College News and Events

Changes to ESL programs

  • Sat, October 01, 2016
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  • British Columbia
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  • BC Ministry of Education
The BC Government's priority is to ensure immigrants continue to access English language training to succeed, find jobs and help the Province meet labour market demands in a growing economy.

The Province has been working with public post-secondary institutions to develop a long-term strategy for the delivery of English as a Second Language (ESL) training since learning in 2012 of the federal government's decision to fund and administer ESL programs for immigrants.

Here are some facts on ESL programming in British Columbia: 

  • Under the Canada-BC Immigration Agreement, the Province used funding from the federal government to deliver a range of services to help immigrants get settled in British Columbia, including English language training. This funding was distributed by the Province to community-based, not-for-profit agencies, school districts and public post-secondary institutions.
  • Under the agreement, public post-secondary institutions in B.C. delivered English language training, tuition-free, to 9,000 students in 2013/14.
  • As a result of the changes, the Ministry of Advanced Education lost more than $22 million in federal funding that flowed from the Agreement.
  • Effective April 1, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) continues to fund English language programming through agreements with service delivery organizations such as not-for-profit agencies and post-secondary institutions. A map of CIC immigrant services is available at:
  • As a result of the federal changes to ESL delivery, B.C. public post-secondary institutions were informed that their base operating grants would be reduced significantly. 
  • There are now four public post-secondary institutions in B.C. with English language training contracts with CIC - Vancouver Community College, Douglas College, North Island College, and Northwest Community College.
  • The greatest impact affects Greater Vancouver, where Vancouver Community College provides 46% of the ESL training in the B.C. public post-secondary sector; Camosun College on Vancouver Island provides 14.5%. 
  • Decisions about impacts on faculty and staff will be made at each institution.
  • The Ministry of Advanced Education, working with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and CIC, provided $17.2 million in one-time funding to public post-secondary institutions for ESL in 2014/15. It was distributed as follows:
  • Vancouver Community College $7.92 million
  • Camosun College $2.42 million
  • Douglas College $1.55 million
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University $1.36 million
  • University of the Fraser Valley $844,000
  • Langara College $776,000
  • Capilano University $568,000
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology $532,000
  • Okanagan College $353,000
  • Vancouver Island University $218,000
  • Thompson Rivers University $196,000
  • North Island College $125,000
  • Northern Lights College $117,000
  • Selkirk College $83,000
  • College of New Caledonia $77,000
  • College of the Rockies $36,000
  • Northwest Community College $7,400
According to the 2013 B.C. Developmental Student Outcomes Survey of former ESL students at public post-secondary institutions:
  • 96% said their ESL courses helped them achieve their most important goal (for example to prepare for further study, use English better in daily life, or improve their employment situation).
  • 94% said they were satisfied with their ESL courses.
  • 92% of those who took further studies said they were very well or somewhat prepared by their ESL courses.