2.C Settlement and Integration
C.8 How is language treated?
(i) How important is language acquisition for long-term outcomes for resettled refugees?
How Canada Does It
Language skills are critical to enable refugees to integrate successfully into Canadian society. Language enables refugees to build new friendship and community networks and is integral to obtaining meaningful employment commensurate with skills and experience. Gaining language skills helps refugees adjust to new school environments. Refugees must also have adequate knowledge of English or French to meet the language requirement for citizenship.
Language skills are critical to enable refugees to integrate successfully into Canadian society, particularly in terms of obtaining employment that matches existing skills and experience. Some job positions or post-secondary programs require proof of proficiency, such as results from a designated language test.
Language skills also facilitate social integration. Ability to communicate with sponsors, settlement workers, neighbours, classmates, and other sectors of society also helps refugees build important social and professional networks that contribute to successful integration. Ability to communicate, express oneself, and navigate the community independently promotes emotional wellbeing and sense of empowerment and belonging.
Language also helps refugees obtain citizenship. To become a Canadian citizen, sponsored refugees must show they have adequate speaking and listening skills in one of Canada’s official languages, measured through the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) in English or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) in French.