Alberta Workforce Essential Skills has created a  series of publications to orient educators to working with newcomers including Essential Skills Assessment, Courses, Intercultural Intelligence, Workplace Safety, and a series of workplace videos.

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:


This instructor-recommended site (privately maintained) provides listening practice for learners at the intermediate level or above. The site includes audio books, novellas, short stories, articles and song lyrics. Different listening speeds are available. Grammar and idiom activities are available.

Free access:

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 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 renting a new apartment, paying rent and missing home. Non-CLB. Many Canadian references.

Free access:

This website is designed for beginning and intermediate learners (not CLB aligned), with a wide variety of activities for language practice, including podcasts, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The podcasts  link to different sites, including Archie comics.

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:

ESL Library is a commercial site containing  well developed lesson plans and resources for EAL teachers. Materials have been developed to meet the needs of LINC/ESL teachers. The Citizenship module contains a teacher guidelines and learner activities.  Your organization may obtain a subscription for unlimited instructor use, or subscriptions may be shared among 5 members.

Access by subscription:



This Canadian website sells classroom materials for a variety of purposes. The texts are written for ESL learners from Literacy to CLB 6. The books range in cost from about $30 to $80, for teacher or school. CDs are provided. Texts are skill and theme based (health, food, family), also includes  Canadian holidays, vocabulary activities and games. New texts contain PBLA resources.

Subscription required:

Additional Resources:

Lessons are task-based for PBLA:

Outcomes: Assessment 4-book series for CLB 1–4, based on CLB 2000, can be adapted for PBLA tasks:

Storybooks and related activities in five languages: English, French, Arabic, Tagalog and Chinese. Designed for parents and children to read and develop literacy skills together.

Free access:

This is a 284-page resource for literacy learners. Instructors are welcome to pull from the activities, worksheets, learning strategies and ideas included in the collection. Clear and easy to use. Numeracy is included.

Free access:

This webpage on the website contains information for newcomers on a variety of health issues including: finding a doctor, OHIP and health card information, reproductive health and mental health, and what do to in a medical emergency.

Free access:

These easy-to-read activity booklets, written by Joan Acosta and Bev Burke,  have been designed for adult English learners build their own literacy skills while building the habit of reading with with young children. The first book is for reading with babies, the second is for toddlers, and the third is for reading with preschoolers. The booklets can be read online or downloaded and printed.

Free access.

For CLB levels 5–6, designed to be used by an instructor.

This 366-page textbook is available as a downloadable PDF or as an e-text for use in the classroom (or with a tutor). The chapters integrate the four main language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), with some essential skills and intercultural skills.

Features of the text:

  • Key scenes are acted out by 9 individuals of varying ages, different genders and race/ethnicities, with different accents: should appeal to a wide range of learners
  • Audio and video activities
  • Interactive text: underlined vocabulary and idioms linked with definitions, interactive activities can be submitted for marking with immediate feedback
  • Themed grammar activities
  • Tasks and rubrics align with CLB document for instructor’s use or self-assessment
  • Extension activities provide practice in community settings
  • Navigation bar allows learners to download/print individual activities, link to social media, easily access the table of contents and answer keys, change settings and translate (linking to Google Translate)
  • Chapter vocabulary lists and glossary provided
  • Instructor guide available

Content is comprehensive. Chapters are clearly laid out for instructors and learners. Online availability means learners can access the text in their free time for review and reinforcement, or as homework. Recommended CLB 5–6.

Free access:

The link provides a printable PDF version.
$$$ Kindle e-reader available through

This is a sharing website for instructor-made materials: a variety of resources including printable worksheets, PowerPoints and videos. Registration required.

Free access:

Created by Bow Valley College of Calgary, the podcasts are on a variety of topics including health, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, housing, consumer matters and money. Short podcasts with transcripts and activities. Does not reference CLB. Three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Free access:

This tool allows individuals to use personal information and a drop-down menu to create an individualized settlement plan, using headings such as first weeks, first months, immigration services, culture, laws and rights, working, housing, language, health and citizenship. Each topic has links to resources. Users can print out their personal settlement plan to track their progress.

Free access:

The Centre for Canadian  Language Benchmarks acts as a repository for all things CLB that have been funded, produced and shared to ensure national consistency in language delivery.

It supports the following areas:

  • CLB
  • PBLA
  • Language learners
  • Immigration or citizenship
  • Language teachers
  • Volunteers working with refugees
  • Language assessors
  • Literacy
  • TESL training
  • Employers, counsellors and workers
  • Regulatory bodies

Note: The site is updated to reflect the changing needs of the language community.

Most resources are free access:

Access Forward: Free training modules for people with disabilities:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Housing for Newcomers PDF available in eight languages:

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Government of Canada:

The Canadian Consumer Handbook provides information on identity theft, credit reporting and consumer complaints:

CLEO Resources and Publications: Ontario laws related to housing, family law, criminal, employment. Posters and documents in several languages:

Consumer Protection Ontario:

Get Cyber Safe, Government of Canada, provides information on how to keep safe online:

Human Rights Commission of Ontario: Video lessons on rights and responsibilities related to housing:

Human Rights Legal Support Centre, Province of Ontario, provides information in 10 languages:

Job Bank, Government of Canada. Extensive searchable database:

Legal Aid Ontario: 1-800-668-8258

Legal Line provides easy to understand explanations on many federal and provincial laws, on many topics, and in 65 languages:

Ontario Labour Market: Job trends and outlooks: Guides are available in 10 languages:

1. Daily Life

2. Find Services Near Me

3. My First Days Housing information in 30 languages:

The Tenant Survival Manual is produced by the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations and is available in 13 languages:

This is a comprehensive resource developed by Bow Valley College, Alberta. It provides support to instructors teaching contained literacy classes and mixed level classes. There is an instructional framework, plus effective strategies, materials and resources for literacy instruction.

This multilevel curriculum for CLB 2–4 multilevel classes was developed by NorQuest College for rural Alberta learners. The document is adaptable to other contexts and used with higher-level learners.

There are eight units: Getting to Know You, Community, Education, Personal Finance, Health and Wellness, Recreation, Safety and Shopping. Each unit contains five modules with teaching notes, suggested activities and instructional resources.

Free access:

Produced by NorQuest College for small, multilevel settings with CLB 2-4 learners. This resource can be used in other settings. Detailed lesson plans for CLB 2 and 4. Financial literacy in two units, covering money, spending and banking.

Free access:

The website provides information to newly arrived immigrants and refugees in Ontario. It lists common questions and answers with relevant links. The main headings are “First Days” and “Services Near Me.” Information is presented in Q & A format at an intermediate level of English. Topics covered include immigration and citizenship, housing, health, education, legal services, community and daily life. Information includes getting a driver’s licence, finding a doctor and dentist, the Canada Child Benefit, Employment Standards information, a guide to elementary and secondary schools.

The website information has been translated into 40 languages, plus there is a forum where users can have their specific questions answered. There is also a sidebar listing events by date.

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

This website contains a range of resources to aid in delivering instruction to children and adults who have had their formal education interrupted. Includes teaching resources and essential learning indicators for language, literacy and numeracy.

Free access:

Resources for more intensive intervention:

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:

This 146-page guide provides detailed information for refugees and immigrants. It may be valuable as an instructor resource or as a class reference – text is written at a high level, which may be challenging for Stage 1 learners. Although it is not the official citizenship preparation guide, the document refers readers to the Discover Canada document. It contains attractive photos, charts and sidebar stories of newcomers’ achievements in Canada.

The 15 chapters include:

  1. A brief overview (Canadian history and geography)
  2. Rights and freedoms
  3. Canadian law and justice
  4. Employment and income
  5. Education
  6. Housing
  7. Healthcare in Canada
  8. Money and finances
  9. Transportation
  10. Communications and media
  11. Community connections

Also provides some practical information on such things as etiquette on public transportation, bundling of Internet services and protecting personal identification.

Free access: