The conference theme, Community, Coast to Coast, came to life as leaders and staff from Canadian English and French language education programs gathered with elected officials, provincial and federal government officials, NGOs, and other key influencers in the field of international education to explore the role of the language education sector in addressing Canada's labour and skills needs; supporting the integration and productivity of newcomers; building a diverse and inclusive society; and identifying new and innovative cross-sectoral collaborations to achieve these goals.
Languages Canada’s Executive Director, Gonzalo Peralta, underscored the importance of the event for the sector:
“Nothing replaces in-person events to hold these conversations. The presence of leaders in the sector, exchanging with Canadian representatives from federal and provincial government, industry, and higher education, demonstrates the influence of the sector as the association continues to grow, and is based on collaboration, partnership, and the desire to contribute to Canada’s and our students’ well-being.”
Highlights of this year’s conference include a keynote address from The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, who took time to respond to questions from our members related to access to work for language students, Canada's visa backlog, and efforts to modernize Canada's immigration system.
This marks Minister Fraser’s second consecutive presence at the Languages Canada’s flagship event, demonstrating the vital role that the sector plays in helping to meet Canada’s immigration targets and workforce goals. Remarking on his participation ahead of the event, Minister Fraser said:
“Immigration is essential for building a prosperous, diverse, and inclusive Canada, and language programs provide prospective new Canadians with the integration and official language skills needed to succeed in our workforce and communities. I'm so pleased to join English and French language education leaders once again for the Languages Canada Annual Conference, this time in my home province of Nova Scotia, where we will continue the conversation on the important contribution that LC members make to Canada's future, and how the government can best enable the sector to thrive.”
Languages Canada also welcomed The Honourable Jill Balser, Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration of Nova Scotia in a panel discussion on the role of language education in shaping the future and prosperity of Nova Scotia, and Jean-Philippe Tachdjian, Executive Director of International Education at Global Affairs Canada, for a dialogue on the next iteration of Canada's International Education Strategy, which will be developing in the coming months.
In addition to this engagement with external stakeholders and collaborators, the conference benefited from a number of thoughtful and engaging presentations brought forward from within our membership, sharing best practices in language education pedagogy, raising the bar on quality and the student experience, and supporting innovation in international recruitment.
The conference came to an end on Friday night with a closing reception sponsored by Diamond Sponsor guard.me International Insurance. The Honourable Lena Metlege Diab, KC, member of Parliament for Halifax West, addressed delegates at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, saying:
“Learning a new language is a gift, an investment, and a window to endless possibilities. There couldn’t be a more important time for your sector to gather and chart your course forward, and no better place to do it than here in Halifax.”
During the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday, February 25, Languages Canada members welcomed their new board of directors:
- 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
- Robin Adams, Centre of English Studies (CES) - Toronto
- Jesse Black-Allen, Seneca College
- Veronica Cartagenova, Collège Canada / Canada College
- Angela Johnston, International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC)
- Valerie Kilgour, Wilfrid Laurier University - LEAF Program
- Stéphane Lemelin, Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-La-Pocatière
- Jennifer MacDonald, Dalhousie University
- Kerrianne MacKenzie, ICEAP Nova Scotia
- Shaun MacLeod, Canadian College of English Language (CCEL) - Vancouver
- Corinne Whitney, Georgian College
The Languages Canada 16th Annual Conference was made possible through the support of our valued 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.
Our sincere thanks to the following sponsors:
Languages Canada’s 17th Annual Conference will be held in Vancouver in 2024.