Languages Canada warns sector “being decimated” by Coronavirus

Languages Canada warns sector “being decimated” by Coronavirus

The damage caused by the Coronavirus outbreak has put multiple language schools and SMEs facing the risk of closure, Languages Canada has warned.

Languages Canada, the accreditation body for English and French language Education in Canada, represents around 200 member institutions in 180 study locations all over the country.

As a result of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Languages Canada believes that Canada’s language education sector is “being decimated”. 

Languages Canada chief writes to government warning of Coronavirus impact

Gonzalo Peralta, the executive director of Languages Canada, has written a letter to Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, raising the issue of Coronavirus impacting the sector adversely.

Peralta highlighted the significance of international language students to Canada and the impact they have on the Canadian economy.

In the letter, Peralta claimed that the language education sector in Canada amounts to CAD $22 billion and contributes to the tourism and food industry as well.

The sector employs a staff of 9000, whose livelihoods depend on language students choosing to study in Canada

Language training “entry point” to higher education for foreign students in Canada

The Language Canada chief also pointed out the significance of language training to the wider education sector by underlining its status as an “entry point” to Canadian higher education.

Peralta noted: “Most of Canada’s 642,480 international students go through our members programs first to learn English and French and to integrate to our higher education programs and society and culture – without the language component, there is almost no international education. We are the entry point.

“Our 150,000 students, and their visiting families, are also tourists (and counted within the tourism and hospitality numbers) and use all tourism, hospitality, and restaurant services. Without them, many Canadian businesses in certain regions would not thrive.”

Peralta stated that if the Canadian government doesn’t provide financial assistance then around 150 SMEs either face closure or they will need five years to bounce back from the financial losses they will face.

But he believes strategic assistance at the right time can help reopen many SME’s post COVID-19 and the entire sector would be rebuilt in one to two years. 

In his letter, Peralta wrote: “Languages Canada has a strategy to help the country’s language education programs through this crisis, shorten the recovery time of the sector, and lessen the recovery time of Canada’s $22 billion international education and the $105 billion tourism sectors.

“But we can’t do it alone. While some of the government’s current relief measures will undoubtedly help Canadians weather the storm, such as EI and working capital loans, these options are not sufficient to assure the survival of many private language education providers(SMEs) who are being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Pic: Languages Canada website

Zahra Hamdani - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Zahra Hamdani is an Ireland-based reporter for Global Education Times who focuses on European and South Asian education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Zahra is a school-teacher and educationist with experience in both Primary and Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland as well as in Pakistan.

You can reach Zahra at zahra@globaleducationtimes.org

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