Immigrants to Toronto arrive in one of the most diverse cities in the world. Census data shows that the Greater Toronto Area has more foreign-born residents as a percentage (42%) of its population than any other city in Canada. Immigrants in the city are from approximately 170 countries speaking more than 100 languages. The percentage of immigrants in Toronto has increased steadily over the past years and still continues to grow. For this segment of our population, learning English is one of the keys to successful settlement and to becoming functioning and contributing members of our society.
With the increase in immigration to our city comes the increased demand for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. But has Toronto kept pace? Are our ESL programs meeting the needs of our new immigrant population or the needs of the larger society? Evidence indicates that we are not making the grade.
Ten months after government announcement to fund access to schools – Government web site shows only 48 Boards of 72 have signed on
On July 9, 2004 members of SPACE along with many youth, seniors, and community-based groups were present to celebrate the Ontario Government’s community use of schools announcement in Toronto. Minister of Education, Gerard Kennedy and Minister of Tourism and Recreation, Jim Bradley symbolically cut a chain to symbolize a commitment to a new era of restored access to schools as hubs of our communities. Implementation of the policy was assigned to the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation. Minister Kennedy indicated that the government was taking a voluntary approach with Boards, since they were confident to get 100% participation across all Boards in exchange for the $20 million of new funding.
SPACE applauded the announcement as a significant step in the right direction. However, there have been several problems:
- There have been long delays and we have fallen far short of 100% participation among Boards of Education across Ontario. This long process has delayed the restoration of affordable access to our public schools. It is uncertain whether our schools will have more activity this spring and summer due to the lags in implementation and the lack of information flowing to local communities.
A Report of the Prospects for Young Families in Toronto Project
By: Community Social Planning Council of Toronto and Family Service Association of Toronto
Published: July 2004
Report Author: Beth Wilson, Community Social Planning Council of Toronto
Full Report Download: PDF Format
About the Prospects for Young Families in Toronto Project
Prospects for Young Families in Toronto is a collaborative research project of the Family Service Association of Toronto and the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto. The goal of this project was to investigate how social and economic circumstances are having an impact on young families and to build support for public policies that can assist them. Our project focused on young families whose head was under the age of 35.s.