Language support 2017
The 2011 Statistics Canada National Household Survey found that 3.6 million Ontarians were foreign-born—representing 29% of the total population, the highest proportion among all Canadian provinces. Ontario schools provide a variety of supports for students whose first language isn’t the language of instruction.
- 63% of English language elementary schools and 58% of secondary schools have English language learners.
- 38% of English language elementary schools have English as a Second Language teachers, an increase from 34% in 2008.
- 76% of French language elementary schools have students who require French language support (ALF/PANA students), and on average, one in five students in these schools are receiving language support.
Some student’s needs may go beyond English or French language learning programs. Ontario’s ELL policy states that in situations where students come from backgrounds with limited access to schooling, additional supports need to be provided. Despite this requirement, some principals commented that the needs of their students—beyond language acquisition—are not being met.
In communities where there are a high number of ELLs, or where there is a high proportion of ELLs in a particular school, ESL funding can cover the costs of a specialist teacher. But communities with few ELL students may struggle to support these students as the funding per student with language needs may not be enough to hire dedicated staff or to support a separate course.