These numbers give many in the sector a sense of hope for continued strength.
16Thursday The annual Languages Canada conference took place last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was attended by nearly 200 delegates from the language sector. In addition to the many institutional representatives and service providers who shared best practices and current research on hot topics impacting the field, delegates were addressed by a number of senior government officials.
“The impact of our annual conference continues to deepen as threads of current issues are brought into conversation,” said Languages Canada Executive Director Gonzalo Peralta. PIE News.
“There is no substitute for in-person events to hold these conversations and the presence of sector leaders exchanging with Canadian representatives from federal and provincial government, industry and higher education demonstrates the impact of the sector as the association continues to grow and is based on collaboration, partnership and a desire to contribute to the well-being of Canada and our students,” he continued.
“I was most impressed by the federal and provincial collaboration with Languages Canada and with the sector,” ILSC Education Group vice-president Nadine Baladi told The PIE. “It was encouraging to hear that language schools are seen as a key strategic partner for the government in its immigration efforts.”
Immigration and Citizenship Canada’s Minister for Refugees and Citizenship CanadaSean Fraser gave an opening speech and answered numerous questions from LC members regarding “access to work for language learners, Canada’s visa backlog and efforts to modernize Canada’s immigration system.”
Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, executive director of International Education at Global Affairs Canada, spoke about the next iteration of Canada’s international education strategy, which he says will be a deeply collaborative process.
As part of the planning process, Tachdjian will facilitate a series of town hall meetings to gather feedback and input from stakeholders in each province.
Nova Scotia Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration Jill Balser highlighted the role of language education in “shaping Nova Scotia’s future and prosperity” during a panel on regional perspectives on community building, diversity and prosperity in Atlantic Canada.
And beyond the government’s insights and insights, Peralta noted that he was “so pleased with the caliber of thoughtful and engaging presentations delivered by our membership, sharing best practices in language learning pedagogy, raising the bar for quality and student experience, and fostering innovation in international recruitment.”
The students’ experiences were presented in the student reception program of Heartland International English School. Its coordinator, Jasmin Geling, told The PIE that the program was created as “a response to the industrial changes caused by the pandemic; an innovative attempt to dedicate staff and space to supporting and empowering students throughout their journey”.
Geling said Heartland’s efforts are focused on “curation, personalization and one-on-one student support as a way to build and anchor students in the community.”
“The big thing we’re seeing is the issue of compensation. And now, with inflation, it’s even more difficult.”
Languages Canadian Diego Sanchez, iCent’s Ganesh Neelanjanmath and Air Canada’s Hugo Silva Franco discussed Canada’s Letter of Acceptance verification system as another method of supporting international students and easing some of the visa backlog in a way that is easily verifiable by the government and through which data can be encrypted and safely stored.
The thought leaders also highlighted the role and responsibility of the language sector in combating Canada’s labor and skills shortages. Hannah Pyo of the Toronto School of Management and Paul Denman of The Language Gallery addressed the Great Resignation and its impact on staffing issues.
Referring to the phenomenon of “silent weaning”, Pyo urged: “With shifts in attitudes in the workplace, we need to adapt and adapt and make new decisions about how people work”. Denman added: “We see friction points. The big thing we see is the issue of compensation. And now, with inflation, it’s even more difficult.”
Baladi concluded: “The conference was a reminder of the collegiality, strength and optimism of the various players in the sector: language programs and service providers”.