How to Access English Learning Resources in Alberta

Useful Resources


  • English is the main language used for business, school and everyday life in Alberta. Strong English skills give you a better chance of success:
  •  You can study formally or informally, full-time or part-time, in person or online.
  • Many places in Alberta offer English language training. These include: colleges or universities, immigrant-serving agencies, private businesses, religious and community organizations, and public libraries.

Financial Support

  • Language programs offered by the Canadian or Alberta governments are free or cost very little. Other private programs may charge a fee.
  • Talk to your school or an Alberta Works Centre to see whether you qualify for financial support to attend language classes. This support may include child care, transportation, and living allowances.
  • If you need to take a course for a job, you may qualify for a loan from the Windmill Microlending:

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

  • The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) are the national language standard that describes the English language proficiency of adult newcomers.
  • Provides a framework to reference learning, teaching, programming, and assessing newcomers’ language skills
  • Complete an official CLB assessment at one of the following Language Assessment and Referral Centers. This is free to permanent residents and citizens of Canada.

Formal English Assessment and Referrals

Language Assessment and Referral Process

1. Client arrives at assessment center

2. Reception checks client ID to determine if they are registered in the system

3. Centralized Intake Team completes needs assessment and books client for language assessment

4. Language assessment Intake Forms Completed

5. CLB assessment day, testing for listening, speaking, writing, and reading levels

6. Counselor meets with client to review results, including required referral to the LINC program (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) or alternatively, the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. LINC programs are free for those who qualify, and ESL programs are usually fee-based.

Language Assessment and Referral Centers in Alberta

Access an unofficial online CLB self-assessment, to give you an idea of your CLB level:

Complete an official CLB assessment at an assessment centre:

Edmonton: Language Assessment, Referral & Counselling Centre (LARCC)

Calgary: Calgary Language Assessment & Referral Centre(CLARC)

Lethbridge: Southern Alberta Language Assessment Services (SALAS)

Remote assessment may be available for clients who live in smaller urban and rural areas

Formal English Learning Resources

Informal English Learning Resources

Vocabulary List

Advanced level– Having knowledge and skills of someone who is at a higher, or more difficult level. Usually comes after intermediate level.

Assessment– a test or evaluation of the level of ability of someone.

Community organizations– groups and societies that are formed to meet community needs. (ex. Library, community centers).

Conversation– talking, especially an informal one, between two or more people.

Counselor- A person trained to give guidance or advice on a specific topic.

ESL (English as Second Language)– English language study program for nonnative English speakers. Usually fee-based.

Federal– Governing system on the national level, versus provincial (province wide) or municipal (city wide).

Formal learning– also known as structured learning. Learning that is often classroom-based, provided by trained teacher, often leads to levels of recognized qualifications.

Full-time studies– A duration of studies that take up the entirety of someone’s availability. The definition may vary by institution, but full-time studies typically consists of at least 3 full courses in one semester.

Informal learning– occurs outside of the structured, formal classroom environment. This learning comes in many forms, including self-study, groups conversation classes, or coaching sessions. Often the learner sets their own goals and objectives.

Institution– a social structure where people work towards a common public cause. This could be for religious, educational, social, or similar purposes. (ex. Church, University)

Intermediate level– In the middle stage, having knowledge and skills of someone more advanced than a beginner but not yet an expert.

LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers)–a free language training program for eligible adult learners, funded by the federal government.

Literacy– The ability to read and write.

Part-time studies– Studying less than a full-time course load defined by an institution.

Post-secondary– Any education beyond high school. (ex. College or university)

Verbal– Expressing in spoken form.

Knowledge Check


#1. Which one of the following is considered a formal English learning option?

#2. What is an early step required to apply for LINC class?

#3. How many benchmark levels is the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)?

#4. English assessment is free of charge for:

#5. How can you access funding to attend formal English classes?


Acknowledgements and References

Acknowledgements of Actors: Abdullah S., Yonas T., Susan
B., Sara G., Chris C.