ESL: Caledon Community Services – Teaching English and Enhancing Lives

Most people take for granted a trip to the supermarket, post office or bank, but for those whose first language is not English these routine tasks can be quite a hurdle to overcome. For newcomers to Canada learning English helps make these everyday tasks a little less daunting; it builds self-esteem as well as a sense of community and belonging.

Caledon Community Services’ (CCS) Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program is offering free English language classes to adult immigrants living in Caledon and surrounding areas.

Vishaka Wanigasinghe came to Canada five months ago from Sri Lanka. Before arriving in Caledon she was a Women’s Development Officer and helped women enhance their lives. Today she is taking LINC classes and is also working as a volunteer at the main CCS office in downtown Bolton.

"I have been in Canada for the last five months. In the first few months I had a very hard time with my language. The communication gap disconnected me from the community and it frustrated me. But I joined the LINC classes and I am improving my knowledge of English. Not only that, but I have also made lots of friends from different parts of the world. Now I can express my ideas and share my happiness and sorrows. I am taking advantage of this great opportunity. I feel good now!" Vishaka says.

A few weeks ago, Vishaka started as an Administrative Assistant volunteer at the front reception of the organization. "In this position I am improving my knowledge and also my skills. I know how to use a fax machine and photocopy machine now. In my country we did not do that. I’m improving on every side…I can’t say I’m only improving my English knowledge. I’m improving in all areas of life."

"As a multi-service organization, Caledon Community Services has the advantage of being able to offer clients free LINC adult English classes, while also exposing them to a large variety of other services available right here in Bolton including an employment resource centre, counseling and intervention services, information resources and so much more. Already in the eight weeks since the program’s inception, two participants have found jobs, and two people have started as volunteers within the organization," says Dominika Zapolnik, LINC Program Coordinator.

The two LINC students currently placed into volunteer positions within CCS are gaining invaluable "Canadian experience" which is helping them not only use their language training in a real world setting, but is helping them gain the work experience needed to find meaningful employment in their chosen fields.

This rounded approach to helping clients access all possible resources helps LINC students participate in and integrate more fully into the Canadian society.

LINC, Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada, is a program that provides language instruction in one of Canada’s official languages to adult immigrants so that they may acquire the necessary language skills to integrate into Canadian society. The program is open to all adult immigrants, 18 years of age and over, who are Landed Immigrants or Convention Refugees. An assessment interview confirms that the client is eligible for LINC and their current language proficiency. LINC is fully funded by the Government of Canada through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

LINC classes at Caledon Community Services are offered from Levels 1 through 5 on a part-time basis, during the day and evening. Childcare and transportation are available.

For more information about the program, or to book a language assessment contact:

  • Dominika Zapolnik, LINC Program Coordinator 905-951-2300 Ext. 253 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Egna Hernandez, LINC Administrative Assistant 905-951-2300 Ext. 252 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CNM