OPH_ESL_working meeting
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.   

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council Chair
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
OLIP helps to unite and share scarce resources for greater impact by working together in the field of student education.

Walter Piovesan
Associate Director of Education, Ottawa Carleton District School Board
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa

Promoting Immigrant Health through Language Instruction

June 17, 2013

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) in collaboration with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board are currently undertaking a special project to promote health among newcomers in English as a Second Language (ESL) schools.

A “healthy immigrant effect” has been observed in Canada, according to which immigrants arrive in relatively good health but over time, their health declines as they adopt unhealthy habits, such as increased consumption of junk food and lack of exercise. It has been shown that refugees, low-income immigrants and recent non-European immigrants are at increased risk of “transitioning to poorer health” (see “Migration and health in Canada: health in the global village”, Gushulak et al., 2011). Newcomers, notably refugees, temporary residents and those living on low incomes, face multiple barriers that impact their health, such as language, cultural differences, social isolation, poverty, unstable housing and unemployment. They often have difficulty navigating the health and social system and accessing services and programs they need.

ESL/LINC schools enable newcomers to acquire the linguistic and communicative competences necessary for a full integration into their new society and offer a unique opportunity to engage them in health promotion activities. The ultimate project goal is to reduce health inequities while increasing newcomers’ access to health promotion information, programs and services. In collaboration with OPH staff, a team of ESL/LINC instructors from the broader Ottawa community of language providers will develop teaching plans and materials on key health promotion topics for newcomers. The focus will be on healthy eating and active living, using a comprehensive health promotion approach. Based on best practices from the public health and education sectors, the final products will be interactive, relevant for students, and matched with the appropriate language level of each class. The resulting teaching plans, along with a list of resources available, will be shared with ESL instructors in different forums and posted on the OPH website and other online platforms used by ESL/LINC instructors and other frontline workers. This will facilitate use of consistent, up-to-date health promotion materials by all ESL/LINC organizations in Ottawa.

For more information contact: Marcela Tapia, Ottawa Public Health: Marcela.Tapia@ottawa.ca, Shirley Graham, Ottawa- Carleton District School Board: shirley.graham@ocdsb.ca, Abai Coker, Ottawa Catholic School Board: Abai.Coker@ocsb.ca.