Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Key Questions

Key Questions

How is French-language education different from the French immersion program offered in English schools?

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

  • The French immersion program teaches French as a second language;
  • French-language education provides schooling in French and in a Francophone cultural setting;
  • French-language education teaches English starting in elementary school, which offers students the opportunity to acquire a solid command of Canada’s two official languages by the time they complete their studies.

Who can enrol in French-language schools?

The rights to a French-language 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 section 23 of 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 Education Act, the Ontario Legislature recognizes the importance of extending the right to be admitted to a French-language school to children of parents who do not meet the basic criteria set out in section 23 of the charter. Under section 293, a mechanism was established – namely, the admission committee – by which it is possible to admit these children.

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 French-language education, they will have to submit an application to the admissions committee of the appropriate school board.

Postsecondary education and training
Access to a postsecondary 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 is not fluent in French?

Yes. French-language education 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  Actualisation linguistique en français (ALF), has been developed to meet the needs of students who have a limited knowledge of  French 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.

Can my child attend one of the French-language schools if I am a newcomer to Ontario, and that he or she does not speak French?

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 

Constantly striving to be welcoming and inclusive, all French-language education school boards have reviewed their admission policy in 2009 as follows:

  • to ensure that boards include in their policies effective methods for recruiting eligible students;
  • to make the admission process at French-language schools as streamlined as possible for newcomers who are French-speaking;
  • to make provisions for possible admission of newcomers who speak neither French nor English to French-language schools;
  • to standardize the rules governing the operation of admission committees to ensure fairness across the province;
  • to increase accountability and transparency in the French-language education system to improve public confidence.

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

The curriculum for the French-language schools (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12) reflects the pedagogical and linguistic realities of the Francophone context and is aligned with the English-language schools' curriculum. 

Students learn English starting in elementary school and up to Grade 12. The English course at the secondary level is thought with the same rigour as in English-language schools.

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

Most French-language schools offer the same extracurricular activities as English-language schools. Since part of French-language education’s mandate is to transmit the Francophone culture to its students, the  schools offer students the opportunity to participate in various cultural activities in French. This cultural environment is particular to French-language education and enriches the students’ learning and school life, while allowing them to attain high-level bilingualism.

How are French-language education teachers certified?

All teachers in Ontario must satisfy the same certification and training requirements set forth in the Ontario Education Act . They must also be members of  the Ontario College of Teachers who regulates the teaching  profession in Ontario. French language teachers also benefit from a series of professional development opportunities to acquire the special training to work in a French-language minority setting. 

Can attending a French-language school increase a student’s likelihood of being accepted into the postsecondary 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 French-language education’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 postsecondary institutions, as well as other training programs, in either official language.


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