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Advocacy Committee

The Mission of the Advocacy Committee is to advocate on behalf of ATESL on issues which affect the members and their learners.

Advocacy Committee 2020

The committee has been working very hard this year to keep members informed, to provide PD opportunities, and to help our members throughout the pandemic.
Please see links here to:

  1. 2020 Advocacy Annual Report
  2. Corona Virus Teaching Tips
  3. Fall edition of Dear Advocacy Folks

The Advocacy Committee is always ready to take member questions.

Please send them to


June 2019 - Advocacy Committee Updates

ESL to Work Survey

ATESL's Advocacy Committee has drafted a survey to gage interest in ESL to work and bridging programs. The survey will go out to ATESL members the last week of June.

Petition - Family Sponsorship for Yazidi Refugees

The advocacy committee asks that you consider signing the following petition to the House of Commons to help reunify Yazidi refugee families. The deadline for signatures is June 29th, 2019.

Please consider signing this petition to expand the eligibility for family sponsorship for Yazidi refugees.

What’s Up With the Revised Citizenship Guide?

March 2018

Last summer, the Advocacy Committee wrote to the IRCC team heading up the development of the new Citizenship Guide, to request information on its roll-out, and to offer help if they needed assistance to make it more readable than the Discover Canada 2010 version. IRCC took us up on our offer, and for several weeks in November and December, one of our members spent a lot of time going through the guide, to simplify wording and to make content suggestions.

IRCC had consulted with over 100 individuals and departments, so needless to say, the new guide is not going to be any shorter than the old guide, and it still has a lot of information that is not really necessary to become a citizen. You know what they say about too many cooks!

However, the new version is less partisan than the current guide, and at last look, it was much better written. However, Parliamentarians have been asked to provide more feedback on content for the guide, so another draft will be written by late April – and an ATESL Advocacy Committee member will review the latest draft at that time. Once the text is finished, photos, charts and tables can be added and, fingers crossed, we’ll see the new version before the end of the year.

Thank you for your signatures!!

In the early months of last year, the ATESL Advocacy Committee and the ATESL Board urged our membership to sign a petition to eliminate the refugee transportation loans. The Advocacy Committee also wrote to our provincial and territorial counterparts, urging them to do the same. In addition, we wrote to several leading Cabinet Ministers, the Prime Minister and, of course, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Many of you signed the petition – and your voices were heard!

Although the loan program has not been withdrawn, the government clearly recognizes that it has been a barrier to settlement for many newcomers. To lessen the stress of refugees after arrival, several changes have been made to the program. These changes are not ideal, but they will definitely help newcomers and sponsors by giving more flexibility. Here is the official announcement:

Ottawa, February 21, 2018 — Changes came into effect today to the Immigration Loans Program which will ease the loan repayment process and give resettled refugees more time to repay their immigration loan, which will aid with their integration by giving them more time to focus on improving their language skills and making use of the settlement services available to help them to become part of Canadian society faster.

Immigration loans were first introduced in 1951 to assist people displaced by the Second World War who were travelling to Canada to start a new life.

Immigration loans provide eligible immigrants, who are mainly refugees selected for resettlement to Canada, with access to funding that would otherwise not be available. Loans are used to cover a number of expenses, including travel to Canada and other costs associated with resettlement.

To make loan repayment easier:

repayment begins 1 year after arrival in Canada (previously it was 30 days);

new loans are interest free;

existing loans will have no further accumulation of interest; and

the repayment period has been extended by 2 years, to reduce the size of monthly installments.

These changes will also keep loans fixed at the amount that was originally borrowed. For more information, visit:

LGBTQ Advocacy and Awareness

As members of the Advocacy Committee of ATESL, we seek to advocate for the needs of newcomer groups, as well as teachers of English as a Second Language. In this newsletter, we would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief overview of some recent research on one such newcomer group – individuals who identify as LGBTQ - and share a few resources for both teachers and for students in your classes who may wish to connect with these resources.

A recent influx of LGBTQ newcomers has led to an increase in awareness and services for this population, in particular, refugee claimants seeking asylum because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. A 2016 report entitled “Provisioning Settlement Services for LGBTQ Newcomers to Edmonton” prepared for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) offers some insight for individuals working with LGBTQ newcomers:

The full 85-page report can be found at

For newcomers, there are several new supports available to help them find their way in Edmonton.

For teachers or other interested allies, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) offers a free LGBTQ+ Positive Space Webinar Series that provides some general training on LGBTQ topics. Go to to sign up for these free webinars or search for other useful resources on their site. Additionally, teachers may wish to find information on the following websites:

Please see links here for curriculum plans to assist in addressing LGBTQ in the ESL/LINC Classroom:

LGBTQizing the Curriculum