Languages Canada urges BC to amend Bill 7 to protect students, support the sector
Languages Canada, the association representing more than 227 language education member programs and schools across Canada, urges the BC government to reconsider passing legislation that will have a significant negative impact on the language education sector, as well as for international language students and BC.
The BC Chapter of Languages Canada, which includes 65 members from the private and public sectors (52 private, 13 public), welcomes Bill 7 (The Private Career Training Act), but not as it stands. In 2013, these member programs welcomed 52,823 international students to BC (129,704 to Canada), many of which are in pathway programs to post-secondary institutions.
As Canada’s language education representative, the association is concerned that Bill 7 does not support the growth of the language education sector in BC, and acts against the interests of international students.
“The proposed legislation does not protect language students, and it continues to allow disreputable schools to operate in BC. Further, it does not recognize that language education is different than other educational segments, such as career training schools. It also adds unnecessary costs to programs in BC, already the most expensive province in which to operate,” explains Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada.
As a result of an uncertain regulatory environment, 2013 saw a sharp decline in international student numbers in BC, and the province for the first time lost its leadership position in Canada in terms of attracting international language students. Mr. Peralta notes that the legislation would also create the need for more government involvement and more red tape that would result in continued uncertainty for the sector.
“For more than two and a half years, lack of legislation and regulations that meet the needs of the sector has created a climate of uncertainty for BC’s accredited language programs, having a detrimental impact on enrolment,” he says. “The impact is felt not only by schools and their staff, but also by the thousands of BC families that welcome international students to their homes, by those who offer tourism activities and by local businesses.”
Languages Canada therefore urges the BC government to amend the proposed legislation to ensure that students are protected and to ensure the sector regain the leadership position it once had in Canada.
The export revenue generated for the province is $535,000,000, with $33,000,000 going to government in sales taxes derived from international language student activities. Additionally, 30% of these language students go on to post-secondary programs in BC, staying on for another one to four years and investing in the province. Languages Canada member programs in BC are accredited and inspected by an independent body according to strict and internationally recognized standards. Languages Canada’s Quality Assurance Scheme has a 100 per cent success rate – not a single student has lost their tuition in 15 years since inception.
Languages Canada is a not-for-profit association representing more than 225 language education member programs across Canada that offer accredited English and French programs from both the public and private sectors.
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