ACC confirms seven MGEU members to lose their jobs
Apr 13, 2017
Yesterday, it was confirmed that the federal government’s recent decision to reduce funding for English as a Second Language programs in the Brandon region at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) will go ahead, and seven MGEU members will lose their jobs on April 21st.
The federal immigration department claims that the reduced funding is due to lower numbers of new immigrants accessing settlement services in Brandon over the past few years. They claim the demand for higher level language classes is down, while demand for basic language programming is up.
“Something doesn’t add up,” said Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President. “ACC’s enrollment numbers paint a very different picture from what the federal immigration department says is an under-utilized capacity.”
Recent ACC figures show the demand has increased, with student registrations in the ESL program now at 503. That number has grown from 442 registrants in 2015-16 and 309 in 2012-13.
The basic language classes (Levels 1-4) are intended to provide new immigrants with what they need to help them get established in Canada. Level 4 is required to become a Canadian citizen. Those who wish to continue their education and attend university or college need to complete higher levels of ESL training (Canadian Language Benchmark levels 5-8).
ACC was one of the few places in the region to offer these higher levels of training. Their ESL programming, which only offered Level 5-8 training, began in 2008, was funded by the federal government but funneled through the province. In 2013, the federal government assumed full responsibility for the program.
“Under these cuts, ACC goes from $730,000 in funding to $190,000 and enrollment will drop in these programs from 500 students to a maximum of 100. This will have a drastic impact on the futures of many students who are waiting to get into programs like nursing or into various trades programs. Without these higher level language classes, they simply won’t meet the requirements to continue their education,” Gawronsky said.