Wednesday, April 25, 2018

City Council to write letter of support for local Immigrant services Society, related to concerns over English as Second Language Courses through NWCC

Prince Rupert City Council members are pulling out their pens,  that after a letter for City Council from the North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, seeking the assistance of the Council when it comes to the delivery of English language lessons in the community.

A correspondence that has council members set to dispatch a correspondence to Northwest Community College and two Ministers of Premier John Horgan's NDP cabinet.

Councillor Randhawa introduced the topic to Council, noting that the Society had contacted him about the issue of the discontinuation of the English as a Second language instruction, with the Councillor noting the fears from the Society that without the presence of English upgrading options, the community may not see more immigrants to the region.

As part of his concerns over the issue, Mr. Randhawa then asked the City to provide a letter to support the call for the continuation of the program in the community.

The Mayor then introduced the motion proposed by Councillor Randhawa, that would have the Council direct staff to draft a letter requesting that NWCC reconsider the decision regarding the discontinuation of the  ESL program offered by NWCC.

Some incoming mail is on the way for the Prince Rupert campus of NWCC,
with City Council taking up the concerns on ESL training that have been
brought to their attention by the local North Coast Immigrant
and cultural Society

The discussion on the theme provided a few council members an opportunity to express their disappointment at the situation, with Councillor Cunningham calling the situation ridiculous and suggesting that the Council also send a letter to MLA Jennifer Rice and the Minister of Education.

"This is ridiculous, it's hard enough for somebody first coming to our country that comes to  a new town and a new culture and having trouble with communication, this is essential for any community that has a service industry of any type ... without a chance to learn the language what chance do they have to get a job, contribute to the community or anything else, I think it's very important that this decision is changed and changed rapidly"

He also observed on his past experience of the success of the program and the importance of English language instruction in assisting those that live in the community and how this is an issue that should be pursued by City Council.

Councillor Thorkelson made note of her concerns on the situation, finding it hard to believe that we can't some kind of a contribution towards an ESL teacher, she also observed that while the volume of immigrants to the community is not as large as it was in the 80's, that those numbers could increase again as port development continues.

"I find it very hard to believe that we can't get some kind of a contribution towards an ESL teacher, we don't have as many immigrants to our community now as we did at one time, we certainly had large numbers in the eighties and nineties, but we should look forward to getting a large number of immigrants into our community again when we start increasing in port activity."

Ms. Thorkelson also outlined her desire to see at least someone in place to work part time in that field to provide training for those in the community that need English as a Second language help and to keep the community's foot in the door towards the future needs for those services.

The Mayor also offered up an amendment to the motion, looking to add the Ministers involved in those areas to the letter from the City.

You can review the discussion on how Council views the delivery of English instruction for newcomers to the community through the City's Video Archive, starting at the twenty eight minute mark.

For more items related to Monday's City Council Session see our Council Timeline feature here, as well as through our Council Session archive here.

For a wider overview of notes related to the community college, see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the explanation is that BC Stats shows Rupert's population declining almost 4% from 2016 to 2017. The College would have to take those numbers seriously. It may be difficult for the College to justify a program targeting immigrants when there is a net outflow of people.