Learning English or French as a Newcomer

      My parents immigrated to Canada from India in the 1990s from rural areas, where they had never even heard someone speak English in person. It took English classes, employment opportunities, and help from the community, but they were able to develop their written and spoken abilities gradually.

 

     There are thousands of newcomers who come to Canada with difficulties in speaking the official languages of English or French. Speaking the common languages can be intimidating, but there are various services here to help. You can develop your English or French literacy while also getting assistance in Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Polish, Tagalog, Spanish, Mandarin, and other languages when accessing government resources.

 

       Finding the appropriate supports for family or child development, such as disability programs, has become easier through English learning opportunities and interpretive services. There are government-funded programs offered for free and other online services that can help you learn. Here are some steps to follow:

 

  • Take a self-assessment test to find out your level of English knowledge.
  • Use the Government of Canada’s database to find newcomer services. Enter your Postal Code or City > Click on “Language assessment” and “Language training (general)” > Find. You will be directed to a page with a list of free local services.
  • Register your children for in-school English as Second Language (ESL) or English Literacy Development (ELD) classes with your local school in the Peel District School Board. Adults can also access these classes with more information on how to on their website.
  • Understand why learning English can be important through videos on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s channel.
  • Visit infoPeel to use their Community Services directory or Special Needs Services directory to find programs. To chat with a representative, click on the “Chat with Us” button on the bottom right. To speak to a representative for assistance, call at 905-890-9432. Interpretive services in your language are also available for free.

 

     Developing your English skills can help you navigate systems with more ease, and there are lots of organizations ready to assist you. It is also important to emphasize that your native languages are valuable. It adds to the growing diversity of the Region of Peel and Canada, so speak it publically and speak it proudly—I know my parents do!