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Partnership and Wellbeing are Priorities at Languages Canada

clock iconCreated At:10 March, 2023
write iconCreated By:Casita Team

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Although there are fewer employees, the number of language students in Canada is rising after dropping by almost 100,000 in 2018 from a peak of almost 160,000 students. According to the statistics, there will be nearly twice as many students in 2022 as the 60,000 students that were there in 2021. 

Many people in the sector feel encouraged by these figures and expect ongoing strength.

Over 200 language institutional representatives attended the 16th annual Languages Canada conference that was held last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Numerous prominent governmental figures spoke to the delegates, in addition to the many institutional representatives and service providers who highlighted best practices and recent research on current themes that affect the field. 

“Our annual conference continues to deepen in impact as the threads of current issues are held in conversation,” executive director at Languages Canada Gonzalo Peralta said.

He also added, “Nothing replaces in-person events to hold these conversations, and the presence of leaders in the sector exchanging with Canadian representatives from the federal and provincial government, industry, and higher education, demonstrates the influence of the sector as the association continues to grow and is based on collaboration, partnership, and the desire to contribute to Canada’s and our students’ wellbeing,” 

Nadine Baladi, vice president of ILSC Education Engagement, said, “What struck me most was federal and provincial engagement with Languages Canada and the sector; it was encouraging to hear that language schools are considered a crucial strategic partner to the government in its immigration efforts.”

With regard to "access to work for language students, Canada's visa backlog, and attempts to modernise Canada's immigration system," Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada Sean Fraser provided the opening keynote presentation and answered multiple questions from LC members.

The upcoming iteration of Canada's worldwide education plan, according to Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, executive director of international education at Global Affairs Canada, would be developed through a highly collaborative process.

Tachdjian will host a number of town hall meetings as part of the planning process in order to collect opinions and suggestions from stakeholders from every province.

Jill Balser, minister of Labour, Skills, and Immigration of Nova Scotia, underlined the relevance of language education in "shaping the future and prosperity of Nova Scotia" during a discussion on regional perspectives on fostering community, diversity, and prosperity in Atlantic Canada.

Peralta said he was "so pleased with the calibre of thoughtful and engaging presentations brought forward from within our membership, sharing best practises in language education pedagogy, raising the bar on quality and the student experience, and supporting innovation in international recruitment" in addition to the government's perspectives and insights.

The student concierge programme at Heartland International English School served as a showcase for the student experience. The programme was developed as "a response to industry changes induced by the pandemic; an innovative attempt to dedicate staff and space to support and empower students throughout their entire journey," according to its organiser, Jasmin Geling.

Geling added that Heartland’s efforts revolve around “curation, personalisation, and one-to-one student support as a way to build and anchor students to a community”.

Diego Sanchez of Languages Canada, Ganesh Neelanjanmath of iCent, and Hugo Silva Franco of Air Canada spoke about Canada's Letter of Acceptance Verification System as an additional way for assisting international students and easing some of the visa backlogs that is easily verifiable by the government and allows for the encryption and secure storage of data.

Thought leaders also emphasised the functions and duties of the language industry in addressing Canada's labour and skill crises. The Great Resignation and its effects on personnel issues were discussed by Paul Denman from The Language Gallery and Hannah Pyo from the Toronto School of Management.

Addressing the issue of "quiet quitting," Pyo argued, “With shifts in workplace attitudes, we have to adjust and adapt and make new decisions about how people work." While Denman added, “We’re seeing friction points. A big thing we’re seeing is the issue of compensation. "And now, with inflation, it’s becoming even more difficult."

Baladi finished by saying, “The conference was a reminder of the collegiality, the strength, and the optimism of the various players in the sector: language programmes and service providers alike.”


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