One cannot stress enough the importance of information these days. We often say that information is power. Indeed, if used properly, information does empower us to live our lives better.

 

The problem we face though is not lack of information, but the abundance of it. How can we find the right information? Where to start?

 

Newcomers to Canada are faced with the same questions when trying to get information on language training. Below are few tips on how to approach this task.

 

From receiver to researcher

 

A new attitude towards the task itself helps a lot. Many of us have lived and functioned as receivers of information: parents, teachers and other authority figures used to give us all the information we supposedly needed, usually in the early years of our life.

 

Given the explosion of information in the past three-four decades, nobody can be the holder of all information. Besides, a lot of societies have gone through a democratization of information. Everybody, men and women, young and old, has access to it. Technological progress has tremendously sped up this process.

 

We can no longer be passive receivers of information; let us turn into active researchers of information!

 

Information on language training

 

The Internet is a good start. The Government of Canada – Citizenship and Immigrationwww.cic.gc.ca – provides detailed information – in both English and French – on everything relating to immigrating and settling in Canada. Language assessment and training is one of the topics.

 

Other official sites containing a wide range of language training info are: www.settlement.org and www.co-oslt.org.

 

But let’s suppose one does not know about these sites and wants to do a more specific search.

 

Let’s say we look for “language training Canada”. More than six million entries for that!

 

We have to narrow down our search. Let’s say, we live in Ontario. Then, look for “English language training, Ontario”. Much fewer entries, but still a lot of information. Having a look at the first five-six sites, once can find a very good website “Immigration Portal Ontario” (http://www.ontarioimmigration.ca/en/).

 

It’s good to know that each province, region and many of the communities in Canada have information on the web.

 

So, we can narrow down our search even more. Let’s take Waterloo Region. If one types “Learn English Waterloo Region”, one of the first entries is that of the “Newcomers Waterloo Region”(www.newwr.ca), an excellent information portal for newcomers to our community.

 

The www.conestogac.on.ca – website of the Conestoga College – is also a good source of information on language training in Waterloo Region.

 

A few tips: look for official sites (federal government, provincial government). Be careful when accessing sites that sell books, audio materials or private courses. Those resources cost a lot and may not be what you need. Avoid sites on which information is old or pages cannot be displayed.

 

For those who do not have access to a computer:

 

Public libraries are excellent sources of information on language training.

 

Many public places like government offices, information and community centres, city halls, schools, to mention just a few, display a variety of flyers and brochures with information about the community, language training included. When visiting these places, take a flyer, even if you don’t need it right away. Create a small information corner at your place and keep it updated.

 

If you still have questions, please call the Kitchener-Waterloo YMCA Language Assessment and Referral Services at 519-579-9622 or visit www.ymcacambridgekw.ca.

 

Compiled by Adriana Ionescu-Parau

Adriana Ionescu-Parau is

the Supervisor of Language Assessment and

Referral Services at YMCAs of

Cambridge & Kitchener Waterloo.