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The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement

Annex E
Language Training


1.0 Preamble

1.1 Canada and Ontario recognize that the ability of new immigrants to communicate in either one of Canada’s official languages is key to social and economic integration.

1.2 Immigrants to Canada currently experience a range of barriers to labour force attachment including a lack of official language proficiency.

1.3 Canada and Ontario have identified the integration of immigrants into the labour market as a key priority for supporting Canada’s and Ontario’s economic development, and recognize that access to appropriate language training is key to addressing this priority.

1.4 Canada and Ontario agree to work collaboratively to develop and implement a coordinated adult language training system for eligible immigrants in Ontario that covers the full spectrum of training needs supported by assessment and referral to appropriate language training services.

1.5 Canada and Ontario agree to work collaboratively to ensure seamless referral of eligible immigrants between settlement services, language assessment, language training, and labour market integration services.

1.6 Language training, assessment and referral services will be expanded, developed and delivered through appropriate partnerships with service provider organizations and other stakeholders including educational institutions, community organizations, employers, regulatory bodies, and professional and trade associations.

1.7 In accordance with section 8.0 of the General Provisions, Canada will provide new investments for adult language training. These funds will complement Canada’s current annual funding of language training services in Ontario.

2.0 Definitions

2.1 For the purpose of this Annex:

  1. “language training” is defined in section 2.1 (e) of the General Provisions;
  2. “language assessment” refers to the determination of an individual’s language competency according to the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), or Standards linguistiques canadiens (SLC);
  3. “labour market services” refers to the provision of services tailored to meet the individual needs of immigrants in their efforts to successfully integrate into the labour market as stipulated in section 6.6.2 of the General Provisions;
  4. “eligible immigrants” refers to eligible clients as defined in the criteria of the respective Canada and Ontario language training programs.

3.0 Objectives

3.1 Establish and implement a comprehensive adult language training system through a collaborative Canada-Ontario planning process, in accordance with section 4 of this Annex.

3.2 Facilitate Canada – Ontario cooperation in the implementation of the federal Enhanced Language Training (ELT) initiative, in accordance with section 5 of this Annex.

4.0 Collaborative planning and implementation

4.1 Canada and Ontario agree to develop and implement a four-year strategy for adult language training, with stakeholder input. The primary objectives of the plan will be to:

  1. implement a language assessment system based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), or Standards linguistiques canadiens (SLC), levels 1 to 12, and develop assessment tools;
  2. provide for effective referral to appropriate language training services following assessment;
  3. implement a comprehensive language training system for CLB/SLC levels 1 to 12, that may include the development of standard curricula;
  4. address occupation-specific and other higher-level language training needs, through existing programs or initiatives such as the ELT initiative;
  5. develop outcomes and standardized performance measures and reports;
  6. facilitate seamless referral of eligible immigrants between language assessment and training, and settlement and labour market integration services.

4.2 Canada and Ontario agree to establish a Working Group, in accordance with section 7.1.5 of the General Provisions, to oversee the planning and evaluation of language training delivery in Ontario. The Canada-Ontario Language Training Working Group will meet on an as needed basis and report at least twice a year to the Management Committee created under section 7.1.2. of the General Provisions.

4.3 The responsibilities of the Canada-Ontario Language Training Working Group include:

  1. overseeing the development and implementation of a four-year strategy (2006-07 to 2009-10) for adult language assessment, training and referral in Ontario, and conducting an evaluation in the final year (2009-10) of the strategy;
  2. identifying emerging needs and service gaps;
  3. ensuring that language assessment and training services are coordinated, and linked with settlement and labour market integration services;
  4. establishing annual priorities, in consultation, for the utilization of federal and provincial language training funds;
  5. overseeing the development of desired annual outcomes, performance measures, public reporting of results, and the related research and data requirements, in accordance with section 7.2 of the General Provisions;
  6. consulting with key language training stakeholders, according to a consultation process to be approved by the Management Committee.

4.4 Development of the strategy will include input from key stakeholders according to a consultation process to be approved by the Management Committee.

4.5 Canada and Ontario agree that the development and implementation of the four-year strategy must support the successful social and economic integration of newcomers in Ontario, as the longer-term outcome of language training. Medium-term outcomes and related performance measures developed for the strategy may include:

  1. acquisition by immigrants of language skills to a standard required to work in their fields in Ontario or enroll in postsecondary education/training in Ontario;
  2. accelerated labour market integration of immigrants commensurate with their education, skills, and experience; and
  3. improved labour force attachment by immigrants.

4.6 Implementation of the four-year strategy shall be based on the following timing:

  1. within 30 days of the signing of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, the Working Group will first meet to start developing terms of reference and a workplan, including the resources required to develop the strategy; at that time, the Working Group will also identify, in consultation, priorities for the utilization of new federal and provincial language training funding for 2005-06, to the extent that such funding has not already been allocated;
  2. within 60 days of the first meeting of the Working Group, the terms of reference and workplan shall be submitted for approval to the Management Committee, which will refer the funding priorities to the Joint Steering Committee for confirmation at the earliest opportunity;
  3. the Working Group will meet as needed to ensure timely completion and regular updating of the strategy, with a supporting implementation schedule.
  4. the strategy and implementation schedule are to be approved by the Joint Steering Committee by June 30, 2006, for implementation starting immediately thereafter;
  5. the strategy shall be updated annually as appropriate by the Working Group for subsequent review and approval, as required, by the Management Committee and the Joint Steering Committee.

5.0 Enhanced language training initiative

5.1 Under the Enhanced Language Training initiative, Canada and Ontario will collaborate in developing labour-market language training (defined as “higher-level language training” and “occupation-specific language training” in section 2.1 (e) of the General Provisions). Such training will be developed and delivered through resource-shared partnerships with stakeholders including provincial and federal departments, municipalities, employers, educational institutions, community organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), regulatory bodies and professional and trade associations.

5.2 Canada and Ontario may enter into working and funding arrangements whereby Ontario coordinates the delivery of a portion of the Enhanced Language Training initiative. Such working arrangements will be developed in consideration of the mandates and roles of other federal and provincial departments in providing language training and in facilitating the labour market integration of adult immigrants and refugees. Any financial arrangements shall take into consideration Ontario’s investments in language training and labour market integration programs.

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