This fall, after two and a half years of COVID restrictions, many language programs across Toronto and Ottawa are in-person again! Registration is ongoing throughout the year and after they get their free English assessment by the YMCA in Toronto or Ottawa, they can sign up anytime. But first: what’s the difference between LINC and ESL?
What is LINC?
Funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) are free language classes that are offered on a full-time or part-time basis throughout Canada. For parents of young children, many centres offer free child-minding for children from six months to five years old. Some centres may help with transportation costs and laptop lending services, as well. LINC levels are called CLB, or “Canadian Language Benchmark,” with CLB levels ranging from CLB 1 to CLB 8.
Who’s Eligible for LINC?
LINC students must be above 18 years old, and have Convention Refugee, Protected Person or Permanent Resident status.
Who’s Eligible for ESL Classes?
English as a Second Language programs are open to refugee claimants, convention refugees, protected persons, permanent residents, persons with Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel documents, Canadian citizens, temporary residents including foreign students, foreign workers, and visitors.
How is LINC Different from ESL?
While LINC classes encompass basic language instruction, ESL has a variety of specialized programs for people with different goals and levels of English. While many ESL programs are free, some may have fees.
ESL programs may include seeking job-specific language training, computer skills, programs for newcomers with low literacy, and programs for newcomers with advanced English. There are also programs for learners who need special accommodations due to emotional, physical, and/or developmental needs. To learn more, check out this resource from Settlement.Org.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the many in-person language programs throughout East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and Ottawa! It’s a great place to find the language programs that would fit a newcomer’s needs.
Note: While this information is current as of October 6, 2022, please note that it is subject to change based on public health recommendations, class availability, and individual language programs.
At The Neighbourhood Office, LINC classes are available completely in-person.
-18 Thorncliffe Park Drive (Thorncliffe Park Drive and Overlea Boulevard)
-1 Leaside Park Drive (Millwood Road and Overlea Boulevard)
Course Offerings: CLB 1-6 programs are offered throughout the day, and students can choose from courses in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings.
For more information: 416-467-0126
The Working Women Community Centre is offering hybrid LINC programs that are in-person for 1 day a week and online for 4 days. Participants may be able to borrow a laptop for the duration of the program.
Location: 5 Fairview Mall Drive, Suite 478 (Sheppard and Don Mills)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 7. Participants can choose between part-time (9-12) or full-time (9-2) classes.
For more information: 416-494-7978
Polycultural has hybrid LINC programs that are in-person from Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and online on Thursdays and Fridays.
Location: 3363 Bloor Street West
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 8
For more information: 416-233-0055
Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Services offers hybrid full-time and part-time LINC classes in Mississauga.
-3415 Dixie Road, Unit 18 (Bloor Street and Dixie Road)
-3439-3417 Fieldgate Drive (Bloor Street and Fieldgate Drive)
Course Offerings: CLB 1-8
For more information: 905-629-1873 x 250
Through their Adult Education programs, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board offers hybrid ESL classes to adults, regardless of their religious affiliation. Programs include IELTS test preparation, English Language Training for the Citizenship Test, and LINC.
Indus Community Services is currently offering in-person LINC classes in Mississauga and Brampton. Students may be able to borrow a laptop for the duration of the program.
-3038 Hurontario Street, Suite 206, Mississauga (Hurontario Street and Dundas Street East)
-60 Gillingham Drive, Suite 500, Brampton (Hurontario Street and Main Street North)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 8
For more information: 905-275-2369
With specialized hybrid adult language programs regarding TOEFL, IELTS, and LINC, the Peel District School Board also has ESL for those interested in teaching, computers, citizenship, business, customer service, and accounting.
For more information: 905-270-6000 x 2
COSTI is offering hybrid classes in North York that are 3 days a week in person and 2 days online for Literacy and CLB 1-2, and 2 days a week in person and 3 days online for CLB 3-7.
Location: 1700 Wilson Avenue, Suite 206 (Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, inside Sheridan Mall)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 7
For more information: 416-244-9980
The Learning Enrichment Foundation is currently offering hybrid classes that are 2 days in person, and 3 days online. Participants may be able to borrow a laptop for the duration of the program.
Location: 116 Industry Street (Black Creek and Trethewey Drive)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 7 LINC classes
For more information: 416-760-2568
Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto is currently offering CLB 2 and CLB 4 in-person, and CLB 5-8 online.
Location: 2737 Keele Street, Unit 9 (Keele-Wilson), North York
Course Offerings: CLB 2-8
For more information: (647) 812-1332 ext. 5251
North York Community House is currently offering full-time hybrid classes that are in-person three days a week, and online for two days. Laptops may be available for students to borrow.
Location: 255 Ranee Avenue, Suites 4 & 5 (Ranee Avenue and Allen Road)
Course Offerings: On Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesday, CLB 1/2 and 3/4 are being offered in-person, and on Thursdays and Fridays, they are offered online. Evening classes are only offered virtually.
For more information: 416-784-0920
ESL is offered in-person on weekday mornings and afternoons. There are also online courses for academic English, workplace English, Citizenship Test Preparation, LINC, and more.
For more information: 613-239-2737
ESL is offered in a hybrid format by the Ottawa Catholic School Board to adult learners, regardless of their religious affiliation. They offer ESL for childcare workers, IELTS preparation classes, citizenship preparation classes, ESL for seniors, LINC, and more.
For more information: 613-228-3338
OCISO offers full-time LINC classes that are completely in-person from Monday to Friday.
Location: 1800 Bank Street, 3rd Floor, Ottawa (Bank Street South and Alta Vista Drive)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 7
For more information: 613-249-0006
CCS is offering hybrid LINC classes at two locations in Scarborough. Laptops may be available for students to borrow.
-2206 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 124 (Birchmount Road and Eglinton Avenue East)
-1200 Markham Road, Suite 503 (Markham Road and Ellesmere Road)
Course Offerings: CLB 1-6
For more information: 416-755-0406
Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services is offering hybrid classes at their locations across Toronto, including Scarborough.
-Scarborough North: 3660A Midland Avenue (Midland Avenue and McNicoll Avenue)
-Scarborough South: 3225 Eglinton Avenue East, Units 101 & 111 (Eglinton Avenue East and Kingston Road)
Course Offerings: Literacy to CLB 7. The classes are in-person from Monday to Wednesday, and online on Thursdays and Fridays.
For more information: 416-439-1293
Through their Adult Education programs, the Toronto Catholic District School Board has hybrid ESL and LINC classes offered all over the city, and are open to adults, regardless of their religious affiliation. These programs include English as a Second Language programs, Essential Skills Courses, ESL for Healthcare Professionals, LINC, and more.
For more information, click here.
Through their Continuing Education ESL programs, the Toronto District School Board offers hybrid ESL programs for adults all across Toronto. These include English as a Second Language, Bilingual ESL Classes, English for Special Needs programs, English for TOEFL/IELTS/Academic Purposes, Enhanced Language Training, LINC, and more.
For more information: 416-925-5462