Education and Lifelong Learning
Keeping our minds active is equally as important as keeping our bodies physically active. Lifelong learning means that we continue to learn new skills and gain knowledge throughout our lifetimes - an important part of healthy, active aging.
By taking a class or attending a workshop, we not only learn new things, but we also:
- meet new people,
- share ideas,
- develop our thinking skills, and;
- improve our memories.
Community centres, seniors' centres, and public libraries often offer programs and classes aimed at lifelong learning and physical activity.
Contact your local community centre, seniors’ centre, or public library to find out about programs in your area.
English Language Services for Adults (ELSA)
The ELSA program provides basic and intermediate level English training for adult newcomers to Canada. As a government-funded program, ELSA is free for students.
More than 30 different schools in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and other parts of British Columbia offer ELSA programs. Types and lengths of classes depend on the school at which they are offered.
In order to be eligible for ELSA, you must be 17 years or older and be approved for permanent residence in Canada.
For more information on programs, applications, and resources, visit:
Decoda Literacy Solutions is B.C.'s literacy organization, with a mission to address and support the full continuum of literacy and learning priorities identified by communities across B.C.
Decoda's regional Literacy Outreach Coordinators can provide information on available programming in a particular region.
For more information, visit:
High School Graduation
The B.C. school system offers a variety of options for students of all ages to complete secondary school or its equivalent and to meet their individual needs.
Adult learners have the flexibility of working towards two different types of diplomas:
One great example of a public school offering a high school graduation program for seniors is the Agassiz Centre for Education (ACE). ACE’s Class of 2013 included B.C.'s eldest high school graduate.
For a list of public post-secondary institutions in B.C., visit the:
Or get one-stop, online access to B.C.'s public post-secondary institutions through:
Financing Your Education
Some of British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges and institutes) offer reduced or free tuition to seniors.
The federal Lifelong Learning Plan allows you to withdraw amounts from RRSPs to finance some types of training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner.
Most post-secondary institutions also offer continuing studies (non-credit) courses for personal and professional development.
Some post-secondary institutions have programs and courses designed especially for older adults. A great example is Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) seniors program.
For more information about the SFU program, including a free video online, read the SeniorsBC news article: