Like many Manitobans, I was saddened to learn of the federal government’s recent decision to reduce funding for English as a Second Language programs in the Brandon region at Assiniboine Community College and at UFCW.
New Canadians rely on these programs both to meet requirements for citizenship, but also to meet requirements for higher education to try to get ahead. Without this kind of training, their future is likely one of minimum wage jobs and precarious employment. Anyone trying to provide for a family on minimum wages knows how hard this can be.
At ACC, where Canadian Language Benchmark levels 5-8 is offered, enrolment will drop from 500 students to a maximum of 100. Many potential students waiting to get into programs like nursing or in the trades simply won’t meet the requirement now to continue their education, and eight people who provide the training will be out of work. After learning last week about layoffs at Canadian Blood Services in Brandon, this is certainly another blow to the community.
At a time when our country is welcoming thousands of refugees, our government should be working its hardest to give new Canadians every opportunity to succeed in this country — not making it harder for these families to thrive. I want to encourage the federal government to revisit its decision to cut this funding at ACC, and to invest in the futures of new Canadians in Brandon.