Visa Crunch

Immigrants In Prince Edward Island Can Now Take Two French Courses For Free

Prince Edward Island has launched two new free classes to help newcomers learn French, one of Canada’s two official languages.

The Coopérative d’Iintégration Francophone (CIF) of Prince Edward Island is providing free language courses for immigrants on the island province through a partnership with the French-language, New Brunswick-based Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) Language Learning Centre.

The French for Parents course, which would run from January 24 to March 23 with courses from 6 to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, is for refugees or immigrants with permanent residence whose children attend a French-language school or are enrolled in a French immersion program.

This course will assist these parents in learning basic French so that they may better follow their children in the francophone school system or in their French immersion learning. It may also assist parents in networking and communicating with other parents of students enrolled in such schools.

“As a newcomer, the first thing I felt was welcomed, and I was provided with the confidence to speak and express myself,” said Satvinder Sangha, who took the French for Parents course.

Her teacher, Nathalie Carrier, made learning French fun, she said.

“Nathalie made sure the class was light and informative and she used online tools very effectively,” said Sangha.

The Cours De Langue Pour Les Immigrants Au Canada (CLIC) is another French lesson for immigrants offered by the non-profit immigration services organization. Its purpose is to assist immigrants in developing basic French language abilities and obtaining proof of linguistic proficiency for their applications for Canadian citizenship (NCLC 4 or CLB 4). The CLIC course runs till June, and admission is open all year. Classes are conducted from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Several immigrants join CLIC after completing the French for Parents course, although both courses can be done concurrently and are currently only available online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Throughout 2015, immigration to Prince Edward Island has more than doubled, from 1,190 in 2015 to 2,445 in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic began.

Due to Covid-19-related public health restrictions and border closures, immigration to the province fell by 47.2 per cent in 2020 but has subsequently risen to what appears to be a record level in 2021.

Whereas Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not yet revealed the province’s total immigration data for last year, the province has already received 2,345 new permanent residents by the end of November. This placed it on course to welcome 2,558 new permanent residents in 2021, which, if achieved, would mean breaking the 2019 record by 4.6% even while the Covid-19 pandemic raged on.

According to the Longitudinal Immigration Database, immigrant Mobility During The Initial Years Since Admission report from Statistics Canada, Prince Edward Island has the lowest level of immigrant retention in the country in 2019. This signifies that, of all the provinces having immigrants who came in 2014, Prince Edward Island has retained the least percentage of them five years later, with only 28.1% choosing to stay.

However, both the federal and provincial governments are working hard to increase immigrant retention by investing in settlement assistance for newcomers to Prince Edward Island. According to an internal letter for the fiscal year 2021-22, Ottawa invested $6.2 million in settlement services on Prince Edward Island.

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