The Languages Canada 15th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting took place in Ottawa from March 27 to 30, 2022. Well over 100 delegates attended, including leaders from Canadian English and French language education programs as well as marketing and academic staff. Also in attendance to meet with public and private sector members were federal elected officials, provincial and federal government officials, NGOs, and other key influencers in the field of international education.
This year’s host city, Ottawa, was chosen with the intention of raising the profile of our sector with the federal government. The proximity to Parliament Hill allowed engagement with ministers and members of Parliament to highlight the importance of Canada's English and French language education sector in meeting the country's goals for economic recovery and growth, diversity and inclusion, labour force gaps, and immigration.
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, opened Day 2 of the conference with an address to delegates, leading into concurrent regional roundtable discussions between Members of Parliament and Languages Canada members.
Minister Fraser recognized the important role that English and French language education plays in Canada’s economic recovery and growth. With an ageing population and businesses struggling to find the workers they need, the minister pointed to immigration as the key to addressing Canada’s labour shortage, adding: “The opportunity to bring in young people through international education programs that provide them with the language training they need to succeed is going to help cure this demographic problem.”
Later that evening, the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, spoke at the conference’s closing reception. Minister Fortier spoke passionately about the government’s reform of the Official Languages Act and expressed her hope that Languages Canada would be a partner in a proposed new second language education framework for the public service, adding: “It is critical that an intersectional and inclusive approach is taken in the public service to ensure the support of our official languages.”
Languages Canada would like to extend our deepest thanks to Ministers Fortier and Fraser and Members of Parliament who took part in our roundtable discussions and attended the closing reception:
The Honourable Marc Miller,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
and MP Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs
MP Calgary Skyview
Lena Metlege Diab,
MP Halifax West
MP Kingston and the Islands
MP Winnipeg Centre
Another highlight of the conference was a keynote address by Brazil’s Secretary of Higher Education, Wagner Vilas Boas de Souza. Languages Canada has long-standing cooperation with Brazils Ministry of Education, primarily through the Languages Without Borders (LwB) program that has generated several bilateral partnerships between Brazilian and Canadian postsecondary institutions in teaching English, French and Portuguese.
The closing session was a state-of-the-sector presentation by Samuel Vetrak, CEO of leading market research firm BONARD. Samuel presented the latest global and Canadian trends in language education. Some of the key figures that emerged from this session include:
- 17% of all ELT students chose Canada in 2020, representing a 5% increase over 2019; 19% of total student weeks globally were spent in Canada in 2020, a 2.5% increase over 2019.
- Despite this, the number of student weeks in Canada between 2019 and 2020 saw a 58% decrease, a clear revelation of the impact of Covid-19 on the industry while Canada’s borders were partially closed and provincial restrictions were imposed on in-person classes. Within this scenario, 59% of classes were delivered online.
Conference delegates and sponsors were overwhelmingly positive about their experience at this year’s conference:
“Today’s keynote address by Minister Sean Fraser from IRCC was a direct affirmation of the work that Languages Canada members do to facilitate the successful integration of newcomers, international students, and future Canadians into the Canadian labour market and Canadian fabric. We are partners in rebuilding Canada through economic recovery and community development across Canada.” –Cath D’Amico, Director, International at Trent University and President of Languages Canada Board of Directors.
"The modernization of the Official Languages Act forces us to consider our responsibility as an association whose purpose is to be the voice of the Canadian language education sector. This is a collective responsibility, but it is also an individual and civic responsibility; each member of the association has a role to play in this regard. One element we should work on in the coming years is moving towards the equal status of English and French, whether it be in our various working or governance committees, at the annual conference, or in the nature of the initiatives we put in place. Languages Canada has always taken this issue to heart and has already introduced actions in this regard, and now we are able to go further." –R. Biba Fakhouri, Vice-Dean of Innovation, Communications and Continuing Education, Faculty of Continuing Education, Université de Montréal and Vice-President of the Languages Canada Board of Directors
“Incredible connections and learnings at the Languages Canada’s annual conference, including the presentation by our brilliant Minister of Immigration, the Honourable Sean Fraser!” –Nadine Baladi, Vice President at ILSC Education Group
“Thanks again to Languages Canada for facilitating some wonderful conversations with our local Kingston MP, Mark Gerretsen.” –Carly D'Amico, Queen’s University
“Earlier this week, it was wonderful to see colleagues from around the country at the annual Languages Canada conference. IRCC Minister Sean Fraser (from Nova Scotia) addressed the group and spoke about the value international students bring to Canada and how the government would like them to stay after their studies. He is working to make this process easier - a good news story for our sector!” –Sheila Nunn, President and CEO, East Coast Language College
“A great conference indeed! Informative and inspiring” –Karen Horton, Sales Director, US and Canada at National Geographic Learning, ELT
“It's great to be back; had a great conference at #LCCONF2022, thank you Languages Canada, for giving us the opportunity to re connect.” –Jesus Gomez, Regional Development Manager at Pearson
During the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, Languages Canada members welcomed their new Board of Directors, whose mandate runs to the next AGM in 2023:
- Cath D'Amico (President), Trent University - ESL Program
- Biba Fakhouri (Vice President), Université de Montréal - Faculté de l’éducation permanente, École de langues
- Anthony Stille (Vice President), ESC - English School of Canada
- Sharon Curl (Immediate Past President), Oxford International Education Group
- Gary Gervais (Secretary), Heartland International English School
- Chris Mediratta (Treasurer), ILSC Education Group
- Veronica Cartagenova, Collège Canada / Canada College
- Julian Inglis, University of Guelph - English Language Programs
- Stéphane Lemelin, Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-La-Pocatière
- Shaun MacLeod, Canadian College of English Language (CCEL) - Vancouver
- Valerie Kilgour, Wilfrid Laurier University - LEAF Program
- Jonathan Kolber, International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC)
- Paula Jamieson, Global Village English Centres – Victoria
- Jesse Black-Allen, Seneca College
- Jennifer MacDonald, Dalhousie University
- Kerrianne MacKenzie, ICEAP Nova Scotia
The Languages Canada 15th Annual Conference was made possible by support from of our wonderful sponsors and partners.
A very special thank you to our Diamond Sponsor and long-time supporter of Canada’s language education sector, guard.me International Insurance.
Thank you to all other sponsors: