Employment – Stage 1

Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) has 249 occupational videos available. They could be used for listening activities or independent learning.

Free access:

The Best of the Reader site contains a series of e-books for low-level ESL and literacy learners. The books can be used in class or for independent study. Users have permission to download, print and distribute the material found on the website. Each e-reader has 8 to 10 stories with activities and an answer key. The list of e-readers includes a Teachers’ Guide, and calendar of special days and holidays for the year, and specific work-related titles such as People and Jobs.

Free access:

The Book of Idioms from A to Z lists a broad range of familiar idioms in one place. It is hosted on the Easy Pace Learning website, where additional free downloads include grammar lessons, exercises and dictionaries.

Free access to Easy Pace Learning. Scroll down to download file:

This site is located in Canada and is for all ESL teachers, K to Adult. There are word scrambles and search generators. There are thousands of worksheets available (there are filters). Many are connected to PowerPoint downloads or YouTube/Ted Talk videos or popular movies/songs. There are ESL articles for instructors that focus on professional development. The site is relatively easy to navigate. Search has a drop-down listing of choices aligned with your search words. No registration is required. You can sign up for a newsletter.

Search “employment” or use specific search words such as “job search” or “business English.” It may take time to explore available worksheets, activities or how-to examples.

Free access:

“The Can Do Statements for Employment are intended for immigrants seeking employment, employment counsellors, and employers. The Can Do Statements are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB); they have been simplified and given a narrower focus to support their use in an employment context. The statements cover CLB levels 4–10, and offer an overview of each level from a workplace perspective. They provide examples of English-language tasks in a variety of workplace-related contexts:

  • On the phone
  • Working with others
  • Workplace safety
  • Taking part in meetings

and for a variety of workplace tasks:

  • Making and answering phone calls
  • Communicating with others in a workplace setting
  • Understanding and responding

The tasks cover all four language skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.” (www.language.ca)

You need to “Add to Cart” in order to download, which means registering to order.

Free access:

This 235-page book describes CLB as follows: “The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard is a descriptive scale of language ability in English as a Second Language (ESL) written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLB standard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced ability among adult ESL learners.

The Canadian Language Benchmarks are:

  • a set of descriptive statements about successive levels on the continuum of language ability,
  • a description of communicative competencies and performance tasks through which learners demonstrate application of language knowledge (i.e., competence) and skill (i.e., ability),
  • a national standard for planning curricula for language instruction in a variety of contexts,
  • a framework of reference for learning, teaching, programming and assessing adult ESL in Canada.”

The book takes learners through stages 1 to 3 in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Free access:

This is a resource developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. SAM is a validated tool for assessing CLB 1–4. Assessment areas include employment and settlement. There is a $45 cost to order (plus HST).

For further information and information on ordering the document:

The CLB Support Kit contains background information for ESL practitioners, with detailed discussions on incorporating grammar, pronunciation and pragmatics into CLB-based programs. There are sections that address using the CLBs in multilevel classes, with special needs learners, and in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and workplace ESL.

It includes sample program planning tools such as needs assessment, sample rubrics, tracking forms, self-assessment and feedback forms.

References are listed at the end of each section, as well as additional resources developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, including SAM for CLB 1-4, and the CLB 5-10 Exit Assessment Tasks for community, employment and academic programs.

You need to “Add to Cart” in order to download, which means registering to order.

Free access:


This site offers CLB-aligned activities and information about legal issues, including many related to employment rights. It includes a broad range of downloadable booklets about a variety of legal topics written in clear language. One series has been especially developed for ESL teachers and learners.

Access at:
English as a Second Language (ESL) Activity Kits

Twenty-six activity kits with classroom materials for teachers and learners in Adult ESL and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, based on topics from CLEO’s tenants’ and workers’ rights series.

Designed to teach newcomers about their legal rights and to be used along with the relevant CLEO publications, the materials are intended for learners and levels ranging from Canadian Language Benchmarks 1 to 6+.

Free access to the Kits:

Free access to CLEO resources:

The Easy Reading Career Planning Series includes Work and You Book 1 and Work and You Book 2, plus a book for tutors and advisors.

Additional topics: job profiles, dictionary, find a job, keep your job

Note: The two titles, Be Safe at Work and Employment Law Protects Workers, are focused on Alberta, but the core information is useful and could be adapted.

Free access:

The English Language Learning (ELL) Training Network was developed by CEIIA, Bow Valley College’s Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. Designed for ELL practitioners, the Network provides information, resources and tools for instructors, a resource finder, PD workshops and webinars, network for professional learning, blog posts and social media links.

Free access:

The English Listening Lessons and Library Online (elllo) site offers audio and video lessons with some printable worksheets. There is a wide variety of topics, including job search, job offer, job ads, dream job. Non-CLB. Many Canadian references.

Free access:

This is a 240-page e-book that provides lessons in reading, document use and math. The lessons are built on real-life examples and follow four individuals in different workplaces in Ontario. The organization and layout is appealing to a reader. The four individuals work in four different jobs. Instructors and students can decide which worker to learn about. There are self-assessments as well as critical thinking questions embedded in the modules.

Free access:

Employee rights, tenant rights, police, family violence and human rights. There are 10 modules on several legal topics with an animated story, text and activity. Learners can work on their own and check their learning by completing online exercises. The site was developed by New Media Language Training. The site requires Adobe Flash download.

Free access:

Online vocabulary and contextual information for occupations, including airline, hotel, food & beverage, nursing, police, cashiers, tour guides, taxi. Some audio available.

Free access:

These online activities focus on English vocabulary and grammar exercises for the hospitality industry in the categories of food & beverage, hotel, travel/tourism, politeness training. While individual files are free to download, there is a fee option that allows you to download a topic file.

Free access:

ESL Library is a commercial website based in Winnipeg, offering high-quality lesson plans for Canadian, American and international educators. The lessons are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced learners, with a large variety of activities, including flashcards, discussion starters on political, social and environmental issues, mini-debates, holidays, grammar, writing, podcasts and a reading series (which includes detective serials). Themes include English at work, the environment, healthcare, everyday English and idioms. New lessons are added monthly. Sample lessons are available but are watermarked.

Subscription is required. Lessons are downloadable PDFs (copyrighted).

Available in 3-month, 6-month and 12-month memberships, from $25 to $55.

Groups of teachers can share memberships; for example 1–5 teachers can share the 1-year $55 membership.

Subscription required:

This is a curriculum for CLB 4-6  to prepare newcomer learners to find jobs or retrain to work in the food services industry.  The lessons focus on developing  speaking and listening skills for for busy   environments, such as working in a kitchen, cafeteria, or restaurant.

The Learner Workbook includes:

  • 4 Modules, 16 Units
  • Audio and video resources
  • Comprehension exercises
  • A variety of speaking and listening activities and games
  • Learner self-assessment materials
  • Reflection and goal setting activities

The Instructor Guide contains industry information, guidelines for workplace culture discussions, instructional notes, suggestions for activity adaptations and assessment rubrics. Permission to use granted by ATESL Resource Database and Alberta Initiatives Gallery.

Free access.


“Understanding the Boss” and “Workplace Safety” are interactive lessons with video, listening, reading, practice and review activities. (There are five other stories on various topics.) The site requires Adobe Flash download.

Free access:

The Internet Picture Dictionary is an easy-to-use multilingual online dictionary and vocabulary-building program, useful for low-level ESL and literacy learners. It is also available in French, German, Spanish and Italian. The illustrated dictionary covers several topics, including animals, appliances, body parts, clothing, fruits and vegetables, school and transportation. The interactive activities include flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, word scramble and recall.

Free access:

Suitable for Stage I & II learners.

The links on this site include a wide selection of activities for low-level learners in CLB 1–5. Activities are categorized into 11 themes: people, work, everyday activities, home, our community, our world, food, health, getting around, communication and the basics.

Free access:

The Ontario Skills Passport allows teachers and learners to plan for future employment by offering occupational profiles, information on Essential Skills and goal setting.

Free access:

This 66-page workbook is intended for internationally trained individuals who have arrived in Canada or are considering moving to the country. It is designed to help with research before or upon arrival. The chapters provide concise information, and lots of space for note taking with headings and guiding questions to assist the newcomer.

There are five sections, written at an intermediate level, that cover the following topics:

  1. Living in Canada: links to provincial and territorial governments and immigrant-serving organizations, housing, finding a school, important documents and money.
  2. Improving your English or French: government-funded classes.
  3. Finding a job: information on regulated and non-regulated professions, skills and training information, starting one’s own business.
  4. Work-related documents: gathering, sending, translating papers.
  5. Educational and academic credentials: educational upgrading or completing a training program.

Free access: www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/pub/workbook-national.pdf

Quartz is an interactive online tool that offers a guided process for designing ESL courses based on learner needs and the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Quartz provides a set of tools and resources for course, unit, lesson plan and assessment creation. (Note: Instructors cannot upload existing units or lesson plans.)

Samples of Unit Names are found by clicking the blue Samples Tab on the right, providing three choices: Community, Work and Study and CLB Levels 1–8.

After selecting a Unit Name, choose a Unit Theme: three tabs are provided: Community, Work and Study. Sample themes can be viewed for each tab and CLB level.

Work has two themes: customer service (no themes offered for CLB1–4) and employment.

Note: Only those with a schoolboard email can access this site.

Restricted access:

This resource explains the relationship between Essential Skills and the Canadian Language Benchmarks (caveat: CLB 2000 was used). This is an excellent resource for developing tasks based on real-world employment examples. You will need to “Add to Cart” in order to download. The PDF will be emailed to you.

Free access:

SettlementAtWork is described as a knowledge hub for the settlement sector in the province. It contains an online listing of employment opportunities for those working with newcomers. There is also a wiki to share information and resources, a sector events page and RFPs (Requests for Proposals) for new projects in the settlement sector.

Free access:

The Step Forward Canada textbook series is aligned with the Canadian Language Benchmarks; the first text is CLB 1–2, and the second is CLB 3–5. The books do not specifically reference PBLA (there are no assessments or rubrics), however the texts can serve as a foundation for a PBLA program. A comprehensive chart at the beginning of each book breaks down the activities in each unit according to CLB level and competency areas, a feature that facilitates the planning of PBLA modules.

There are 12 themed units in each text, which build on the four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking), and integrate language instruction into real-life contexts. Each unit contains five lessons and a review section. The lessons cover vocabulary, life stories, grammar, everyday conversation and real-life reading. In addition, employability skills, critical thinking and math concepts are covered. Audio CDs contain authentic listening activities integrated with CLB listening benchmarks. The texts are designed for use in single-level or multilevel classrooms. The higher-level text focuses mainly on CLBs 3–4 with a limited number of CLB 5 activities; some instructors may find it suitable for a CLB 2–3 classroom.

ISBN -13  9780195426311

Publisher: Oxford University Press

In order to view TESL Ontario Webinars you need to be a TESL member and a member of a TESL group on Tutela. There are a wide variety of webinars available, both current and archived. Webinars count as TESL professional development. Must register with Tutela then search webinars.

Webinars can be accessed at:

Select TESL Ontario in “Groups” to access webinars past and present.

An award-winning British Columbia resource, The Westcoast Reader is designed for beginning adult readers, both ESL and English literacy learners. National and local news stories are adapted from The Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers, in addition to articles on health, safety, law and daily life. The paper is printed on a monthly basis for 10 months of the year, and provides a good orientation to Canadian culture and everyday life.

There are links to videos, photos and maps in the online paper. Each front page article has an audio file, allowing learners to read and listen to the story simultaneously. Teacher notes contain instructional strategies and answer keys.

The articles are not referenced to the CLBs. They are written with three levels of difficulty, suitable for CLB Stage 1 learners and higher level ESL Literacy learners.

The following groups can receive The Westcoast Reader free:

  • Community Adult Literacy Programs (CALP)
  • ESL, EAL and ABE programs provided by public post-secondary institutions
  • Literacy Outreach Coordinators (LOC)
  • Public libraries

$$$ All other groups pay a small fee to receive this valuable learning resource.

Free access:

There are two large collections on Tutela relating to employment. While not all have been reviewed, it is an excellent starting point for developing workplace/workforce curriculum.

  1. Employment Curriculum:  https://tutela.ca/Collection_23453
    1. Essential Skills
    2. General Employment Curriculum
    3. Sector Specific Curriculum
  1. Employment Teaching Resources: https://tutela.ca/Collection_23453
    1. Assessment Tools
    2. Module Planning
    3. Teaching Resources
    4. CLEO Employment Rights Lesson Plans
    5. Lesson Plans for NOC Classifications
    6. Language for Work Series Lesson Plans

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela Collections.

Register at:

There are currently 100 webinars (some repeats) available for access on this site. The topics are varied and cover many aspects, including literacy, classroom management and PBLA.

Online, free for members. And membership is free. When completed, many posts are kept in the archives. Some webinars are located within a membership group and one needs to be a member to join or view. Most webinars can be used for TESL Ontario professional development requirements.

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela Webinars.

Register at:

This website contains 24 games designed to build vocabulary through games that focus on reading, phonics and spelling. The games include practice with homophones, compound words, suffixes, syllables, idioms, contractions and parts of speech. There is also a typing practice game. Many activities have three levels (easy, medium and hard), and there are optional timing and sound features. The games can be used on a classroom smart board or for independent study.

Free access:

The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) has a number of workforce/workplace specific resources. This handbook can act as a stand-alone training program in an ESL employment class.

The general site contains a variety of additional documents supporting organizational development, workplace safety, leadership and so on.

Free access to the general site:

Free access to the handbook:

The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) has a number of workforce/workplace specific resources. This workbook can act as a stand-alone training program in an ESL employment class.

Free access to the workbook:

Developed by Bow Valley College in Alberta, this resource is designed for levels CLB 4-6,  to help learners find and retain employment in the food services sector.  The focus is on speaking and listening skills in the food industry however, reading and writing are covered as well.  The curriculum is divided into four modules: Interviewing and Onboarding; Knowing Your Environment; Staying Safe; and Taking Initiative.

The course provides a teaching guide and a workbook for learners.


When learners have employment goals, these resources fill in the gap between the skills and activities needed to write a resume, to have a  successful interview and the competencies and to acquire the skills needed to keep a job in Canada. Topics include a broad range of areas that instructors may need some support in teaching:

  • Workplace culture
  • Business talk
  • Telephone tips
  • Getting along with others
  • Business etiquette
  • Office politics
  • Networking
  • Meetings

The text communicates core information and the workbook supports that learning. Each unit is organized in the same pattern and there is an answer key in the back.

Available to purchase:

Book $45.50
Workbook $23.50
ISBN-13: 9780195432183
Publisher: Oxford University Press