It is evident that British Columbia’s, and Canada’s for that matter, economic success relies on diversity in our trading partnerships and a development of the necessary skills such as language, to equip people in our workplaces with the tools for success needed in today’s global marketplace. Canadians who have access to a variety of languages and cultures not only increase their own career opportunities, but can also play an important role in promoting ourfuture economic development and growth.
Intercultural understanding, which is enhanced by language learning, not only contributes to our economic advantage but also assists Canada’s efforts towards enhanced social cohesion as a multicultural country. Learning languages validates one’s cultural identity and raises an awareness of the cultures of others. Multilingual Canadians are best positioned to become leaders in both national and global citizenship.
While BC public schools are encouraged to offer a second language based on community demand, teaching resources, student enrolment, and availability of provincially or locally developed curriculum, there has not been a substantive commitment to a comprehensive languages education policy, leaving the many benefits of language learning untapped and unexamined.
Cultural Diversity and British Columbia's Future in the International Economy
Dr. Michael Stevenson, President and Vice-Chancellor, Simon Fraser University
Speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver, BC - February 18, 2005
BC’s ethnic diversity boosts economy
By Krishna Pendakur, Special to The Vancouver Sun -