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Canadian language sector looks to recover

In 2020, the owners of GV Calgary made the “painful decision” to permanently close the language school as the pandemic hammered international education. Now, the language sector is making a coming back – and so is Global Village in Calgary.

Providers are opening new locations in Vancouver. Photo: iStock

International Gateway has opened a new school in Calgary and is planning a location in Toronto

The new Calgary school is owned by Global Village Victoria and will be opening for classes in September.

“With the excellent team we have in both Victoria and Calgary, Global Village will again be offering a full range of classes, homestay and other supports to our global students and partners in our high-value Canadian cities,” said board chair John Taplin.

Global Village is not the only company making a resurgence or expanding in Canada. Several firms are betting that the future is bright for the sector.

Bayswater Education, which recently acquired ELS Vancouver, will be opening in Vancouver in September, adding to its schools in Calgary and Toronto.

CES Centre of English Studies will be setting up a Vancouver campus next month as well. It already has a location in Toronto.

International Gateway – based in Kelowna, British Columbia – has opened a new school in Calgary and is planning a location in Toronto.

Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of the industry association Languages Canada, says Canada is already a top destination and is gaining market share.

He told The PIE News that the pandemic was incredibly challenging, with in-person classes being cancelled and the Canadian border being closed to international language students.

“Fortunately, many programs received government financial support and we were successful in lobbying for the easing of border restrictions by fall 2021,” he said. “This gave our members the best possible conditions we could hope for in an incredibly difficult context and they distinguished themselves through resilience and ingenuity.”

“We’re focusing on some of the remaining government challenges now”

Nevertheless, the language sector faces several challenges in the coming months and years.

However, as identified in Languages Canada’s recent report, the Canadian government has a huge backlog of visa applications, which has been a concern for the country’s language sector.

Languages Canada also fears that restrictions on language students’ ability to work – as program do not lead to a degree or a diploma – deter potential students from choosing Canada.

Accommodation shortages across the country, in addition to major Canadian airports struggling to operate efficiently, are other causes for concern.

“We’re focusing on some of the remaining government challenges now – namely visa backlogs and access to work – to make sure the sector can continue not just on the path to recovery, but on to growth in 2022 and beyond,” Peralta added.

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