Survey of Providers of Training in English or French as a Second Language

Detailed information for 1998




One Time

Record number:


The main purposes of this survey are to gather information at the Canada level and, where possible, at the regional level on the size of the industry, its characteristics and the role played by foreign students. It also gives decision makers necessary tools to design appropriate policies, and the survey providers a profile of their industry.

Data release - November 16, 1999


The main purposes of this survey are to gather information at the Canada level and, where possible, at the regional level on the size of the industry, its characteristics and the role played by foreign students. It also gives decision makers necessary tools to design appropriate policies, and the survey providers a profile of their industry.

The specific goals of the survey were:
a) to measure the importance of the ESL/FSL industry in terms of total revenues, number of enrolments and employees;
b) to estimate the contribution of foreign students to the industry in terms of the number of students coming to Canada and Canadian schools selling their services abroad;
c) to measure the growth of the industry;
d) to obtain characteristics of the industry such as the types of services offered, teaching methods used, modes of operations, marketing practices, etc. and
e) to identify issues that impact on the industry.

Results from the survey will help Canadians and Canadian governments understand the contributions made by this industry to the Canadian economy and will assist in the development of appropriate research and policy in this area.

Reference period: Calendar year

Collection period: Phase 1 (Telephone Survey): Summer 1998; Phase II (Questionnaire Mail-Out): January 1999 - March 1999


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Education, training and learning
  • Languages
  • Professional, scientific and technical services

Data sources and methodology

Instrument design

Survey Frame:

Since the survey was conducted for the first time, a comprehensive list of all private and public schools had to be created. An initial list was created from various public sources such as the lists provided by the provincial governments, the Yellow Pages, professional associations, federal government departments and information extracted from the Statistics Canada Business Register.

In order to refine the initial list that contained over 1,000 entities, and retain only schools that met the selection criteria, a telephone survey was conducted in June 1998. This survey also provided an opportunity to validate the contact name and address in preparation for the mail-out/mail-back survey. The resultant list or industry inventory included 331 private schools and 159 public institutions.

Consultation Process:

The consultation process consisted of several meeting between Statistics Canada and the clients, which were the Department of Canadian Heritage, Industry Canada, Language Training Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Canadian Education Centre Network. The process also included searches on the provincial Ministries of Education internet sites to gain further clarification of operating practices within the public education sector of each province, telephone discussions lasting between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours with individual providers or representatives of organizations from both the private and public setting across Canada.

Pilot Test:

The mail-out/mail-back questionnaire was tested with private providers and public institutions.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The survey was conducted in two steps. First, a telephone survey was conducted to create a master list of schools to be included in the survey. Second, a mail-out/mail-back questionnaire was sent at the end of January 1999 to every school. At the end of the planned collection period, only 30% of the questionnaires were sent back.

In order to improve the response rate, follow-up letters were sent to delinquent respondents in March 1999, and follow-up phone calls were made. In July 1999, to minimize the response burden, a abridged version of the questionnaire was developed. It was administered over the phone to a sample of non-respondents. This process also allowed us to measure the non-response bias of the survey.

Error detection

Upon reception of the questionnaires, manual edits were done on all the questions and respondents were contacted when certain entries were either missing, invalid or inconsistent.

Data capture specifications were also written in order to minimize errors when capturing the data.


The imputation method used in this survey was the nearest neighbor. Imputation was done on specific variables only: revenues, enrolments and hours of training.


The survey was designed to be a census but due to the relatively low response rate to the survey, simply summing reported information underestimates the size of the industry. In order to get a better measure of the size of the second language industry, information reported by the survey respondents was weighted to take into account the activity of non-respondents.

This was done in three steps:

First, it was assumed that the structure of the private sector of the second language training industry (as measured by the distribution of schools by total revenue size) was similar to the structure of the whole language industry. The structure of the whole language training industry was measured by the distribution of the gross business income obtained from the Business Register of Statistics Canada.

Second, the reported structure of the public sector was assumed to be representative.

Third, total revenues by revenue category were estimated by multiplying the number of schools per category from the industry inventory by the reported average revenues for each category.

Total number of enrolments and total number of employees were also estimated using the same approach, under the assumption that there is a correlation between school revenues and the number of enrolments and a correlation between school revenues and the number of employees.

Quality evaluation

Manual and computer edits including consistency checks were carried out. Problems identified with editing procedures were resolved by contacting the respondents.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

The information from this survey was released in aggregate form only (tables and chart form).

Data accuracy

The survey response rate was 46.3%.

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