, customer service, and administrative assistance, or to manage a small business or become entrepreneurs.

Other measures being taken to integrate immigrants into the labour market more effectively include improving information for prospective immigrants and newcomers to Canada through an enhanced “Going to Canada” Internet portal. The portal will help to prepare immigrants for living and working in Canada by including information on Canada’s labour market and educational system, as well as Canadian culture, regions and communities. It will also feature tools to allow potential immigrants and newcomers to test their language abilities and assess their credentials to determine if they will be recognized in Canada.

“Enhanced Language Training is an important initiative that will help reduce the income gap between immigrants in the work force and Canadian-born workers with comparable skills and education,” said Minister Sgro. “It will also benefit employers and communities that need the skills and qualifications which immigrants bring to Canada.”


For more information:

Simone Mac Andrew
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Jean-Pierre Morin
Media Relations
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 941-7712

Visit CIC’s Integration-Net Web site at


Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Enhanced Language Training Initiative

In 2001, 60 percent of immigrants to Canada had post-secondary education compared to 43 percent of Canadian-born adults. However, one year after arriving in Canada, university-educated immigrants earn less than half the salary of Canadian-born workers with a post-secondary education. It can take up to 10 years for university-educated immigrants to match their Canadian-born counterparts in earnings.

Research has shown that language proficiency is a determining factor in how quickly immigrants integrate into the labour market. Current training provides immigrants with the language skills required for social interaction and employment in service and industrial contexts where advanced language skills may not be required. The Enhanced Language Training (ELT) initiative will provide higher levels of language skills that will help immigrants enter and remain in the labour market, especially in information intensive positions for which many skilled immigrants have training and experience.

Higher levels of language training will be offered in large centres and will expand to many small centres that are currently not able to offer these services. This will support Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s objective to encourage immigrants to settle in smaller centres.

ELT projects must include a cost-sharing and partnership plan that will contribute at least half the costs in the form of funds, in-kind contributions, services, tools or facilities. Service delivery projects must also include access to internships, or temporary or permanent work placement opportunities, and a mentorship component to enable skilled immigrants to meet peers and begin developing a network in their chosen field of employment.

Permanent residents, refugees and individuals granted temporary resident permits to facilitate their early admission to Canada are eligible for training under this initiative. Newcomers are encouraged to speak with settlement service providers who can properly refer them to delivery agencies in their region.

The 2003 federal budget allocated $5 million a year for the ELT initiative. The 2004 federal budget invested an additional $15 million a year to expand ELT projects, for a total of $20 million a year.

The ELT initiative is an important component of the Government of Canada’s efforts to attract highly skilled workers and ensure more successful integration of immigrants into the economy and the communities. Other measures include facilitating the development of effective processes for the recognition of foreign credentials and prior work experience, and the provision of better information to prospective immigrants.


Many of the projects funded in the first year of the Enhanced Language Training initiative involve research to provide a national picture of the language training needs of newcomers. They also address language training in specific fields, such as accounting, engineering and nursing.

Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, British Columbia. The project, Skilled Immigrants and Labour Market Access in the Capital Region, will conduct a needs assessment, environmental scan, and facilitated strategic planning process involving a broad range of stakeholders to build regional capacity to address the labour market integration of skilled immigrants in the Capital Region District.

SUCCESS, Richmond, British Columbia. The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to increase the employment of skilled immigrants among construction contractors.

Young Women’s Christian Organization (YWCA), Calgary, Alberta. Twenty-two skilled immigrants will enrol in the Canadian Employment Skills Program under this project. The program provides training in English language skills, cross-cultural communication skills, and the soft skills necessary for immigrants to obtain and maintain employment. The program includes six weeks of classroom training, a 10-week unpaid work experience placement, and job search assistance.

Success Skills Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Three courses for professional engineers, managed by a training contractor, are delivered out of Success Skills Centre, Winnipeg. Internationally trained engineers enter at Canadian language bench levels 7/8. Most of the participants plan to register at the university in the courses required by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geophysicists of Manitoba. The course focuses on the English needed to meet the expectations of an academic setting as well as on professional communications skills. In addition to classroom instruction, the course materials are available to another group of 20 engineers who receive Web-based tutoring.

Graybridge-Malkam Cross-Cultural Training, Ottawa, Ontario. This project will analyse the recruitment needs of the Ottawa Police Service, create assessment tools covering four language competencies and develop curriculum guidelines for police officers.

Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, Ottawa, Ontario. This project will provide a national tool to help internationally educated nurses determine if they are ready to take the Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses, which is required by provincial nursing regulators.

Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto, Ontario. This project will develop and test a comprehensive nursing-specific language curriculum.

Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services of Mississauga, Ontario. This project will develop a curriculum for customer service, entrepreneurship or managing a small business, administrative and clerical assistants, and environmental careers. The curriculum will include components of English language instruction specific to professions in the four identified areas of the labour market, job search preparation, work placement and mentoring.

Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre (HILC), Halifax, Nova Scotia. The HILC will manage two pilot projects. The first will help international nurses find jobs and settle in Nova Scotia, while the second will collect data on the gaps and needs of the health care sector in the province and examine resources, programs and best practices.

For additional details on the Enhanced Language Training initiative, visit CIC’s Integration-Net Web site at