English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community (ELTOC)

A non-profit organization that helps isolated immigrants and refugees living in Ottawa

Tasks which are relatively simple for Canadians, such as taking the bus, requesting repairs from a landlord or attending a parent-teacher interview can be enormously difficult for recent immigrants and refugees who lack basic English language skills. They find it challenging to talk to doctors, neighbours and coworkers. While many are able to enroll in one of the English as Second Language (ESL) classes offered in Ottawa there are others who are unable to attend language classes because they have young children to care for, have a disability or health problem, work long hours or face other barriers. English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community or ELTOC is a charity that provides these newcomers with free one-on-one English language tutoring. The language instruction is provided by volunteer tutors who work with students in the students’ homes. Many of the newcomers referred to the program are relatively isolated and a significant number have had little or no formal education. ELTOC is the only organization in Ottawa providing this service.

The volunteer tutors provide lessons which are geared to the student’s specific needs. Tutors are trained and receive ongoing support from qualified ESL teachers. The organization draws its tutors from the community. Previous teaching experience is not required. The success of the program is dependent on being able to recruit sufficient numbers of volunteer tutors on an ongoing basis.

ELTOC assists approximately 200 newcomers each year. Normally there are around 50 students on the waiting list, a recent increase in demand has led to an increased need for volunteer tutors.

ELTOC receives close to 96% of its funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada but has not been immune to cuts in government funding which have affected virtually all federally funded ESL and settlement programs in Ontario. As a result, ELTOC has expanded its fundraising activities and sought out new donors to help support its ongoing operational needs including the purchase of tutor training supplies and teaching resources and the recruitment of new tutors.

Founded in 1991, ELTOC has made a significant difference in the lives of many Ottawa residents. With the support and mentorship of the volunteer tutors, students improve their English language skills, build confidence and receive an important introduction to Canadian culture that helps them integrate and feel more at home in Ottawa. At the same time, the volunteers receive a rewarding experience arising from the cross-cultural exchange and knowing that they have made a positive impact on someone’s life.

You can watch a video about ELTOC here.


 About Heartwood House

ELTOC is a Proud Member of Heartwood House!





ELTOC is one of 16 charitable organizations located in Heartwood House. Heartwood House is a charity with the mission of providing affordable accommodation for nonprofit charities.