Learning English or French

There are two official languages in Canada ?English and French. Almost everyone in Canada speaks at least one of these languages and millions of Canadians speak both. There are anglophone and francophone communities in every province and territory. English is the language of the majority everywhere in Canada, expect in the province of Quebec where French is the official language. French is spoken in many communities in other provinces, especially New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba. New Brunswick is an officially bilingual province. One of the most important skills you will need to adapt to life here in Canada is to speak English or French. Once you learn one or both of these languages, you will find it easier to get a job, to understand Canada, and to communicate with your children, who will be busy learning English or French at school. You will also need to know English or French to become a Canadian citizen.

There are many language courses available, and many of them are free. Sometimes these courses are called SL?for English as a Second Language courses, or TESL,?for French as a Second Language courses.

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

The Government of Canada, in cooperation with provincial governments, school boards, community colleges, and immigrant-serving organizations, offers free language training across the country to adult permanent residents. In most provinces, the name of the program is LINC. (In French this program is known as CLIC, for Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada.) LINC can also assess your current language skills, to find out which training program would be best for you. LINC offers both full- and part-time classes, to suit your needs. Most LINC centres can also refer you to other non-LINC classes in your area, and some offer free childcare while you attend classes.

Remember, language classes are available for all the adults in your family, not just the person who may be looking for work.

To find out more

To find out where you can get LINC classes in your area, you will find a listing of LINC assessment centres in the pamphlet called Language Training, in the back pocket of this guide. You could also contact your local immigrant-serving organization. They will likely refer you to a LINC assessment centre, which will then refer you to organizations offering LINC classes. You might also want to telephone your local school board directly to find out about classes in your community. Most universities and community colleges also offer language classes, as well as some private language schools and community organizations. You can contact these groups directly for more information. Remember to ask about fees, since these courses may not be free.