Government of Saskatchewan
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why is it important to learn English? 

English is the main language in Saskatchewan.  You will speak English with your doctor, your boss, your neighbours, and at the store.  Everywhere in Saskatchewan, people speak English.  Your chances of success in Saskatchewan will improve if you can understand and speak English.

In Canada, many language programs use a system called the “Canadian Language Benchmarks” (also called CLBs) to describe and test how well you speak and understand English.  There are 12 benchmarks, with 12 being the highest (strongest English skills) and 1 being the lowest.  To do most jobs well, a minimum of a benchmark 4 is recommended.  It is possible for someone with lower benchmarks to work and speak with others.  But without a minimum of a benchmark 4 you will find that it is not easy to speak with your boss or co-workers, go to the store or the bank, speak with your children’s teachers, or speak with the doctor.  You can learn more about the CLBs at the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website or take an on-line self assessment.

You may want to begin learning English before you arrive because you will need to understand and speak English when you arrive and to begin your settlement activities.

One way to improve your English language skills is to access websites for learning English.  Search the internet for terms like "English as a Second Language," "Learn English" or "English Vocabulary". 

Once you arrive in Saskatchewan, you may want to continue building on your English skills.

How do I find English classes in Saskatchewan?

1. When you arrive in Saskatchewan, contact your nearest Regional Newcomer Gateway for information about opportunities to learn English.  Many of the English classes offered are free.

Regional Newcomer Gateways are welcome centres for newcomers arriving in Saskatchewan. There are 11 Gateways throughout the province.  You will find their locations on the Interactive Map.  Even though they have different names, they all provide the same service.

Here is a list of the Gateways and their locations:

2. The Interactive Map can also tell you where the classes are located.

3. Your language assessor (the person who will give you a language assessment) can also tell you about language classes near you.

4. Public libraries and Regional Colleges may also be able to help you identify language classes in your area.

What are the steps to register for an English class?

1. You need a language assessment

If you qualify, the Regional Newcomer Gateway or your local Regional College will help you get an appointment for a language test.  This language test, also called a language assessment, will tell you what your CLB level is and which language classes can help you improve your English.  It will also help a language school put you in the class that is best for you and help your teacher plan lessons better so that you learn more quickly.  You should be able to have a language assessment within seven days of requesting this service.

When you have a language assessment, you meet with a language assessor who will give you different activities to do to find out how well you can read, write, understand and speak English.  The test can take anywhere between 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on how well you can speak and understand English.

At the end of the assessment, you will get your assessment results document that will give you a score in reading, writing, listening and speaking.   “1” means that you are a beginner in that skill area, and “8”means you are strong in that skill area.  You should keep this document with you, and show it when you are registering for English classes.  The assessor will also tell you about different classes available close to where you live.  You can then call or visit those programs if you want to study English there.  You will also need your assessment results to register for employment services.

Language assessments are available to most newcomers to Saskatchewan.  Your Regional Newcomer Gateway or Regional College will help you to find out if you qualify for a language assessment.  When you make an appointment for a language assessment with the Gateway or Regional College, the staff there will tell you which documents you need to bring.

You cannot use the results from your language assessment for the following:

  • Your immigration application – The Language Assessment Service will not provide you with language scores that you can use for your immigration application or your citizenship application.  For more information about the language requirements for immigration, visit How can I meet the language requirements?.  For more information about the language requirements for citizenship, visit Acceptable documents for language requirements on the CIC website.
  • Applying for a post-secondary institution – This service will not help you to apply for a post-secondary institution like a University or Saskatchewan Polytechnic.  If you want to study at a post secondary institution, you should contact the institution you want to attend.

2. Choose the class which is best for you at the location which offers it.

There are many organizations which offer English classes.  The Interactive Map will show where the organizations are located.

What language classes can I take?

At the end of your language assessment, you will be told about language classes in your area.

Some of the classes, called Stage 1 English, are available to both permanent and temporary residents.  Stage 1 English classes will help newcomers gain basic, functional language skills to perform day-to-day activities.  It is called Stage 1 English because it is the first stage of language competency.  Classes offered are CLB levels 1 to 4.

Other classes, called LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada), are available only to permanent residents.  Classes will help learners up to CLB benchmark 8.

Classes are offered at different times, and in different places.  In big cities like Regina and Saskatoon, there will be many classes to choose from.  Some classes will be in the morning, while others will be in the afternoon or evening.  There may be full-time or part-time classes as well.  In smaller cities and towns, there may be a class near you, or you may learn English with the help of a tutor.

Most classes will help you learn English for day-to-day life in your community.  Other classes may help you learn the English you will need to prepare for and find a job.

These classes are not intended to prepare you for entrance into university or for professional licensing.  The University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Polytechnic may offer more advanced classes for those who need to learn English well enough to study at the post-secondary level.

How soon can I start English language classes?

You will need to be living in Saskatchewan and have your language assessment results before you can take a Stage 1 English or LINC class.

Stage 1 English classes usually take in new students every two weeks.  LINC classes usually take new students on an ongoing basis.

There may be a waiting list of people who want to start specific classes.  Please contact us if you have been waiting more than four weeks to start an English language class and we will try to help you.

How much do language classes cost?

There is no cost to attend Stage 1 English or LINC classes. 

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