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Healthy growth for Languages Canada members

A positive picture emerged from the latest Languages Canada figures, with a 10% increase in student numbers and growth reported from most source markets. Language students generated an estimated CA$1.6bn in export revenue and contributed $204m in federal and provincial tax revenue.

The figures show a 10% growth in student numbers since 2016. Photo: Hermes Rivera/Unsplash

In 2017, a total of 149,379 students were enrolled in a Language Canada member programs

With a response rate of 100% among LC’s members, the survey gives a comprehensive snapshot of the language teaching industry in Canada.

“We finally surpassed the level from 2013/’s good to see us back on track”

Last year, a total of 149,379 students were enrolled in a Language Canada member programs – this is an increase of about 10% since 2016.

However, if controlled for the slight decrease in the membership count – 217 programs, compared to 220 in 2016 – the growth is closer to 12%.

“It’s a very healthy growth from last year,” Languages Canada executive director Gonzalo Peralta told The PIE News.

“We finally surpassed the level from 2013/2014 – we really suffered for some years as a result of government policies, it’s good to see us back on track.”

While the number of total students weeks increased to 1.6 million, the average length of stay decreased– on average, students spent 10.8 weeks studying languages in Canada, a downward trend from the 11.1 weeks in 2016 and 11.8 in 2015. There was a difference between private sector and public sector programs, reporting average stays of 9.5 and 15.3 weeks, but decreases were reported from across the membership.

In a trend observed in other ELT markets as well, such as the UK, junior students are increasingly taking up a larger proportion of enrolments, jumping from 12,632 in 2016 to 16,153 in 2017 – a 28% increase.

A total of 48,317 students indicated they intended to pursue post-secondary studies after their language course, up from 45,174 in 2016.

The top-five source markets, which have remained consistent over the past couple of years, were Brazil, taking the lead again this year, Japan, China, Korea and Mexico. All markets reported growth except a few.

Among the fastest risers were Mexico and Vietnam, which showed a 41% and a 203% growth respectively since 2016. Students from Saudi Arabia have dropped drastically due to changes to the King Abdullah Scholarship program, and their number may drop further due to the recent diplomatic tension.

French language programs, mostly concentrated in the province of Quebec, which hosted a total of 9,402 students in 2017, benefit from different source markets. Most students are Canadians, followed by students from the US, Mexico, Brazil and China.


The association has focused its business development activities on Brazil, China, Colombia and Vietnam in 2015/16, adding Mexico, Italy and Eastern Europe in 2017.  It has identified China, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Colombia and Turkey as the top countries of interest for future marketing and business development activities.



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