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Language skills, profiles, and prospects among international newcomers to Edmonton, Alberta.


This article aims to build both community and scholarly knowledge of skills, aspirations, needs, and characteristics of the international newcomer adult population in Edmonton. It highlights the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) test scores, socio-demographic profiles, as well as goals and plans among adult immigrants and refugee clients of the Language Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre (LARCC) in Edmonton, Alberta. LARCC includes both provincially and federally funded programs. It provides immigrants and refugees with a recognized assessment of their current level of English language proficiency; knowledge of local options and resources for relevant English language and occupational training; and helps newcomers explore their educational and career goals/opportunities.

This article is largely practical rather than theoretical, presenting a practitioners' perspective into how to better enhance the benefits of immigration for immigrants, in particular, and for the larger society as a whole. As such, following an empirical discussion, we conclude with recommendations based on concrete knowledge of language skill development challenges at different competency levels, and the labour market advantages of language proficiency. Likewise, we suggest concrete ways to better address the language, occupational skills, and integration opportunities afforded by having such a diverse new population arriving in Alberta.


Cet article a pour l'objectif d'augmenter les connaissances dans les milieux communautaires et academiques au sujet des habilites, des espoirs, des besoins, et des caracteristiques de la population de nouveaux arrivants adultes a Edmonton. Il met en evidence les resultats des tests d'anglais, selon les Niveaux de Competences Linguistiques Canadiens (NCLC), les caracteristiques sociodemographiques, ainsi que les objectifs personnels parmi les immigrants adultes et refugies, qui sont les clients du Centre devaluation linguistique, d'orientation, et de conseil (LARCC) a Edmonton. LARCC comprend deux programmes, finances par la province d'une part et par le gouvernement federal de l'autre part. Ces programmes fournissent aux clients une ?aluation reconnue de leur niveau actuel de maitrise de Tangiais. Les clients apprennent aussi, au besoin, les possibilites et les ressources locales pertinentes a une formation professionnelle, ou reliee a leur metier cible. lis peuvent beneficier de I'aide pour mieux explorer leurs buts educatifs et professionnels.

Cet article se veut pratique plutot que theorique. Il presente le point de vue des agents qualifies dans le secteur sur la fagon de mieux valoriser les avantages de Timmigration pour les immigrants, en particulier, et pour la societe dans son ensemble. En tant que tel, nous presentons une discussion empirique, suivie de recommandations fondees sur une connaissance concrete des defis de ('acquisition de langue a differents niveaux de competences, et les grands avantages au marche du travail d'une bonne maitrise de la langue. De mame, nous proposons des moyens concrets pour mieux apprecier les possibilites d'echange et d'integration conferees par Tarrivee de tant de diverses langues, habiletes, et perspectives au sol albertain.


The 2006 Canadian Census on immigration and citizenship shows that 70 per cent of the national foreign n population does not speak English or French as a first language. This artic presents data culled from the 2012-2013 Annual Report of the Language, Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre (LARCC) in Edmonton, Alberta. It provides the statistical profiles of immigrants and refugees who were seeking assistance with their English language skills in the capital region of the resource rich province of Alberta. It reports how they fared in their language assessments, and what we know of their career goals and aspirations. The article continues with practitioner observations, perspectives, and suggestions for improvement in language and occupational training approaches in the region.

Although this is a study of the situation specific to Edmonton, it is expected to shed light on elements of language assessment, referral, and training that are applicable in other settings. In particular we identify issues and approaches that are likely to be of general relevance across provinces and cities in Canada.


The Province of Alberta identifies the need for a large immigrant workforce to support its growing economy (Esses et al. 2013). In fact, Alberta's immigrants accounted for 19.2% of its working age population in 2012--the third highest percentage among the provinces of Canada (Government of Alberta 2012). The Province may face a shortfall of more than 77,000 workers in the next ten years; thus, the successful attraction and retention of immigrants is essential for ensuring continued prosperity. Evidence suggests that immigration to Alberta is steadily increasing, with 24,201 arrivals in 2008 and 35,764 in 2012 (Esses et al. 2013). To meet the labour market goals of the province, and the career goals of the new arrivals, adequate language training, and occupational language training and integration issues need to be addressed.

The Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) comprises an increasingly organized network of agencies and organizations dedicated to the successful integration of newcomers to the province. As an integral member of this network, Immigration and Settlement Service at Catholic Social Services (CSS), based mostly in Edmonton, has been working since 1962 to assist immigrants and refugees to settle, integrate, and contribute to Canadian society. In 2012, Immigration and Settlement Service at CSS served over 18,000 newcomers.

The Language Assessment, Referral and Counselling Centre (LARCC) at CSS provides the centralized assessment service for the capital region of the province. As in other metropolitan areas around the country, the assessment centre does not provide language training itself, but provides objective referrals to the local training options offered by other service providers in the metropolitan area or region. LARCC is comprised of the Language and Vocational Assessment Program (LVA), funded now by Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training, and Labour at the provincial level, and the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Assessment and Referral Program, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Provincial Services in Edmonton: Language and Vocational Assessment (LVA)

LVA assists immigrants and refugees to: determine their English language proficiency; access language training opportunities; advance their vocational/career/employability goals; and enhance their educational opportunities. These services can include first language assistance. To accomplish its mission, the LVA Program serves stakeholders and the community. It identifies and analyses client needs, referring clients to appropriate language, education and training programs; conducts workshops; shares information; and provides networking and liaison opportunities. Furthermore, the Program undertakes special projects related to its mandate. LVA continues to provide a key service for international newcomers to the metropolitan area of Edmonton, and to other regions of the province. Beginning, as needed, with a formal assessment of newcomer communicative competence in English, according to the national Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB), the program provides co-ordinated information and access to relevant language and occupational programs and opportunities. CLB are correlated with the national Essential Skills framework to identify and describe the key communication skills for successful workplace integration.

The province of Alberta, through its Alberta Works, Skills Investment Program, provides language training opportunities at CLB level 5 and higher (out of a scale of pre-Benchmark to Benchmark 12). Benchmark levels are described in further detail later in this article. The province also makes available some occupation-specific bridging programs to assist new immigrants with credentials in fields such as engineering and nursing, to make successful transitions into employment in their fields. Limited programming is also available to train newcomers for fields in which they have no prior learning, such as Health Care Aide, Machinist, or Day Home Provider. Programming for eligible participants can include a modest living allowance based on family need.

Federal Services in Edmonton: Language Instructions for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

The LINC Assessment and Referral Program at CSS was established in January 1994 in response to identified community needs and to changes in federal policies related to eligibility for language training. The LINC Assessment and Referral Program's mandate is to serve LINC-eligible immigrant and refugee clients with: assessment of English language shills; assessment of learning needs; current and comprehensive information about LINC programs; and referral to appropriate LINC programs.

Most newcomers who are permanent residents are eligible for free LINC language classes. Federally funded language instruction was first introduced in Canada in 1947; at that time the emphasis was still on the explicit assimilation of newcomers (Joshee 1996). In 1965 the Department of Manpower and Immigration became responsible for the language training of immigrants who were planning to enter the labour force (Cleghorn 2000). At that point, most federally sponsored immigrant integration programs were mandated to emphasize employment. These programs were aimed at the declared breadwinner in the household regardless of actual employment status. As a result, far more men than women were able to access language training because men were more likely to be deemed the principal breadwinners. When the LINC program was first introduced in 1992, it brought a swing of the pendulum in the content focus of language training for new immigrants. Consequently, the objective was broadened to foster integration into Canadian society. Today language classes are devoted to teaching basic language literacy as well as advanced and workplace-specific language skills (in part, through a regionally determined selection of Enhanced Language Training partnerships). Some seats are available for newcomers with special needs.

LINC is offered in six levels, from complete beginner to an intermediate level at CLB 5 or 6, depending on the jurisdiction. Learners receive language training, orientation to the community, Canadian cultural experiences, and assistance in developing skills needed to live in a Canadian community. Qualified instructors teach LINC classes either in a classroom setting or through distance education. Classes may be full-time or part-time, during the day, evening or on weekends. Some LINC programs offer funding to cover the cost of child care and transportation. Child-minding services are sometimes available on site.


This section presents answer to the following questions:

* Who is coming for language assessment services in Edmonton?

* What CLB language levels are newcomers achieving?

* What are newcomers' priorities and goals in Canada?

As reflected in Table 1, LARCC served the English Language and occupational learning needs of 8,444 new and return clients, using CLB tools, from April 1, 2012-March 31, 2013.

Socio-Demographic Profile of Clients Served


As presented in Figure 1, more female clients than male clients seek language assessment and referral services: 1,512 (61%) for LVA and 1,559 (63%) for LINC. The exact reasons for this are unknown, though anecdotally, many women who come for service fill the role of homemaker in the family system, and demonstrate less familiarity with English. These results confirm the report of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2013) that Canada's female population is increasingly diverse. In 2006, there were 3.2 million immigrant women, a fifth (20.3%) of the entire female population. Canada's population is aging and females continue to outnumber males by a slight margin (50.4% to 49.6%), in part due to their longer life expectancy.


LVA had 885 new clients whose ages ranged from 35-44 years old (36%), while 933 of new LINC clients were 25-34 years old (38%). Results coincide with the Statistics Canada (2009) report stating that people tend to migrate while they are young. As a result, the immigrants who arrived in Canada since 2001 were over-represented in the younger age brackets. In 2006, 57.3% of recent immigrants were in the prime-working age group of 25 to 54, compared with only 42.3% of the Canadian-born population. Together, recent immigrants to Canada accounted for 3.9% of the population in this age group.

Mother Language and Birth Country

Thirteen per cent of LVA clients during the year represented spoke Tagalog as their first language, while 10% of LINC clients spoke each of Somali and Mandarin. Tagalog was the fastest-growing language in Canada, as the number of people who report speaking it has gone up by 64% between 2006 and 2011 (Statistics Canada 2011).

Results show that the Philippines, China, and India were the three top countries of origin among LVA and LINC clients in 2012-13. The result is congruent with the Statistics Canada (2013) report that Asia (including the Middle East) was Canada's largest source of immigrants from 2006-2011.

Moreover, the Canadian census (2006) declares that Edmonton was the census metropolitan area (CMA) where the sixth-largest share of newcomers settled. Among the estimated 1.1 million recent immigrants in Canada, 2.9% settled in Edmonton, up from 2.2% in 2001. Edmonton has the second-largest foreign-born population in Alberta. In 2006, 189,800 foreign-born were living in the Edmonton CMA, who represented 36% of all Albertans born outside of Canada.

Among the Edmontonians who were born outside Canada, 16.8% arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006. In total, the 2006 Census enumerated 31,900 newcomers. Most of the newcomers to Edmonton (62.1%) were born in Asia and the Middle East. The Philippines (13.4% of newcomers), India (13%) and the People's Republic of China (12.2%) were the leading countries of birth of recent immigrants who settled in Edmonton in 2006.

Immigration Status

Immigration status shows that 27% of new EVA clients entered Canada as skilled workers, and likewise 27% through the family class category; while 36% of LINC clients entered through the Government Assisted Refugee program.

Canadian Citizenship

Of the 3392 new and returning LVA clients, 16% were Canadian citizens. LINC does not offer service to Canadian citizens.

Length of Residency and Secondary/Inland Migration

Twenty-eight per cent of new LVA clients (703/2488) responded that they relocated to Alberta after spending several days, months, or years in other areas of the country. Sixteen per cent of new LINC clients (404/2471) reported that they relocated to Alberta after spending time in their original destination city. These numbers are congruent with the Statistics Canada (2013) report that Edmonton attracted a large share of newcomers in 2006. It adds that the foreign-born population in Edmonton grew by 14.9% between 2001 and 2006, outpacing the total growth of the CMA (10.6%), and the national growth rate of the foreign-born population (13.6%).

Based on social integration research, the Alberta Settlement Outcomes survey (2013) finds that the majority of immigrants hope to live in the province for the next five years, but may move to other places primarily if there are better job prospects elsewhere.

Fourteen percent of LVA clients sought language and/or occupational supports from the program after more than ten years of residency in the country. This implies that successful labour market inclusion eludes a significant number of newcomers.


These recent immigrants were asked about their educational attainment or technical training from their home country. Data show 1767 (72%) of new LVA clients had either university or post-secondary technical education, while 1357 (55%) of new LINC clients had higher education.

As indicated in Table 6 the data imply that most newcomers are equipped educationally. Hence, supporting them with some training can allow them to be ready in the job market.

Employment Status

As noted in Table 7, twenty-eight per cent of first-time LVA clients were employed fulltime when they came for service, 13% part-time, and 1% were self-employed, for a total of 42% known to be working clients. The Alberta Settlement Outcomes survey (2013) indicates that almost 70% of immigrants are working full- or part-time, with a further 4% self-employed or owning their own business. LARCC clients include those newcomers to Alberta who are not working in employment which they find satisfactory.

When asked about occupation in their home country, 13% of LVA clients were students, and at least 20% (estimated 36+ %) were working as professionals or tradespeople. More than one third of LVA clients (37%) worked in unique occupations, each representing less than 1% of the total number of clients served, as represented by the "Other" category in Table 8.

As demonstrated in Table 8, in Canada, most newcomers are employed in sales, cleaning, labour, or entry level work. Employment in Home Country of LINC clients during the year represented, are reported in Table 9. At the date of this article, the federal LINC program does not capture statistics on newcomer occupations in Canada.

Data correspond with the Alberta Settlement Outcomes Survey (2013) that shows most commonly held jobs in Alberta are in Sales and Service occupations, and jobs that do not require university degrees.

Outcomes of English Language Proficiency Assessments: CLB Test Results

The CLBs are a national standard used in Canada to provide a frame of reference for assessing, programming, teaching, and learning adult English as a second, or additional, language (CCLB 2014; Holmes et al. 2010). The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) is the centre of expertise in support of the national standards in English and French for describing, measuring and recognizing second language proficiency of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants for living and working in Canada. The CLB are founded on significant theoretical considerations and principles (CCLB 2012). The most influential one is the principle of communicative language ability, which relates to the ability to understand and communicate messages effectively and appropriately in a particular social or professional situation. Language ability requires an integration of language knowledge, skills, and strategies. The CLB standard is based on an adaptation of the model described by Bachman (1990) and the model described by Bachman and Palmer (1996). It also draws upon a pedagogical model of communicative competence by Celce-Murcia, Dornyei and Thurrell (1995). The benchmarks can help in opening doors to more effective hiring, better training, greater employee retention, improved productivity, and competitive advantage.

As a tool, the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standardizes the description of an individual's language proficiency according to 12 benchmark levels. It covers four skill areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening, using real life language tasks to describe language skills. Levels 1-4 are considered a basic level of proficiency; 5-8 are considered intermediate; and 9-12 are considered advanced. Increasing numbers of occupations refer to CLB levels in order to target required language competence for safe and successful workplace integration.

The two main assessment tools used at LARCC are the Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment (CLBA) and the Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT), each of which assesses English skills from Pre-Benchmark to Benchmark (BM) 8. The original CLBA can take up to four hours to administer, and provides clients opportunity to demonstrate a range of skills in a variety of tasks up to BM 8. It is used most frequently by the LVA team at LARCC to determine language levels of clients seeking entry into professional/occupational training or bridging programs. The CLBPT was created to provide a more time efficient tool, which can be completed in 1.5 hours or less. It is used for placement into adult English as a Second or Alternative Language (ESL/EAL) or LINC programs.

The Canadian Language Benchmarks Literacy Assessment (CLBLA) can also assess the literacy levels of clients who have little or no education in their first language. It can be conducted in 27 languages, including English. The LINC team uses this tool more frequently than the LVA team, and only 165 clients had their English skills assessed using this tool during the 2012-2013 year. The Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment (ELTPA) assesses client English skills levels from BM 6-10, however, criteria for taking the assessment includes a previous CLBA or CLBPT score. It was used infrequently at LARCC in 2012-13, and only 10 individuals scored higher than BM 8 in at least one skill area. Clients tend to score higher in the receptive language skills (Listening and Reading) than in the productive skills (Speaking and Writing).

LVA Client Language Levels

The results of CLBPT (N = 1,741) and CLBA (N = 1,139) taken by LVA clients are presented in Figure 4. Data show that 647 (22%) of clients got BM 5 for listening and 1,029 (36%) got BM 5 and 6 for speaking skills, respectively. This listening score implies that clients can understand many words and phrases about familiar topics spoken at a normal speed. They also understand some indirect meaning when people talk about familiar topics. Individuals with the most common speaking scores have initial or developing intermediate oral proficiency. They can communicate facts and ideas in some detail, and can use a variety of grammatical structures, some of them complex, in routine social conversations. Likewise, they can also use a range of common vocabulary, perhaps some idioms, and demonstrate reasonable fluency. They have not yet developed the competency in English to communicate complex or abstract ideas in more challenging or formal situations. (Thorough descriptors of language skills at the different benchmarks are available in CCLB materials, and online through their website, at

In reading, the largest number of LVA clients, 490 (17%), scored BM 6, which means that they can understand short texts written in plain English that are a little difficult. They can get the main idea, key details, and some indirect meanings. They are beginning to understand the writer's purpose, intent, and attitude. In writing, the most common score was BM 4: 477 (17%) clients. This score means that clients can use short, simple sentences to write a paragraph about a personal experience or other familiar topic.

LINC Client Language Levels

It can be gleaned from Figure 5 that 479 (21%) of LINC clients got BM 5 in listening whereas 794 (34%) scored at BM 3 or 4 in speaking. Clients served by LINC tend to be more recent arrivals to Canada. Their English speaking ability at this level is characterized by communication in simple sentences, with strongest competency in expressing familiar ideas in a day to day context. The greatest number of reading scores, 416 (18%) were at BM 3. This means that they can read and understand simple, everyday words and some basic information from simple, short stories about routine events. Writing scores of 453 (20%) of respondents were at BM 4, meaning that they can use short, simple sentences to write paragraph about a personal experience or other familiar topic.

Based on the results of the Literacy Assessment (CLBLA) taken by 165 clients, the greatest number of individuals scored Pre Benchmark in listening and speaking, which means that they neither understand nor communicate in English. In reading, 72 (43%) scored BM 2, indicating that they can read the alphabet, simple words, and very simple sentences about everyday life. They need pictures to aid their understanding in writing. The majority (50%) of clients got BM 1 in writing, which means that they can copy words and numbers correctly. Likewise, they can write simple words about themselves.

Client Priorities and Goals

At intake, LVA clients are asked about their priorities in Canada. Forty percent identified full-time or part-time English as a Second/Alternative Language (ESL/EAL) as their priority. Skill and Career Training was listed second, at 15%. Results imply that clients prefer to improve their English first before they integrate into the Canadian mainstream and pursue their chosen field of specialization. Indeed, LVA Counsellors often work with return clients who have lost employment because linguistic or cultural misunderstandings at the worksite led to their layoff.

Employment goals are extremely varied among LVA clients. Twenty percent of clients name unique professional goals captured under the 'Other' category in Table 14. At least 21% were seeking employment in one of various medical care professions. A significant number were unable to name a specific occupational goal at the time of intake.

LARCC staff and counsellors note that clients come with enormous skills, talents, potential, and dreams. Most are facing labour market and economic realities that curb their aspirations. Staff typically do their utmost to ensure clients are aware of local language and occupational training resources and opportunities, to fill the gaps in linguistic and contextual knowledge, and to be successful in their new locale. By focusing on knowledge gaps; however, the province may be missing out on the opportunity to recognize and support the tremendous personal assets, unique knowledge, perspectives, and skills that newcomers bring. Newcomers need opportunities to build networks for relationships, to share ideas and resources, to express their hopes, and to build individual and collective potential in their new society. They bring the seeds of new and diverse growth in the province, and on personal and familial levels, they need to trust that a reasonable livelihood is forthcoming.


Clients served by LARCC from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 come from diverse backgrounds. Fifty-five per cent of LINC first-time clients came with post-secondary qualifications, while 72% of LVA clients had this level of education.

Employment status statistics show that 28% of LVA first-time clients are employed full-time in Canada, mostly in front line jobs. Of repeat clients coming for service, none report full-time employment, and a quarter to a third consider themselves students.

The majority of international newcomers served by LVA were in the Skilled Worker and Family Class immigration categories last year, while LINC clients were primarily in the Government Assisted Refugees (GAR) and Family Classes.

The majority of clients assessed by LINC fall in the Benchmark (BM) 3-5 range, and BM 2-4 in writing compared to their LVA counterparts: BM 4-6 range, and BM 5-7 in reading. LINC tends to serve those clients with English skills in the earlier BM ranges, and LVA tends to serve those at the higher BM ranges. There are language skill development challenges at each of the competency levels, and all adult newcomers need to secure a livelihood. There are strong social and labour market participation benefits to supporting each adult newcomer to attain the strongest level of competency possible in each language skill.

Most clients reporting a future occupational goal indicate a choice for the practical nursing or health care aide field. This trend undoubtedly comes from common understanding of the growing needs of the aging Canadian population, and the availability and accessibility of related skills programs.

The data on priorities show that most clients served are looking to improve their English, followed by a need for skills training, upgrading, information, and employment, or different employment. Five per cent are looking to pursue post-secondary studies. Observably, there is a strong correlation between client priorities noted and the referrals provided by LARCC. This service provides an initial step in the path to secure livelihood. A second step includes some of the excellent full-time and part-time LINC, ESL/EAL, and occupational training or bridging programs available around the capital region.

In order to maintain and build healthy key service infrastructure for international newcomers to the metropolitan area of Edmonton, community partners need to work together to create the networks and pathways that lead to substantive labour market success for the majority of newcomers. Further steps need to include more social, business, and employment networking opportunities into which newcomers can reliably integrate. They need to include more supported on-the-job language and occupational skills development, including intercultural or transcultural skill development for established workers and newcomers alike.

Current language training programming is set up to address language skills before occupational skills, and there is certainly some merit to this system. Paradoxically, however, clients also report finding themselves isolated in the comfortable bubble of a language class for too many months, to the detriment of their professional skills and networking opportunities. LVA has frequently recommended in program reports that language and occupational training opportunities need to be more immediately linked to employers, so that newcomers build their connections and opportunities more seamlessly. The idea of an apprenticeship type model of integrating newcomers into the labour market has gained some traction, however not to a significant extent. If employers and civic communities can more readily be expected to encourage and support relevant language training, and opportunities for inter-cultural and inter-ideological understanding for all staff or community members, we may make more significant strides towards maximizing prospects and potential for newcomers and all community members.

Meanwhile, the mechanism of federally funded LINC classes (and provincial or municipally funded initiatives) could potentially expand to partner with more employers, work sites, and municipalities to make participation in language and settlement training more feasible for a greater number of newcomers. Established residents, municipal groups, and workers also need formal opportunities to intentionally connect with and better understand the new colleagues with whom they are living and working.

LARCC   Language Assessment, Referral, and Counselling Centre.
LVA     Language and Vocational Assessment
LINC    Language Instructions for Newcomers to Canada
CIC     Citizenship and Immigration Canada
CLB     Canadian Language Benchmarks
CLBA    Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment
CLBPT   Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test
CLBLA   Canadian Language Benchmarks Literacy Assessment
ELPTA   Enhanced Language Training Placement Assessment


We would like to acknowledge Alberta Jobs, Skills, Training, and Labour for their funding support. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers who provided very helpful comments on the earlier draft of this paper.


--. 2014. Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA).

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Bachman, Lyle, and Adrian Palmer. 1996. Language Testing in Practice: Designing and Developing Useful Language Tests. New York: Oxford University Press.

Canadian Language Benchmarks English as a Second Language for Adults. 2012. Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Ottawa, Canada.

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Celce-Murcia, Marianne, Zoltan Dornyei, and Sarah Thurrell. 1995. Communicative Competence: A Pedagogically Motivated Model with Content Specifications. Issues in Applied Linguistics 6.2: 5-35.

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ALBERT MAGANAKA has a Ph.D. in Extension Education from the Philippines. As a Program Coordinator, Education Counsellor, and Language Assessor at LARCC, he has provided language assessments and relevant educational referrals to adult ESL/EAL clients and organized information sessions for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs). He also facilitates client access to community supports, events, and resources, and conducts formal/informal research. He is certified as a Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessment (CLBA), CLB Placement Test (CLBPT), and CLB Literacy Placement Test (CLBLPT) assessor. His Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) with Advance Consulting for Education was recognized by TESL Canada.

HEATHER PLAIZIER worked with the national community volunteer program, Katimavik, then taught French Immersion in the school system, and worked as a curriculum and materials developer, and language, literacy, and workplace instructor with refugees and immigrants to the Edmonton area. She joined LARCC in 1999 as Education Counsellor, and then worked as Team Leader and Program Manager. She served on the Board and as Regional Trainer for the CCLB. During her Master's degree at the University of Alberta, she investigated "Sense of Place" among newcomers to rural settings, and continues to explore that experience in her personal life.
TABLE 1. Category of LARCC Clients

Category of
LARCC Clients
(LVA & LINC)                     N         %

First-time Clients            4959        59
Repeat Clients *              2580        31
Group Participants **          905        10
Total                         8444       100

* Repeat clients include those who
have returned months or years after
initial service by LARCC, after
their initial file has been closed.

** Group clients are served in
information sessions or workshops.

TABLE 2. Distribution of LVA and LINC Clients
by 15 Leading First Languages/Mother's Language

Languages (LVA)                       N         %

Tagalog (Filipino)                  320        13

Arabic                              247        10

Spanish                             171         7

Somali                              167         7

Mandarin                            156         6

Punjabi                             121         5

French                              109         4

Urdu                                 98         4

Amharic                              85         4

Nepali                               71         3

Tigrinya                             69         3

English, Farsi                      232        10
  (Dari/ Persian), Gujarati,
  Russian, Bengali (2% each)
  Korean, Hindi, Turkish,

Oromo (1% each)                     133         4

Others                              508        20

Total                              2488       100

Languages (LINC)                      N         %

Somali                              252        10

Mandarin                            251        10

Arabic                              232         9

French                              160         7

Tigrinya                            131         5

Amharic                              92         4

Punjabi                              86         4

Urdu                                 73         3

Oromo                                67         3

Russian                              59         2

Vietnamese                           51         2

Chinese-Other                        50         2

Hindi                                50         2

Tagalog                              49         2

Korean                               46         2

Farsi (Dari/Persian)                 37         1

Others                              783        32

Unknown                               2         0

Total                              2471       100

TABLE 3. Distribution of LVA and LINC Clients
by the Leading 15 Countries/Region of Birth Country

Countries                         N     %

Philippines                     341    14
India                           249    10
China                           181     7
Somalia                         168     7
Ethiopia                        136     6
Pakistan                        102     4
Nepal                            67     3
Egypt                            63     2
Eritrea                          58     2
Mexico                           55     2
Sudan                            45     2
Colombia                         42     2
Lebanon                          41     2
Ukraine/Bangladesh (2% each)     78     4
Iran, Iraq, Korea (South),      173     5
  Vietnam (1% each)
Others *                        689    28
Total                           2488   100

* Other Countries and Regions (Total= 130)

Countries                         N     %

China                           306    12
India                           267    11
Somalia                         253    10
Ethiopia                        170     7
Eritrea                         141     6
Chile                           102     4
Pakistan                         81     3
Iraq                             61     3
Philippines                      58     2
Vietnam                          55     2
Colombia                         53     2
Afghanistan                      51     2
Korea (South)                    44     2
Sudan                            42     2
Iran                             41     2
Others                          746    30

Total                           2471   100

* Other Countries and Regions (Total = 130)

TABLE 4. Categories of LVA and LINC Clients


                       First time        Repeat Clients       LINC *

Categories               N       %       N       %       N       %

Skilled worker         669      27     206      23      --      --
Family Class           667      27     259      29    1296      31
  Assisted Refugee     290      12     182      20    1483      36
Other refugee          212       9      83       9      --      --
Live-in Caregiver       64       3      19       2      --      --
Provincial Nominee      61       2      35       4      --      --
  resident/student      54       2      10       1      --      --
Convention Refugee
  (has letter)          29       1      11       1      --      --
Independent & or
  Self Employed         18       1       8       1      --      --
Canadian born           17       1       6       1      --      --
  Entrepreneur          10       0       2       0      --      --
Foreign born
  Canadian Citizen       2       0      --      --      --      --
Minister's permit        2       0      --      --      --      --
Economic                --      --      --      --    1257      30
Undetermined           393      15      19       2      26       1
Other                   --      --      --      --      85       2
Total                 2488     100     903     100    4147     100

* new and repeat clients

TABLE 5. Length of Residency in Canada/Alberta
among LVA Clients

Length of
Residency            In Canada    In Alberta
(LVA)                   N     %      N     %

Less than one year     27     1     47     2
1-3 years            1253    51   1476    59
4-6 years             574    23    552    22
7-9 years             234     9    187     8
Over 10 years         358    14    196     8
No Answer              42     2     30     1
Total                2488   100   2488   100

Length of
Residency                Secondary/Inland
(LVA)                    Migration     N

Less than one year           21
1-3 years                   465
4-6 years                   124
7-9 years                    64
Over 10 years                29
No Answer                    --
Total                       703

TABLE 6. Years of Schooling in Country of Origin

                              LVA               LINC

Years of Schooling          N       %         N       %

No formal education        63       2        88       4
1-7 years                 145       6       290      12
8-10 years *              721      29       471      19
11 years or more         1559      63      1612      65

Total                    2488     100      2471     100

Technical/Vocational Training

1-2 years                 182               143
3-4 years                 114               102
5-6 years                  21                18
7 years and over            8                 1

Total                     325      13       264      11

University/College Education

1-2 years                 219               196
3-4 years                 706               560
5-6 years                 400               328
7 years and over          117                 9
Total                    1442      59      1093      44

* Note that some international educational jurisdictions allow
students to pursue technical or post-secondary education after
10 years of primary and secondary education.

TABLE 7. Employment Status of LVA Clients


                             First-timed        Repeat
                               clients         clients

Employment Status             N       %       N       %

Employed Full time          698      23      --      --
Employed part time          335      13       6       1
Unemployed                  687      27     206      23
Homemaker                   210       8      --      --
Student                     121       5     259      28
Other                        67       3      --      --
Maternity/Parental Leave     42       2      --      --
Self-employed                24       1      --      --
Disabled                      9       1      83       9
Retired                       8       0      --      --
Unknown                     287      12     349      39
TOTAL                      2488     100     903     100

TABLE 8. Occupation of LVA Clients in their
Home Country and in Canada

Occupation of LVA Clients
Home Country

Occupation                          N     %

Student                           319    13
Teacher/Educator                  229     9
Sales/Customer Service            125     5
Homemaker                         118     5
Accountant                         88     4
Nurse-Registered                   85     3
Owner-Small Business               80     3
Driver/Delivery Pick up            65     3
Doctor/ Physician                  55     2
Administrative Asst./Secretary     53     2
Hair Stylist/Esthetician           35     1
Cashier                            26     1
Trade-Carpenter/ Construction      26     1
Engineer-Civil                     25     1
Other *                           917    37
Unknown                           204     8
Not Applicable                     38     2

Total                             2488   100

Occupation of LVA
Clients in Canada

Occupation                          N     %

Sales/Customer Service            257    10
Student                           157     6
Janitor/Housekeeper               135     6
Homemaker                         132     5
Labourer                          127     5
Cashier                            89     3
Healthcare Aide                    88     4
Driver/Delivery/ Pick up           76     3
Hospitality/ Hotel Worker          49     2
Cook's/Kitchen Helper              43     2
Factory Worker                     42     2
Cook                               37     2
Day Care Worker                    35     1
Live-In Caregiver                  33     1
Trade-Other                        32     1
Trade-Carpenter/ Construction      29     1
Other *                           544    23
Unknown                           482    19
Not Applicable                    101     4
Total                             2488   100

* Other Occupations: (Total = 122 occupations)
(less than 1% each, in descending order of frequency)

* Other Occupations: (Total = 92) (less than 1% each,
in descending order of frequency)

Pharmacist, Professor, Engineer-other, Nurse Practical,
Manager-Operations, Medical Technologist (many titles),
Farmer/Gardener/Livestock, Manager-Service/Retail, Marketing,
Bank Teller, Factory Worker, Cook, Engineer-Mechanical/
Industrial, Janitor/Housekeeper, Nurses/Health Care Aide,
IT Network Specialist, Labourer, Other, Engineer-Electrical/
Electronic, Social Worker, Receptionist, Hospitality/Hotel
Worker, Waiter/Waitress/Bartender, Trade-Electrician/
Instruments, Trade-Other, Seamstress/Tailor, EngineerChemical/
Materials, Other-Technical, Day Care Worker, TradeMechanic,
and Dentist Childcare Worker, Security Guard, Waiter/Waitress/
Bartender, Owner-Small Business, Trade-Machinist/CNC, Shipper/
Receiver, Administrative Assistant/Secretary, Other-Technical,
Receptionist. Hair Stylist/Esthetician, Baker, Supervisor-Customer
Service, Manager-Service, Homecare Worker,
Painter/Decorator, Other-Professional, Accountant, and

TABLE 9. Occupation of LINC Clients in their Home Country

Occupation                                 N       %

Student                                  351      14
Unemployed (ex: Refugee Camp)            301      12
Homemaker                                202       8
Teacher/Educator                         197       8
Sales/Customer Service (many titles)     127       5
Accountant                                80       3
Owner-small business                      56       3
Administrative Assistant/Secretary        47       2
Farmer/Gardener/Livestock                 43       2
Driver/Delivery/Pick up                   35       2
Cook                                      34       1
Nurse-Registered                          31       1
Labourer                                  30       1
Trade-Carpenter, construction, etc.       30       1
Manager-Operations                        27       1
Engineer-Electrical/Electronic            26       1
Waitress/Waiter/Bartender                 23       1
Hospitality/Hotel Worker                  23       1
Trade-Mechanic                            21       1
Bank Teller                               21       1
Others (less than 1% each)               724      29
Unknown                                   42       2
Total                                   2471     100

TABLE 10. Client Priorities Seeking Provincial Language
Services in Edmonton

Client Priorities                     N         %

ESL Full Time                       694        28
Skill Training/Career               361        15
ESL Part time                       288        12
Upgrading                           210         8
Information                         163         6
Employment                          129         5
Post-Secondary                      121         5
Educational Counselling              83         3
Other                               144         6
Not entered                         295        12

Total                              2488       100

TABLE 11. Future Goals

Future Goal                                N         %

Unknown                                  216         9
Practical Nurse                          182         7
Health Care Aide/Nurse's Aide            164         7
Accountant                                84         3
Teacher/Educator                          77         3
Registered Nurse                          65         3
Medical Technologist                      54         2
Day Care worker                           44         2
Administrative Assistant/Secretary        43         2
Driver/Deliver/Pick Up                    40         2
Civil Engineer                            32         1
Doctor/Physician                          32         1
Own small business                        30         1
Pharmacist                                27         1
Child Care Worker                         27         1
Social Worker                             25         1
Mechanical/Industrial Engineer            24         1
Others *                                 495        20
Not entered                              827        33
Total                                   2488       100

* Other Occupational Goals: (Total= 81) (less than 1% each,
in descending order of frequency)

Business/Marketing Consultant,
Engineer, Chemistry/Physics/ Medical/Biology Researcher,
HVAC Trade, Homecare Worker, Manager, Agronomist,
Producer/Publisher, Nutritionist Dietitian, Draftsperson,
Coach/Lifeguard/Fitness/Sports, Forestry Technician,
Health/Safety Inspector, IT Technician, Librarian, Real
Estate Agent, Sales/Customer Service, Teacher's Assistant,
Financial Advisor, Receptionist, Optometrist, Human
Resources Professional, Psychologist, Counsellor,
Retail/Marketing Manager, Public Relations, IT Network
Specialist, Fashion Designer, Civil Servant, Lawyer,
Foreman, Professor, Veterinarian, Clergy, Dentist,
Industrial Technician, Architect, Bank Teller, Janitor,
Machinist, Mechanic, Plumber, Hair Stylist/Esthetician,
Welder, Pilot, Seamstress/Tailor, Baker, Cook, Painter,
Decorator, Police Investigator, Security Guard, Homemaker,
Student, Environmental Officer, Farmer/Gardener/Livestock,
Graphic/Web Designer, Hospitality/Hotel Worker, and

Fig. 1. Gender Distribution among LVA & LINC Clients

              LVA   LINC

Female       1512   1559
Male          970    908
No Answer       6      9

TOTAL        2488   2471

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 2. Age Distribution among LVA & LINC Clients

              LVA   LINC

15-24 years   229   292
25-34 years   862   933
35-44 years   885   761
45-64 years   487   394
65+            11    81
No answer      14    10

Total        2488  2471

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 3. Canadian Citizenship Status among LVA Clients

Yes        16%
No         78%
No answer   6%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Fig. 4. CLBPT/CLBA Outcomes for LVA Clients

         Listening   Speaking   Reading   Writing

Pre BM      31          30         98       50
BM 1       110         132        128      177
BM 2       188         170        198      249
BM 3       294         270        320      302
BM 4       439         402        404      477
BM 5       647         514        412      451
BM 6       438         515        490      468
BM 7       302         391        418      427
BM 8       431         453        395      264

TOTAL     2880        2877       2863     2865

* Note that numbers include results of approximately 400 repeat
clients. Clients can be eligible for re-testing after six months
have elapsed. In exceptional cases re-writes are possible in less
than six months in a decision made in discussion with an LVA
supervisor. Also, on occasion, clients require only one portion of
a CLB test (L, S, R, or W).

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 5. CLBPT/CLBA Outcomes for LINC Clients

         Listening   Speaking   Reading   Writing

Pre BM     135         144        192       74
BM 1       282         321        194      381
BM 2       274         234        308      395
BM 3       439         393        416      406
BM 4       345         401        394      453
BM 5       479         338        353      260
BM 6       212         246        233      160
BM 7        78         154        140      127
BM 8        48          61         56       32

TOTAL     2292        2292       2286     2288

* Results of Canadian language Benchmarks Placement lest
(CLBPT = 2,241) and Canadian language Benchmark Assessment (CLBA = 51)

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Maganaka, Albert; Plaizier, Heather
Publication:Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2015
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