City of Vancouver (2005)

Case Study

The Vancouver Municipal Workplace Language Program (VMWLP) is helping to upgrade the communication skills of employees whose first language is not English.

The City of Vancouver employs more than 9,000 workers from very diverse backgrounds, with one in five municipal workers speaking English as a Second Language. In September 1989, several incidents surfaced that highlighted the barriers many employees were facing in understanding and communicating effectively in English on the job.

These incidents led city officials to look at upgrading employees’ skills through language and communication training, and that in turn led to the development of the VMWLP.

The program’s objectives include creating a workforce that is able to communicate effectively; building an inclusive workplace that values diversity; providing all employees with an equal chance to develop their personal and professional potential; and becoming a leader in supporting diversity and change in the community.

Participants join the program on a volunteer basis following a self-assessment of their needs. They then decide on the pace of the classes, on a flexible schedule.

Participants attend classes for six hours a week, for 12 weeks. Half of class time takes place during work time, while the other half is on personal time. Should participants consider it necessary, they may join another 12-week program, where a quarter of the class time is during working hours and the remainder is on their personal time.

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APA citation
Conference Board of Canada. City of Vancouver 2005. Web. 29 Nov. 2022 <>
Conference Board of Canada (2005). City of Vancouver. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
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