Virk gets tough in ESL dispute with Ottawa

BC’s Advanced Education minister wants to be clear neither he nor his government endorse changes from Ottawa to how ESL is funded and taught.

Virk says the province knows the needs of BC’s immigrant community the best.

He says removing ESL classes from colleges will impact thousands of students.

“Minister Bond at the time was in dialogue and never endorsed the federal change. I would have preferred the way federal funding flowed throughout the province. We certainly understood the needs of the local immigrant community the best because we are the boots on the ground. Lets clarify that we have not endorsed this change and this certainly has an impact on students in British Columbia.”

Virk was asked if his government is working with BC’s colleges to help them adjust to the pending ESL changes.

“In terms of the agencies that are going to provide thsi training in the future we don’t have direct contact with them at this point becaue we don’t know exactly who is going to win the contracts from the federal government to provide this training in the near future and we are hoping that we get this information as soon as possible from the federal government so that the transition is indeed very smooth.”

This comes as the Vancouver Community College Faculty Association is asking the province to retain the current ESL model.

VCC workers also warned on Wednesday over 200 jobs and about $22 million in funding are on the line.