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November 06, 2013

Canada

Canada: Teachers protest cuts to ESL programs

ESL teachers in Southern Ontario, Canada are protesting cuts made to English language programs for newly arrived immigrants.

While many immigrants choose the Peel region as their first home, there have been dramatic cuts to the English classes offered to assist them with the transition. Peel English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers say they want to know why the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is targeting ESL classes with these cuts.

Acquiring English language skills is essential to improving the lives of new Canadians, they say, and ESL training allows them to access education and work opportunities, and become integrated into Canadian life.

"Why is Ontario cutting ESL classes for new Canadians?" said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "If this government is truly committed to ensuring immigrants are able to get decent jobs, these classes must be made a priority."

Since 2011, the number of Peel ESL classes has been cut by close to 50 per cent. While 127 teachers were employed by the Peel District School Board to deliver ESL classes in 2011, only 67 have been hired this year. Many full-time teaching positions have been reduced to part-time, and class size requirements have increased meaning it is more likely they will be cancelled.

Read the full article on Caledon Enterprise.

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