Frequently Asked Questions

How is French-language education (FLE) different from French immersion programs offered in English schools?

There is a major difference between French-language schools and immersion schools and programs:

  • French immersion programs teach French as a second language.
  • FLE provides schooling in French and in a French cultural setting.

FLE teaches English starting in elementary school, which offers students the opportunity to acquire a solid command of both of Canada’s official languages by the time they complete their studies.

Who can enrol in FLE’s schools?

The rights to a French education in Ontario are defined by both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Education Act.

Admission to French-language schools can be granted in one of two ways:

  1. Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a child is eligible, without any other condition, if the parent is a Canadian citizen and meets one or all of the following criteria:
    • The first language learned and still understood is French;
    • He or she was educated, at the elementary level, in French in Canada;
    • He or she is the parent or tutor of a child who has received or who is receiving his or her education at the elementary or secondary level in French in Canada.
  2. Moreover, under the Ontario Education Act, any parent can submit an application for admission to the French-language school of his or her choice. The request will be processed by the admissions committee within the designated school board. Once your child’s admission to a French-language school is granted, the parent, becomes a “rights-holder,” and all of his or her children become entitled to a French-language education, anywhere in Canada. They will in turn be able to register their own children at a French-language school.

A rights-holder who chooses not to register his or her child in a French-language school runs the risk of depriving his or her descendants of this right. In order for his or her grandchildren to regain their rights to FLE, they will have to submit an application to the admissions committee of the appropriate school board.

Post-secondary education and training

Access to a post-secondary institution or a training agency is open to everyone who wants to further his or her education in French.

Can my child receive a French-language education if he or she does not know any French?

Yes. Many children of non-rights-holders do not know any French, and schools offer programs designed for these students. Non-rights-holders can submit an application for admission to an FLE school; the request will be reviewed by an admissions committee according to a process determined by the school board.

Can my child attend one of FLE’s schools if I am a non-rights-holder?

Yes. French-language schools welcome newcomers who do not speak either of Canada’s official languages. Special measures are provided by school boards to help these students and their families integrate themselves into their community and to support the students’ academic success.

For further information on the admission of students in Ontario seeking French-language education, contact your local school board.

French-language education: welcoming and inclusive schools

School boards have recently reviewed their admission policy in order to adequately guide the activities of the admissions committees. The policy aims:

  • To effectively select eligible students;
  • To standardize the admission of francophone newcomers;
  • To take the necessary measures in order to admit newcomers who speak neither French nor English (allophones);
  • To take the necessary measures in order to admit newcomers who speak neither French nor English (allophones);

School age

In Ontario, school boards are under the obligation to receive students between the ages of 6 and 21. In addition, students must attend school up to the age of 18.

How do French-language schools accommodate the needs of both native French speakers and native English speakers?

FLE has special programs and services designed specifically to meet the needs of all students accepted in a French-language school.

One of these programs, called Programme d’actualisation de la langue française (ALF), has been developed to meet the needs of students who must develop and improve their proficiency in French in order to succeed academically. Based on an individualized evaluation of the student’s proficiency in French, a program is designed to bring his or her language skills up to par. Through differentiated instruction, teachers help students master listening, reading and writing in French.

The policy statement and guidelines on the admission, welcoming and support of students receiving a French-language education in Ontario will ensure that every student, regardless of his or her background, receives the appropriate support and programs.

How does the curriculum of French-language schools differ from that of English public schools?

Ontario has only one curriculum, and its content is the same in all English or French-language schools throughout the province. The only difference is that students in FLE schools learn that curriculum in French, in a French cultural setting. English taught in FLE schools from elementary school to grade 12 follows the same curriculum as the one delivered in English schools.

With the exception of the French program, students attending French-language schools learn the same curriculum as in English-language schools.

What are the extracurricular offerings at French-language schools? Are they similar to those at English-language schools?

Most FLE schools offer the same extracurricular activities as English schools. Since part of FLE’s mandate is to pass on the language and culture of the Ontario francophone community to its students, French-language schools offer students the opportunity to participate in various cultural activities. This cultural environment is particular to FLE and enriches our students’ learning and school life, while allowing them to attain enviable levels of bilingualism and biculturalism – or even multiculturalism.

How are FLE teachers certified?

All teachers in Ontario must satisfy the same certification and training requirements set forth in the Ontario Education Act and are regulated by the Ontario College of Teachers. French language teachers also benefit from a series of professional development opportunities in order to acquire the special training needed to assist FLE students in their identity-building process.

The quality of instruction offered in FLE schools is often viewed as superior in many ways. Smaller schools and class sizes favour personalized interactions between teachers and learners. Provincial tests also reveal that FLE students outperform students attending English-language schools in grade 6 mathematics, reading and writing. FLE graduation rates are also better than the provincial average.

Do students speak any English at all during the day at an FLE school?

Yes. FLE students are taught English from early elementary school to grade 12. Our students, like the rest of world, are immersed in an English environment – everywhere except in schools offering a French-language education. All understand English, and most speak English before even enrolling in our schools. In fact, many rights-holders speak a language other than French at home.

Can attending an FLE school affect a student’s likelihood of being accepted into the study program of his or her choice?

Yes. Students attending French-language schools master both official languages. In addition, the academic performance and graduation rates of FLE’s students are above the average for the province. This increases students’ chances of being accepted into the postsecondary education program of their choice and finding interesting employment opportunities.

Students who graduate from French-language secondary schools can apply to French-language, English-language or bilingual post-secondary institutions, as well as other training programs, in either official language.

What role does the government play in FLE schools?

The Ontario Ministry of Education has a French-language education Policy and Programs Branch that sets the vision for FLE. It develops the resources needed for the FLE system, manages special funding (some of which is transferred from the federal government to support minority language groups) and monitors the results of all school boards according to its unique accountability framework. FLE’s schools, colleges and universities serve all regions of the province of Ontario.

Where can I find out more about FLE in Ontario?

For more information about French-language education, visit the Ontario Ministry of Education’s website at http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/amenagement or visit the website of the institution of your choice.