Community Connections | Inclusion, Children And Youth, Immigrant Newcomers
Living Standards | Work, Early Childhood Development, Education And Learning

Calgary Immigrant Educational Society

We've helped newcomers and low-income Canadians find their rightful place in our city for nearly 30 years. With over 150 staff and students from 75 different nationalities, we provide English language and employment skills instruction for every stage of the settlement process, in-class and online.

Our Story

Why We Exist

“I need to do something to help my fellow immigrants”

Those are the words of Mr. Salim M. Sindhu, co-founder of the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES). As an immigrant himself, Mr. Sindhu sought to create a unique community where newcomers could develop the skills needed to find their rightful place in Canadian society. With its humble beginnings in 1988, CIES. has grown to include over 150 dedicated staff and over 100 volunteers who provide a “one-stop-shop” for new immigrants and economically challenged individuals. With its mission to help provide free and low-cost alternatives to expensive settlement programming, CIES strives to:

  • Provide English as a Second Language classes to newcomers.
  • Assist newcomers and low income Canadians in becoming more self-sufficient through employment.
  • Give fair access to newcomers to existing services and organizations by helping them overcome the various barriers encountered in the settlement process.
  • Promote a mutual understanding and respect between the established and newcomer communities on cultural issues.
  • Deliver programming for the people who need it, not only those who can afford it.

With 29 years of experience and a blended staff of newcomers and immigrants, CIES is proud to provide a caring, compassionate environment that feels like home. For a greater idea of how we serve the community, here is what one of our graduates had to say:

“A friend informed me of the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, which led me to do some research on the courses they offer; this influenced my decision to pursue the Basic Computer Skills course. Our instructor Mr. Mayuanan Selvaratnam delivered the instructional material efficiently and effectively, therefore, the content was easily understood.  My other classmates can attest to the fact that we were all motivated to learn. He had our interest at heart and was able to facilitate our individual learning challenges. Pursuing this course has made a tremendous impact on my computer knowledge and skills. I am now familiar with the different components of the computer, software, and applications. I can confidently say I can formulate a proper document for execution and manipulate the computer more readily. I am currently encouraging friends, co-workers and family members to pursue this course and other courses offered by this Institution”.
Elizabeth D.B.

Our Impact

What We Do

The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES) provides various levels of English language education, employment training, job bank information, and referral guidance to newcomers and economically disadvantaged Calgarians in an effort to help them find their rightful place in Canadian society.


  • Open 6 days a week, we serve more than 1,200 adult clients and 130 children a day across two locations.
  • With 28 different programs/services and 76 different English classes alone, there’s an option for everyone including in-class, online, or blended.
  • We’ve expanded our e-learning course options and launched easy-to-navigate online registration. In addition to this, core counselling and settlement support services are offered, with a variety of times for drop-in and appointments.


Our variety of robust English education programs help students from over 75 different countries everyday. With this sort of reach, it’s important to us that every student feels heard and welcome. As such, our smaller class sizes allow for more direct one-on-one interaction between teachers and students, and our classes (whether basic, intermediate, or advanced-level) ensure that students are getting the help they need.


For students of our LINC English program, CIES provides in-office childminding care. Learning and fun happen every day through a variety of motor activities, arts, and circle time. This freedom for newcomers to practice their English while their kids are learning and playing has been regarded as one of CIES’ essential services since its inception. For individuals who aren’t learning English at CIES, don’t worry – we’ll put you in touch with quality community daycares that have a schedule that will work for you.


Getting a job can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. With programs focused on building hard and soft employability skills, professional business communication, entrepreneurship, and more, CIES readies clients for the Canadian labour market and puts them on the path to sustainable employment. Affordable (and even free!) part-time and full-time classes ensure that those who need help the most, receive it, and in turn get the chance to learn and grow.


For students who are unable to attend regular classes due to illness, disability, conflicting work schedules or maternity leave, we are one of the only providers in Southern Alberta of FREE English online education. LINC Home Study provides quality English education at a distance through weekly Skype and online computer classes, to help prepare newcomers for Canadian society. And for those students who can commit to one in-class instruction per week in addition to online learning, we offer LINC Blended.


Through our partnership with numerous agencies CIES is proud to provide weekly presentations for its students from different sectors across the city. Guest speakers from prominent health, finance, law, and business organizations are commonplace at our Northeast and Southeast locations, all part of our pledge to provide a “one-stop-shop” and help new immigrants find their place in our city.

Our Programs

How We Do It

Programs offered by CIES are available at two facilities: the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (403-235-3666) in Forest Lawn Southeast and the Welcome Centre for New Immigrants (403-291-0002) at Whitehorn in the Northeast.

Southeast Location (Calgary Immigrant Educational Society)

Northeast Location (The Welcome Centre for New Immigrants)

Clients who are interested in joining a program at either facility are encouraged to contact the program coordinator directly. If you require assistance with navigating our programs, or want to talk to someone for programming advice, please contact the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (403-235-3666) or Welcome Centre for New Immigrants (403-291-0002). We are also available to chat online at

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Established in 1988, the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES) is a non-profit, registered charity, devoted to assisting newcomers and economically challenged Canadians in improving their levels of English language and employment skills. Some of our programs and services are free of charge for our clients, with funding generously raised from the community through donations from individuals like yourself, and corporate sponsorships. If you have any questions about how to donate, including details on specific programs or services to donate to, please click here.


“I have been a volunteer at CIES for almost five years.  The drop-in students amaze me with how hard they work at their English and at adjusting to life in Canada.  I continue to be surprised and delighted at the enthusiasm they have for learning and their willingness to support and help each other.  In every class, I see stronger students take it upon themselves to help weaker students.  And I’m always happy to watch friendships develop between the students – in English.  I appreciate the students’ efforts, and am always made to feel appreciated by them.  I, like the students, am treated with respect and consideration by CIES staff, and feel fortunate to be a part of this excellent program.”

Susan Link (Pre-Basic English Instructor)

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Colyn deGraaff

Calgary Immigrant Educational Society


Charitable Number: 130143373RR0001

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