Refugees and newcomers in Sarnia trying to become Canadian citizens are finding help at a new YMCA program.
Anyone applying for citizenship as of July 1 had to begin providing proof of proficiency in English.
That’s produced an upswing of clients at the Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System Centre, which opened a year ago at 660 Oakdale Ave.
“More and more people are starting to realize they can’t apply unless they have that (proof),” said Ingrid Wygergangs, one of two assessors on staff at centre.
Language skills are assessed on benchmark system of 1 to 12. To become a Canadian, a person must reach Level 4 in English or French, which means he or she has basic reading skills, understands instructions, and can use short sentences with control of basic grammar.
The centre sees 15 to 20 clients in a busy month and many reach the English benchmark in a single three-month semester, Wygergangs said. The nearest French-language centre is in London.
The program is open to any qualified person looking to improve school or job prospects and whose first language isn’t English.
Other than a small administration fee, the cost is covered by the Citizenship and Immigration.
For more, call 519-446-5950, ext. 234 or 232.
– Journal Staff