Conestoga news

March 17, 2008 2:24 PM

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada

Government of Canada announces new funding for English-language training to help immigrants in Kitchener-Waterloo region

ESL program group shot

Kitchener, March 17, 2008 - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, today announced funding for the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program with the Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

Under the LINC program, Conestoga College will receive $3.2 million in funding for brand new English-language training services to help newcomers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The funding is expected to provide more than 250 student-placements among 20 separate classes in the region.

The Government of Canada is committed to helping newcomers learn English, which supports them on their journey to Canadian citizenship, said Minister Finley. Through this funding, hundreds of new immigrants in the Kitchener-Waterloo region will be able to improve their language proficiency, resulting in greater opportunities to find work. This will allow newcomers to become more productive members of this growing community.

Conestoga is very pleased to work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to deliver LINC in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, said Dr. John Tibbits, President of the Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Not only will this funding directly assist the growing number of newcomers to our Region, but it will also have a significant impact on our community which relies on the skills of internationally trained immigrants for its continued economic prosperity.

Settlement services are an essential part of the federal governments immigration program. Through the Canada Ontario Immigration Agreement, the Government of Canada has increased settlement funding for Ontario by a total of $920 million over five years. Under the Agreement, CIC works with the province and immigrant-serving agencies to make a real difference in the lives of immigrants. In 2006, the Government of Canada began investing an additional $1.4 billion over five years in settlement funding across the country.

Newcomers to Canada can also look to the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), which helps internationally trained individuals find the information they need to get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. Established in 2007, the FCRO provides information, path-finding and referral services to help internationally trained individuals use their skills in Canada. There are now 320 Service Canada centres across Canada offering in-person services to newcomers.

CIC funds a number of programs that help newcomers settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society. These programs are delivered in partnership with provinces, territories and service-providing organizations. Funding for Conestoga College is offered under the LINC program, which provides basic language training for adult newcomers. Other programs include the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program, which provides orientation, referral and para-professional counselling services, and the Host Program, which helps newcomers connect with volunteers who help them access services, establish contacts in their field of work and participate in the community.

For more information on CICs programs, consult our website at

For further information (media only), please contact:

Tim Vail Press Secretary Ministers Office Citizenship and Immigration Canada 613-954-1064
Lonny Kates Communications Ontario Region Citizenship and Immigration Canada 416-954-7868