Dec 17, 2021
With OPL’s language conversation groups on hold due to the pandemic, we hope that the listed resources below may help customers explore options to learn and practise English. Many partner organizations to whom we refer have moved to providing settlement assistance and referrals by phone or virtually. Please note that agencies that have nationalities, ethnicities, or religion in their names still welcome newcomers from all backgrounds - though certain eligibility criteria may apply (for example, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants assists all government-assisted refugees in the area).
Customers may also wish to contact municipal and provincial information lines. Phone assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in multiple languages through simultaneous translation. They can be contacted from pay phones using the listed toll-free numbers.
- Dial 3-1-1 for City of Ottawa services and information, or have a look at the City of Ottawa Immigration Portal. Toll-free: 1-866-261-9799.
- Dial 2-1-1 for Ontario’s community, social, non-clinical health and related government services, or see listings on the 211 Ontario website. Toll-free: 1-877-761-9076.
Free language instruction is available through the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program; these classes are available through local agencies and school boards, such as:
- Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO),
- Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre (OCCSC),
- Ottawa-Carleton District School Board,
- Ottawa Catholic School Board, and
- English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community (ELTOC) provides “individualized and accessible home-based LINC tutoring to eligible newcomers who cannot attend regular ESL classes”.
Language level assessments are required for LINC programs - in Ottawa, most take place through the YMCA Language Assessment and Referral Centre, and use the Canadian Language Benchmarks to describe language levels.
External Conversation Groups available online include:
- Conversation Circles available through the Catholic Centre for Immigrants – requires registration: http://cciottawa.ca/programs-services/events/
- University of Ottawa’s Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute provides online FLS and ESL conversation workshops (only for eligible uOttawa students and staff): https://olbi.uottawa.ca/julien-couture
- Carleton Language Learning Resource Centre groups (only for eligible Carleton students and staff): https://carleton.ca/llrc/activities/conversation-groups/
- English Conversation Group at St Paul's University, also available on Zoom, on Wednesdays from 7 – 8:30 pm – contact information for registration listed on this page: https://cneo-nceo.ca/record/68974582/
More external English Language Learning Supports:
- People, Words & Change (one-on-one support), more details are available here: https://pwc-ottawa.ca/for-learners/
- Listings on meetup.com:
- Language Exchange in Ottawa lists language learners and native speakers so that they can practice target languages together.
- Vanier Community Services Centre’s Community Development and Counseling Matching Program partners newcomers with volunteers who can help them practice English and French, as well as support them in connecting to their communities.
- Immigrant Women Services Ottawa offers Language Interpretation and Translation Services for eligible individuals.
Additional resources that may be useful include:
- Settlement.org provides multilingual resources and FAQs from the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
- Community Navigation of Eastern Ontario’s listings can be filtered by location and topic.
Thank you for your support of newcomers and other vulnerable populations during this unprecedented time. We hope to safely hold these groups again soon - look out for OPL's English Conversation Groups starting in 2022.