Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
English Language Training
It is important to be able to communicate in order to integrate well into your new community, school, workplace and society in general. Learning a new language will be less challenging and faster if you get enrolled in a language training program.
Assessing the English Language Ability
- School-aged children will have their English or French language skills assessed during their school registration process.
[See Related Resources]
- The first CLBPT is free for all permanent residents. A fee of $50 applies if the test has to be taken the second time, and to assessments for people without the permanent resident status.
Upon arrival in PEI, if English is not their first language or they are not fluent in English, all adult immigrants with permanent resident status should have their English skills assessed at the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEI ANC).
The PEI ANC administers the official English language test, called the Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT). The test measures your skills in four areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It is required in order to get enrolled in an English training program.
The test results are only valid for 12 months. After that period, another assessment may be required.
English Language Training Programs
Based on your CLBPT results, you will be placed on a waiting list for an appropriate English language training class.
You are not eligible for free language training classes for new immigrants if you are a Canadian citizen, a refugee claimant, a temporary resident (international student, visitor, or foreign worker), under 18 years of age, or if your level of English is higher than the levels offered by the training.
Basic English language training is free for all permanent residents in PEI. However, because the demand is high, the waiting time for the free classes can be quite long. If you do not want to wait for your turn to start the free classes, there are several language schools that offer English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses for a fee, or you can find a tutor to work with you one-on-one.
The PEI ANC's Community Connections Program runs an English as an Additional Language (EAL) Volunteer Tutoring Program, in partnership with the Confederation Centre Public Library. Volunteer tutors from the local community are matched with newcomers who wish to learn English with the help of a tutor. Volunteers have to undergo a training before they are matched with a newcomer. Any newcomer can apply for this program, regardless of the immigration status. However, there is a waiting list and waiting time is usually fairly long.
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) also offers summer language programs and the English Academic Preparation Program. [See Related Resources]
In addition to the English training at a recognized training facility, immigrants are sometimes referred to an online option, called LINC Home Study Canada. This can be a good alternative for people who are not able to attend school for a number of reasons such as work, accessibility or child care. The minimum level of English to enroll in this program is 2 (based on the CLBPT score). [See Related Resources]
Other Ways to Study English
If you cannot study English on a full-time basis, if you are not eligible for language training classes, or while waiting for your spot at the free language training, there are many ways you can enhance your English skills on your own. Here are some ideas:
- ask for access to English language training resources at the Confederation Centre Library
- obtain a dictionary, text books and/or computer software programs for learning English and study at home
- read newspapers, listen to the radio and watch television programs in English
- read children's books or stories in English -- it is easier to start learning with simple texts
- be active in the community and use every opportunity to communicate in English with neighbours and friends
- get enrolled in a group or a club that shares your interests (sports, hobbies or ideas)