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Home » Parenting, Subject Areas

Canadian Parents for French: Fier du bilinguisme canadien

Submitted by on November 25, 2014 – 10:53 am One Comment | 3,898 views

Collaboration spéciale de Marla Williams, Coordonnatrice CPF-Québec.



Question de la rédaction: What impact has bilingualism had on your life? Share your stories here or on Twitter @learnquebec

Canadian Parents for French (CPF) est le réseau national de bénévoles valorisant la langue française comme composante intégrale du Canada. L’organisme se dévoue à la promotion et à la création d’occasions d’apprentissage du français comme langue seconde pour les jeunes du Canada. CPF agit à titre de réseau proactif au niveau national, étant composé de dix bureaux provinciaux et de cent-soixante-dix chapitres au sein des communautés d’un océan à l’autre.

CPF was founded in 1977 by a group of parents who wanted their children to have the opportunity to become bilingual in the Canadian school system. Frustrated by the lack of French education in the school boards – apart from scattered French second-language (FSL) programs in St. Lambert, Toronto, Ottawa, Coquitlam and Sackville – these parents wanted to come together to discuss how to advance their goals. They received support from Keith Spicer, Canada’s first Commissioner of Official Languages, who also wanted to promote bilingualism among Canadian youth. Mr. Spicer got enough money together to organize a national conference entitled Parents’ Conference on French Language and Exchange Opportunities, which was held in Ottawa in March 1977. It was during this conference that Canadian Parents for French, the volunteer-based advocacy group, was founded.CPF POTL final

Les bénévoles se sont rapidement regroupés et ont commencé à militer pour plus de programmes d’immersion française à travers le pays. En moins de 10 ans, les bénévoles de CPF ont accompli de grandes réalisations et ont mis en place des ressources indispensables à la pérennité de la langue française au Canada, dont :

  • un guide du financement fédéral des programmes de français, langue seconde;
  • un annuaire des programmes d’échange bilingues, des camps d’été et des cours estivaux de français;
  • un annuaire des programmes d’immersion française partout au pays;
  • une bibliographie exhaustive sur la recherche concernant les programmes de français, langue seconde, au Canada.

CPF a également publié un livre rempli d’articles écrits par des chercheurs, parents et éducateurs intitulé So You Want Your Child to Learn French! Ce recueil a pour objectif d’informer les parents sur l’enseignement du français, langue seconde. Plusieurs chapitres de CPF ont également commencé à mettre en place des activités pour promouvoir la langue française au Canada. Le Concours d’art oratoire, une de ses plus importantes initiatives, a débuté en 1985.

These concerted efforts on a national scale led to many successes and skyrocketing French immersion numbers. French immersion enrolment grew about 650% in the decades following CPF’s creation; about 320,000 students were registered in such programs by the end of the nineties. To this day, the volunteers and staff at CPF continue to work with all levels of government and society to ensure that French immersion retains its momentum and that the quality of Core French programs is up to par. CPF is also striving to improve access for all to FSL programs across the country and is working toward ensuring that academically challenged students have equal opportunities to participate and flourish in these programs. CPF volunteers continue to dedicate hundreds of hours throughout Canada to provide students with opportunities to practice their French. You can even find Carnaval and Cabane à sucre activities in some remote Canadian towns!


Après une courte absence, Canadian Parents for French est de retour au Québec! CPF mène actuellement des activités de réseautage à travers la province et collabore avec d’autres organismes œuvrant dans le secteur du français, langue seconde, tels que Community Learning Centres, LEARN, l’Université Bishop’s et plusieurs autres. Pour en savoir plus sur les ressources disponibles, vous pouvez consulter notre page web au Nous vous invitons également à suivre notre page Facebook, Poutine, svp?, où vous trouverez des mots du jour, des blagues et des explications de certaines expressions québécoises!

CPF is also running various activities in the province, such as the long-standing Concours d’art oratoire, a public speaking contest for secondary students in French programs across Canada. Secondary students in Quebec have the opportunity to write an original piece and recite it in front of their peers and a panel of judges at the School and School Board levels. Winners then go on to compete at the Provincial Concours d’art oratoire. Provincial winners have a chance to travel to the National Concours to compete for $20,000 scholarships at the University of Ottawa and other universities across Canada, as well as for cash prizes and medals!

Pour les élèves du primaire, CPF met en place une chorale virtuelle, dans laquelle jeunes anglophones et allophones apprendront et chanteront un potpourri original de classiques québécois avec leurs voisins francophones. L’objectif visé est de permettre une meilleure connaissance de la culture québécoise ainsi qu’un rapprochement des divers cultures. Pour en connaitre davantage sur le Concours d’art oratoire ou la Chorale virtuelle, veuillez contacter Marla Williams au ou au 514-434-2400.

CPF est toujours à la recherche de nouvelles façons d’appuyer les élèves, les parents et les enseignants en FLS au Québec. Si vous avez des questions, des idées ou des suggestions, n’hésitez pas à me contacter!

Marla Williams
CPF Project Coordinator/Coordonnatrice CPF-Québec


Question de la rédaction: What impact has bilingualism had on your life? Share your stories here or on Twitter #learnquebec


Sources for CPF Historical Background:

Canadian Parents for French. « Our History. » Online reference :

Gibson, Judy. « A Glimpse at the Earliest Years of Canadian Parents for French. » Presentation to the 2013 CPF British Columbia & Yukon Conference. Online reference :

Hayday, Matthew. “Battling for Bilingualism and Fostering French-Language Learning: Looking Back at the History of CPF’s Activitism. » In CPF Magazine Fall/Winter 2014: 25-28. Online reference :

Source for French Immersion Enrolment: Government of Alberta. Department of Education. « Historical Overview of French Immersion. »

So you want your child to learn French!











CPF’s first ever newsletter!

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One Comment »

  • Brad says:

    I believe my mom was a member of CPF way back somewhere around 1979 to 1981, when the very first immersion programs were beginning in Western Canada. Actually, I’m quite grateful for the tenacity CPF had in the beginning years in rural Western Canada. My life would have been very different, and I would not have been the same person (on all levels) if it wasn’t for CPF initiatives. CPF has made a huge different in the lives of many people like myself. I wrote a little bit about it in the “about the author” section of my blog: Hats off to everyone at CPF, past and present. All the best in the New Year.