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Languages Canada 2021 Annual Conference Highlights

Languages Canada’s 14th Annual Conference took place on April 21, 2021, with over 150 delegates, partners and sponsors attending virtually from across Canada.

This year’s pared-down, 2-hour event offered members the opportunity to come together, take stock and reflect on the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 has had on the Canadian language education sector, the global economy, and society as a whole, over the past year.

Adhering to social distancing guidelines—and to help cut down on members’ expenses—the event was held virtually, but members’ enthusiasm and delight at reconnecting with colleagues and friends could be felt through computer screens. As the association’s president, Cath D’Amico, puts it: “The 2021 Languages Canada conference may have looked different this year, however the warmth, collegiality and camaraderie of our membership and our association remarkably found its way through the two-dimensional confines of Zoom.”

Cath D’Amico’s and LC vice-president Biba Fakhouri’s opening comments were straightforward (“it has been a hard, hard year”) and full of praise for members’ hard work, dedication and capacity to reinvent themselves (“congratulations: you are here, we are here”). They also offered hope for the future, noting that LC’s 2020-2024 strategic plan (unveiled at last year’s conference right before the pandemic broke) remains a strong, solid foundation for our collective journey toward recovery. Cath D’Amico stated: “Our recovery from this tremendously challenging year will be gradual, and progressive, rooted in the strength of our strategic plan and fueled by the tireless advocacy and innovative drive of the Languages Canada team, guided by the knowledge and determination of the LC Board, and with the support and commitment of our members. As I said during the plenary and say again today, 'We are stronger together. Nous sommes plus forts ensemble'.”

The conference continued with presentations by Patrick Pavlacic, head of research for the market research firm Bonard, and renowned economist Dr. Roslyn Kunin. Both presented highlights from separate research projects recently conducted on behalf of Languages Canada.

Patrik presented key figures from the recent Languages Canada Annual Member Survey, showing just how hard the sector was hit by the pandemic in 2020. He also shared some encouraging takeaways from the upcoming State of the Language Education Sector in Canada report, which demonstrates that agents see Canada as a top destination for international students for English and French language education in 2021.

However, both Bonard and Dr. Kunin were in agreement that a full recovery for the sector should not be expected before 2023.

View the recording below and download Patrik's slide deck here

Dr. Kunin’s presentation, Economic Impact of International Students in Language Education Programs in Canada, showed that language students in Canada have a long-lasting impact on our economy by generating $6.7 billion per year in combined export revenue.

View the recording below and download Dr. Kunin's slide deck here.

The Languages Canada Annual Conference was made possible with generous support from the following organizations.

Premier Conference Sponsors: International Insurance, FPP Edu Media, and Strategic Site Selection.

Conference Supporters: Halladay Education Group, EDMISS, ApplyBoard, and Higher Education Marketing.

Partner: ICEF

Annual General Meeting

The Languages Canada Annual General Meeting took place the day after the conference, on April 22, 2021. Association president Cath D’Amico presented highlights from the LC 2020 Board Report, and Executive Director Gonzalo Peralta outlined the association’s plan for 2021. Appreciation awards along with heartfelt tributes were given out to three former board members: David Packer, Martine Allard and David Matthews.

The AGM concluded with the election of the LC 2021 Board of Directors. The new Board’s mandate runs from April 22, 2021 until next year's AGM (date to be determined).

Board of Directors (as of April 22, 2021)
  • 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
  • Ginny Chien, Columbia College, English Language Centre (ELC)
  • 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
  • Ernest Mulvey, Algonquin College - International Education Centre
  • Emmanuèle Pradel, International Language School of the YMCAs of Québec
  • Valerie Kilgour, Wilfrid Laurier University - LEAF Program
  • Jonathan Kolber, International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC)
  • Paula Jamieson, Global Village English Centres - Victoria