English Courses in Canada

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ENGLISH LANGUAGE COURSES IN CANADA: A COMPLETE GUIDE AND LIST OF THE BEST ENGLISH PROGRAMS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN CANADA IN 2021

English Courses in Canada

Canada is one of the top destinations for learning and studying English as a second language (ESL). Canada has several English language schools, institutes, and prestigious universities that offer English classes.

Canada stands out for studying English over other countries, mainly because of its cosmopolitan cities, with a high quality of life; its world-class universities, where you can find a wide variety of English programs; and for being a welcoming place for all international students.

Language schools in Canada usually have different programs for different kinds of people and needs. Some focus on English courses for adults, including professionals and executives. Others focus on programs for teenagers or students currently in college. In addition to the English language program, you need to pay attention to the location, weather, and prestige of the language institute. Also, you should choose an English language course that best fits your budget and level. There are general English programs and specific courses in Canada: as Academic English, Business English, Communication English, Conversation English, Culture English, English for traveling, Intensive, Part-time, online, and English classes that prepare you for exams like the TOEFL, IELTS or TOEIC to name a few.

We suggest you read this page and click on each language school you think is a good option. All universities and language institutes listed here offer English programs that allow you to apply for a student visa. Most of the programs are also available for citizens and residents in full-time or part-time options.

Common questions

  • Where to study English in Canada?
  • What is the best English language course in Canada?
  • What is the best city in Canada to study English?
  • Cheap and good English courses in Canada?

You will find the answer to these questions on this website and a complete list of English language schools available for international students and residents. Click on the specific language school or university to get more information. You will find more details about the programs on those pages, helpful resources, and tips as housing, reviews, comments, and testimonials. As a leading world agency in ViveCampus, we can guide you in all the steps to study English in Canada.

1. Best places to learn English in Canada

English courses as a second language in top universities and institutions

The territory of Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories

Most of the English courses are located in 7 provinces:
British ColumbiaOntarioAlbertaManitobaQuebecNew BrunswickNova Scotia
Infographic: Map of the English Courses in Canada

English courses in the province of British Columbia

As Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia (BC) is bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Panhandle of Alaska on the west, boasting beaches, mountain ranges, glaciers, and rainforests. Bears and whales can be spotted in these breathtaking natural landscapes that offer endless outdoor adventures and ski and snowboard resorts. Vancouver, BC’s largest city full of parks and nearby forests, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Coast Mountains, and Victoria, its capital city, known as the Garden City, are a perfect example of the extraordinary beauty of this province.

In British Columbia we can find the following cities:

List of English Language Schools in the province of British Columbia in Canada

Vancouver, BC, Canada
English courses at Kaplan Vancouver
KAPLAN VANCOUVER
KAPLAN
Vancouver, BC, Canada
English courses at ELS Vancouver
ELS VANCOUVER
ELS

English courses in Ontario

Ontario is the second largest province in Canada (after Quebec) and one of the two provinces of Central Canada (together with Quebec). Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and its largest city, Toronto, are part of Ontario. A third of Canada’s population lives in Ontario making it the most populous province in the country. It is also the wealthiest due to its extensive mineral deposits, dense forests, and wild rivers. Ontario is the perfect combination between modern urban life and outdoor activities.

In Ontario we can find the following cities:

  • Toronto
  • Ottawa
  • Mississauga
  • Brampton
  • Hamilton
  • Niagara Falls

List of English Language Schools in the province of Ontario in Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
English courses at ELS Toronto
ELS TORONTO
ELS
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
English courses at Kaplan Toronto
KAPLAN TORONTO
KAPLAN

English courses in Alberta

Alberta has more than 600 lakes, 14 grand icefields and glaciers, and the Rocky Mountains on the east, all of them offering countless magnificent sights plus camping sites, hiking trails and ski resorts. Winters may be milder in Southern Alberta when Chinook winds raise the temperature. The province major cities, Edmonton and Calgary are the sunniest places in Canada as well as fast-growing, lively and rich in arts, culture and fine cuisine, not to mention that Alberta is the only province in Canada without PST (Provincial Sales Tax), so shopping at West Edmonton Mall or CrossIron Mills can be fruitful, too.

In Alberta we can find the following cities:

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Red Deer

English courses in Manitoba

Manitoba is one of the Prairie Provinces of Canada, where you can enjoy the view of apparently limitless wheat fields in the South, spot the Northern Lights and polar bears in Churchill, and immerse yourself in the delightful scenery of its 90 provincial parks. Its capital city, Winnipeg, is a melting pot reflected in The Forks, a centrally located historic site which has served as a meeting place for thousands of years.

In Manitoba we can find the following cities:

  • Winnipeg
  • Brandon
  • Steinbach

English courses in Quebec

Quebec is the second-most populous province of Canada, after Ontario. It is the only one to have a predominantly French-speaking population, but there also good English language schools here. A vast province that makes up about one-sixth of Canada, Québec covers diverse landscapes, from historic cities to isolated Arctic tundra. The region reaches almost to the Arctic Circle in the north, borders the American states of Vermont and New York in the south, and Hudson Bay in the west. While most visitors head for the two main cities, Montréal and Québec City, there are many things to do throughout the province in both summer and winter. Historical sites, cultural institutions, festivals, small towns, and beautiful parks and natural areas are just some of the highlights.

In Quebec we can find the following cities:

  • Montreal
  • Quebec City
  • Ottawa-Gatineau
  • Sherbrooke

List of English Language Schools in the province of Quebec in Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
English courses at McGill University
MCGILL UNIVERSITY
MCGILL

English courses in New Brunswick

New Brunswick is one of the three Maritime Provinces in the Atlantic Region of Canada, and the only one officially recognized bilingual in the country. New Brunswick is defined by forests and rivers, and its seacoast and Grand Manan Island give visitors ideal dolphin and whale-watching opportunities.

In New Brunswick we can find the following cities:

  • Moncton
  • Fredericton
  • Bathurst

English courses in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is another Maritime Province of Canada with a diversified economy that combines land and sea products with services such as tourism, technology, and education. Set in Canada’s Atlantic Region, Nova Scotia is famous for its Bay of Fundy, where the highest tides in the world are seen. The provincial capital, Halifax, is a university city with a lot of history and a lively downtown waterfront that hosts many events and festivals.

In Nova Scotia we can find the following cities:

  • Halifax
  • Cape Breton
  • Truro

2. TOP SEVEN REASONS TO STUDY ENGLISH IN CANADA

One of the best destination for international students in Canada
1

THE QUALITY OF CANADIAN ENGLISH STUDY PROGRAMS IS ASSURED

Canada has invested in high-quality language teaching and the Canadian government has worked with provincial and territorial governments to establish policies to control the quality of ESL programs. For instance, Languages Canada is an association that groups English language programs aiming to protect the interests of international students.

2

CANADA WELCOMES INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

In 2014, the Canadian government launched an education strategy that aimed to double the number of international students and researchers in Canada in order to expand its workforce and succeed in the world’s economy by 2022. This goal was surpassed in 2017 because Canadian universities, colleges and institutes attract international students and provide them with top-quality English programs, orientation and advising for easier adjustment to life in Canada.

3

CANADA IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND STUDY

Canada is a wonderful place to study and live, constantly ranked among the top 10 countries in the Quality of Life Index, and the cities of Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto are always in the rankings of the most livable cities in the world. Moreover, the quality of Canadian education is reflected in the high levels of performance, skills and equity in their students’ results (2015 PISA test).

4

CANADA IS MULTICULTURAL AND OPEN TO THE WORLD

Canada is officially a bilingual country (English and French), but 200 languages are spoken, and the largest cities are home to many immigrant communities. Canadians tend to be welcoming, open-minded and tolerant. International students feel comfortable in its more informal academic environment, compared with other countries.

5

CANADA IS BEAUTIFUL

Canada’s overwhelming natural beauty perfectly mixed with clean modern cities form a unique atmosphere to make the most of your study-abroad experience with many sport activities, cultural events, dining venues, provincial parks, hiking trails, ski resorts, and many other places for you to see and enjoy.

6

CANADA’S BROAD VARIETY OF PROGRAMS

In the end, is all about choice, and Canada currently offers over 210 accredited language programs from general English proficiency to specialized training for specific fields of study and internship or co-op programs that help students gain valuable practical experience in their areas of interest. Besides, students can choose from a vast array of language schools, colleges and universities.

7

CANADA IS A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ECONOMY

Canada is a very fast-growing country and it is among the most stable economies in the world with one of the highest investments in education per capita in the G8 countries. In fact, Canada will lead the G7 countries in the next 50 years according to the OECD. To address in-demand labour market needs, colleges and institutes work in partnership with Canadian businesses, communities, and industries.

4. Requirements to take an English Course in Canada

Some programs can have their own special requirements

Visa Requirements

If you’re planning to study for less than six months and your passport belongs to a visa-exempt country, you’ll only need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to visit Canada and study, which costs $7 CAD. If on the contrary, you’re not from a visa-exempt country, you must apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) online or directly at a Visa Application Centre. You can find the nearest one here.

On the other hand, when enrolling on a program that lasts for six or more months, you’ll need to apply for a study permit before travelling to Canada. For this purpose, you need a letter of acceptance from the English language institution, and later, fill in an online or on-site visa request, this last one at a Visa Application Centre. This whole process can take up to three months, so we recommend applying as soon as possible.

For the study permit you’ll need to submit the following information: a letter of acceptance from the English language school or university, a proof of identity (passport + two recent passport-size photographs, with the name and date of birth written on the back), a proof of financial support, and an optional letter of explanation, which can help your application by giving your reasons to study and showing that you are aware of all your responsibilities.

Age Requirements

Due to the fact that these English programs are planned for adult students, there’s a minimum age limit of between 16 and 19 years old usually set by the school or university, with no particular maximum age. For example, in the province of British Columbia, the age of majority is 19 years old, and students under the age of 17 must arrive with one of their parents, a guardian, or have a custodian in Canada, who must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident. Those who are minors over the age of 17 might need to fulfill the previous requirement if the visa officer deems it so.

Proof of Sufficient Funds

As we previously mentioned, one of the visa requirements is to provide a proof of sufficient funds, which must cover all expenses, such as your course fees and your personal expenses. The amount of funds you need to prove will depend on which institution you choose and where is located, since different cities have different costs of living. These funds must be on your own personal account or on the account of your sponsor if that’s the case.

Minimum English Language Level

Usually, there’s no minimum English level requirement for the programs, because there are different levels of English proficiency in which you can study, and your current level will be assed with a placement test the day you arrive. However, there are still courses that require certain English language proficiency levels, which are proved with an IELTS or TOEFL score, which you must have beforehand.

5. Prices, dates and costs of English courses in Canada 2021 - 2022

Explanation about main costs

There’s a variation in prices and dates for the English language courses in Canada, depending on which institution you choose, for how long you’ll study, if it’s intensive or part-time, and for how many hours a week you’ll be studying.

When you calculate the estimated costs of your time abroad, you have to consider that English language institutions may include certain items on the final course fee. Some of these items are: accommodation, health insurance, use of facilities, extracurricular activities and events, books and materials, etc.

There are certain associated costs you have to consider if you study abroad in Vancouver. You can find some estimations below, that will depend on the program you choose, the institution and the city. You can use this as a guide to calculate beforehand how much of a budget you’ll need to study English in Canada.

Main costs to consider if you want to study in Canada

ITEM
COST
ENGLISH PROGRAM
It will depend on the institution and the number of class hours per week. For instance, full-time yearly ESL program tuition could be about CAD $15,400 (based on 44 weeks per year, $350 a week on average). Please check each institution for more details.
HEALTH INSURANCE
It will depend on the health insurance provider associated with the education institution, the coverage offered, the length of your program, and the province where you choose to study. Emergency medical insurance should be considered a separate cost as it is rarely included in tuition.
BOOKS
Textbooks and materials are almost always separate expenses of between CAD $60 and $500 every two months.
HOUSING
It will depend mainly on the city and the type of accommodation. In a large city a bachelor apartment monthly rent ranges between CAD $800 and $1,500 and shared accommodation from CAD $500 to $700 whereas in a small city a bachelor apartment monthly rent can range between CAD $500 and $700 and shared housing could be CAD $400 to $600.
FOOD
Some accommodation options, such a homestay, include meals, otherwise you can buy meal plans within the University residences. Consider a monthly food budget of at least CAD $500.
VISA
All international students who take an intensive English course longer than six months must apply for the student permit, which costs CAD $150. If you are planning on studying less than six months you may need a visitor visa (CAD $100) or an eTA (CAD $7).
TRANSPORTATION
The cost will depend on how far from your education institution you live. We suggest that you live nearby so you can walk or take public transportation. Public transit fare (one-way trip) costs between CAD $2.50 and $3.50. In a big city like Toronto, consider about CAD $123 for monthly commute. Buying a car is more difficult as you have to add the cost of parking.
FLIGHT TICKETS
The cost will depend on the country where you are, the exact destination and dates. Try looking at sites that look for values on several airlines and in several days. The most expensive prices are usually before Christmas and after New Year. In between you can find offers.

6. Who studies English in Canada?

Students come from all over the world to learn English in Canada

International students choose Canada as an English-study destination for the quality and flexibility of its education system, for being known as a society that is generally tolerant and non‑discriminatory, and for its reputation as a safe country. Personal reasons include enhancing language skills in an English-speaking country plus knowing and understanding its culture and broadening employment prospects. Canada’s international student population is highly diverse including 186 nations, mainly coming China, India, South Korea, France and Vietnam. Most international students enroll in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba, where they immerse into and learn English much faster than in their home countries.

Young Students

Young students tend to study English programs during summer or winter vacations in their home institutions and Universities. In Canada the age of majority depends on each province or territory.

Young Professionals

This type of students are recent graduates of universities and professionals who have worked for a few years, and need English for academic reasons if they want to pursue graduate studies in or off Canada, or for professional reasons if they want to gain work or practical experience in Canada in their field of interest or just learn English in an English-speaking environment.

Senior Professionals

This group is formed by professionals who expect to improve their English skills to gain a promotion or better job opportunities. They may request a leave of absence, quit their jobs or take advantage of a period without work and use this time to upgrade their resumes.

Residents

This group is made up of Canadian permanent residents or companions of people who have moved to Canada. They need English to be able to communicate, find better jobs, understand television programs, among other everyday situations.

7. Photos about studying English in Canada

Look some of the photos of the ESL programs
international student english courses with flag of canada
study English in Canada
students English Language program in Canada

8. Videos about studying English in Canada

Click to watch the videos

9. Information about Canada

Canada is the second largest country in the world with more than 9 million square kilometres and a population of 36 million, 80% of which is concentrated in the South near the 8-thousand- kilometre border with the US. Canada boasts three coastlines, the Atlantic, Pacific and Artic ocean and more than two million lakes.

There are two official languages in Canada: English and French. English is the native language for 56% of the population and French is the native language for 20% (2016 Census, Statistics Canada). Most French speakers live in Quebec and many in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Canada is a multicultural and diverse country that thanks to its national policies has welcomed 17 million immigrants from all around the world. Canada placed seventh in the United Nations’ 2018 World Happiness and it regularly ranks in the top 10 on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life. Accordingly, three of its largest cities, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, are considered ideal places to live for their extensive availability of goods and services, effective infrastructure and safety (Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018).

10. Frequently Asked Questions about studying English in Canada

Do I need a permit to study in Canada?

Foreigners have to apply for a study permit if they are going to Canada to study at an elementary or secondary school, language school, college or university for more than 6 months.

How do I get a study permit to study English in Canada for more than 6 months?

You start by applying and sending all the required documents to the school, which are checked to see everything is in order, and they later send an acceptance letter you have to submit along with other documents in the online platform of the Canadian government or at a Visa Application Center (VAC).

After your permit application is accepted, you need to go to the nearest VAC to register your biometric information, in case you need to do so. For the online application method you’ll need a scanner or camera to upload your documents and a valid credit card to pay for the permit. This procedure may vary depending on your country, so you can visit the Immigration and Citizenship website of the Canadian government to check for more detailed information.

When should I apply for a study permit?

As soon as you receive your letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), since obtaining a study permit can take up to three months.

What are the housing options while studying English in Canada?

Housing is not included in the English course tuition, but is often available on or near campus at residences or dormitories that generally have a shared kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities. Also, most ESL students the option of homestay accommodation, where they live with a local family. Finally, a list of private off-campus accommodation for rent near the Canadian post-secondary educational institution is often available at the housing office or the student union office on campus. In the end, the decision is up to you and your budget, but proximity to the study place is an important factor to bear in mind.

Can I work and study English at the same time?

You cannot work if you are only taking an English as a second language program or any other non-credit or short course that does not lead to a degree.

What is the best city to study English in Canada?

The best city to study English is the one that suits you best. Look for a city where you feel comfortable. Large cities boast modern language schools and universities plus readily available services. Smaller cities can be cozier and more university centered. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us, so we can help you take the best option based on your goals and budget.

What is the best Canadian university or Language School to study English?

All the Canadian universities and Language Schools that we represent offer high-quality English courses. Try to think where you want to live first, and then consider the type of program and its cost. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us so we can help you.

Do universities offer scholarships to study English in the Canada?

Canadian Universities and Language Schools do not offer scholarships for students who are only applying for an English course as these are non-credit programs.

How can I pay for the English course?

The payment method for English courses depends on the University or Language School. We will guide you through this process.

Do I need to be a university student in my country to take an English course in a Canadian university?

No. English courses for adults in Canadian universities can be taken by anyone. You do not need to be currently studying or working in your country. There are college students who take an English course during their vacation, others ask for leave of absence or simply take an English course in their free time to improve their resumes, careers and lives.

Is there an age limit for taking an English course abroad?

English courses are aimed at adults, so universities have a minimum age requirement that is usually between 17 and 19 years old, but there is no maximum age limit. It's never too late to learn a new language. Some University and Language schools offer summer English courses or youth programs for minors.

11. Testimonials of international students

  • I had seen in movies that people in Canada are very friendly, and after spending 4 months in this beautiful country I can say that it is true. Without a doubt, taking English courses in Canada is the best thing you can do because as a foreigner you will feel welcomed by the Canadians, and it will motivate you to speak the English language even when you have a low level. I think the only way to learn well is to be in an English-speaking country, and Canada is my favorite country to do this by far. It's a bit cheaper than the USA, and it's super safe. Canada gives you all the facilities to continue studying something else, and it is easier if you want to stay and live in Canada. I 100% recommend taking English courses in Canada

    Luiz S. Brazil
  • I decided to go to Canada to study English for several reasons. The quality of the educational system is very good, it is internationally recognized, and because Canada gives you more opportunities than other countries if you want to stay longer. These were the reasons why I went to do English courses in Canada, and all of these are true. However, what I learned there was much better than I imagined. Canada is an incredible country, with lots of nature, parks everywhere, it is a technological country, it has very high standards of living, and the people are the best everywhere. I had the opportunity to visit various cities, and everywhere I felt welcomed. The English courses helped me meet colleagues from Asia, Europe, and Africa. I was able to try many types of food from other cultures, and I think I was able to learn English more efficiently than in any other country, because I always felt motivated and I think Canada had a lot to do with it. If you want to take an English course abroad, believe me that Canada is the best option!

    Mei K. Japan

12. Benefits of studying English in Canada

In the global world we live in, mastering the English language and having experience abroad is highly valued by companies and employers.

But the benefits are not only professional, as people who study abroad develop valuable skills such as competence in a new language, cultural exposure, tolerance, adaptability, leadership, and independence. All these skills are directly fostered by learning and living abroad.

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