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Our English as a Second Language (ESL) program is a friendly place for newcomers to improve English language skills and learn the language needed to settle in the community.

Class Topics

Taught by certified teachers of English as a Second Language, the program will build English language skills to do everyday tasks like talking to others, buying food and asking for help. Topics include:

  • family health and safety
  • education & employment
  • shopping
  • using the telephone
  • banking and paying bills
  • community and government services
  • Canadian law and culture


Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Join?

To join the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s ESL program, you must first go to the Winnipeg English Language Assessment and Referral Centre (WELARC) and they will give you a test that helps place you into the correct English language program.

400-275 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB

Who is Eligible to Take Funded Language Classes?

You can take government-funded classes to improve your language skills in English or French if you are an adult:

  • permanent resident, or
  • protected person.

Children and youth will learn English and French at school. Find additional details about free services available to help newcomers.

Can I Bring My Children?

Two programs (Foundations-CLB 2 and CLB 3-5) offer Care for Newcomer Children. The programs that include child care are specifically for women who have children between 6 months to 5 years old and require child care in order to attend class. Once you no longer need child care or your children reach school age, you will be referred to another ESL program.

About your Child’s Care

Our Care for Newcomer Children program provides a safe and nurturing environment for your children while you attend language classes. Children are supported in all areas of their development (physical, social, cognitive, emotional and linguistic). We celebrate the unique strengths and characteristics of your child while they explore language and culture. 

All child minding staff:

  • are qualified to work with children
  • have up-to-date first aid training
  • have had criminal record checks to ensure they are legally allowed to work with children
When and Where are Classes Held?

Classes are held at our Downtown branch at 301 Vaughan Street. Classes do not run during school breaks.

Foundations-CLB 2 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday This class offers childcare and prioritizes parents of children between 6 months and 5 years.
CLB 3 - CLB 5 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday This class offers childcare and prioritizes parents of children between 6 months and 5 years.
Literacy Foundations 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday No childcare available
CLB 2 - CLB 3 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday No childcare available
CLB 4 - CLB 5 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday-Friday No childcare available

The classes are close to all bus stops at Portage Place Shopping Centre, including buses 11, 21, 22, 24, 25, 40, 41, 50, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59, 67 and 68.


More Questions?

Contact our English as a Second Language Program at 204.947.3044 ext. 2506

Funded By Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada