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Find Out All You Need to Learn French in Canada

Updated: January 29th, 2024

Canada's rich tapestry of French heritage and welcoming communities create an immersive environment ideal for mastering the language. From the historic streets of Quebec City to the bustling metropolis of Montreal, every corner of Canada offers unique opportunities to hone your French skills.

Whether you're a beginner seeking structured classes or an advanced learner craving authentic immersion, Canada provides diverse learning experiences tailored to your needs. Looking for the best and most effective way to learn French in Canada? Find out how to improve your French language skills with the following guide to learning French!

How Can I Improve My French Language Skills in Canada?

How can I Improve my French language Skills

Let’s explore the various ways you can improve your French language speaking skills in Canada.

French Language Assessment Center

Before enrolling in a French language class, get tested to learn your current French language skills. If you can, visit your city's French language assessment center and tell them you want to take French language classes.

Self-Assessment Tool

Before a formal language test, you can do a self-assessment test to determine your current language level. You can do this via the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC)-AEL.

The NCLC-AEL is an online self-assessment tool intended for people who want to evaluate their French as a second language (FLS). The tests are modeled on the Canadian Language Benchmarks ( CLB ) and assess your language proficiency in written and oral French comprehension.

Newcomer Organizations To Francophone Canada

If you’re settling in Francophone Canada, you can get a French language assessment by contacting one of the many newcomer settlement services organizations for French or prospective language speakers. You can access the full list of these organizations from the Quebec immigration ministry, with some of the most prominent organizations including:

  • Accueil pour Immigrants et Réfugiés Du Sud-ouest de Montréal Centre PRISME,
  • Bienvenue à Notre-Dame-De-Grâce,
  • Carrefour d'Aide aux Nouveaux Arrivants,
  • Droit À L'emploi (D.E.) (Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu),
  • ICI Intégration Communautaire des Immigrants,
  • L'Organisme pour l'Intégration, la Citoyenneté et l'Inclusion,
  • Mouvement de la Relève d'Amos-Région Inc., and
  • Service d'Aide à l'Adaptation des Immigrants et Immigrantes (S.A.A.I.).

Language Classes Offered By the Canadian Government

One of the most accessible and effective ways to improve your French language skills in Canada is by enrolling in language classes the Canadian government offers. These classes cater to individuals of all proficiency levels, from absolute beginners to advanced learners.

If you’re a permanent resident or a protected person, you can take language classes funded by the government at no cost. For French, these classes are called the Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC).

Learn more about immigration support for French speakers.

Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC)

Similar to LINC, the Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC) program offers French language instruction tailored to the needs of adult immigrants in Canada. CLIC classes focus on developing language proficiency through interactive activities, group discussions, and real-life simulations.

Besides language skills, CLIC emphasizes cultural integration and adaptation, helping newcomers feel more confident and empowered in their new environment. By participating in CLIC, immigrants can enhance their French language abilities while building connections with fellow learners and community members. To take a CLIC course, you must:

  • Take the NCLC-AEL online self-assessment test before coming to Canada,
  • Visit a newcomer settlement services organization to receive a formal engagement assessment,
  • Register for French language classes, and
  • Begin taking your French language classes.

French Language Tests And Certificates

In the realm of French language assessment, two significant benchmarks stand out: the Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) and the Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (DELF).

Test d’Evaluation de Francais (TEF)

The Test d’Évaluation de Français, or TEF, is a globally recognized proficiency test crafted to assess the French language aptitude of non-native speakers. Developed by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris (CCIP), TEF evaluates candidates across four core language competencies: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. TEF is made up of 5 modular tests, which include:

  • Oral comprehension (CO),
  • Written comprehension (CE),
  • Oral expression (EO),
  • Written expression (EE), and
  • Lexicon and structure (LS).

Scores are aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), offering a comprehensive assessment ranging from A1 (beginner) to C2 (advanced).

TEF is officially recognized by the:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC),
  • Quebec Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration,
  • Swiss State Secretariat for Migration,
  • French Ministry of the Interior,
  • Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and
  • French Ministry of Education.

The TEF certification is a testament to one's French language prowess, facilitating academic pursuits, career advancement, and migration opportunities.

Diploma d’Etudes en Langue Francaise (DELF)

Alternatively, the Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française, commonly referred to as DELF, is a series of standardized proficiency examinations administered by the French Ministry of Education. The DEFL is tailored to various proficiency levels outlined as:

Diploma Designation Language Proficiency Levels DEFL Levels
Basic user A1 DELF A1
Basic user A2 DELF A2
Independent user B1 DELF B1
Independent user B2 DELF B2

Each level corresponds to a distinct stage of language proficiency, as per the CEFR framework.

DELF certification holds global recognition and is highly esteemed in academic, professional, and immigration contexts. It is tangible proof of one's French language competence, facilitating educational enrollments, employment opportunities, and international mobility.

Benefits of Taking Language Classes in Canada

benefits of taking french language skills in canada

Among the benefits of taking French language classes include:

Access to Qualified Experienced French Language

Language classes in Canada boast a cadre of highly qualified and experienced French language instructors with the expertise and proficiency to guide learners at every stage of their linguistic journey.

Flexible Schedule

Whether you're a working professional, a student, or a busy parent, you'll find classes offered at various times of the day, including evenings and weekends, full-time or part-time, allowing you to balance your language learning pursuits with other responsibilities and interests.

Learning More About Helpful Topics

Beyond language proficiency, language classes in Canada provide opportunities to delve into various helpful topics related to the French language and culture. This includes:

  • Housing,
  • Banking,
  • Canadian citizenship, and
  • Getting a job in Canada.

Study at Flexible Locations

Besides flexible scheduling options, language classes in Canada often offer the convenience of studying at flexible locations. This may include

  • In-person instruction at a language school,
  • online classes,
  • Colleges, or
  • Community organizations.

Provision of Useful Study Services

Language classes in Canada go beyond traditional instruction to provide helpful study services to support learners in their language learning journey. This includes access to child-minders who will care for your child while you’re taking classes, transportation services to and from your classes, and access to classes for people with special needs.

Importance of Learning French in Canada

Importance of learning french in canada

Mastering the French language in Canada is not just a valuable skill; it's a strategic asset that opens doors to many opportunities, from employment and education to social integration and citizenship.

Getting a Job in Canada

In a bilingual country like Canada, proficiency in French significantly enhances your employability, particularly in industries such as government, education, and healthcare. Many job opportunities across various sectors require or prefer bilingual candidates, and possessing strong French language skills can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

Find out more about how to find a job in Canada.

Going to School in Canada

For students, learning French in Canada offers access to diverse educational opportunities, including French immersion programs, bilingual schools, and post-secondary institutions offering programs in both English and French. Bilingualism enriches academic experiences and opens doors to international exchange programs and career pathways. To enroll your child in the French language in Canada, you can get in touch with the following school boards:

Provinces Provincial School Boards
Alberta Federation of Francophone School Boards
British Columbia French-Language School Board of British Columbia
Manitoba Franco-Manitoban School Division
New Brunswick Conseil d’éducation du District scolaire francophone du Nord-Ouest
Conseil d’éducation du District scolaire francophone Nord-Est
 Conseil d’éducation du District scolaire francophone Sud
Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial French-language School Board of Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories Northwest Territories French-Language School Board
Nova Scotia Provincial Acadian School Board
Nunavut French-Language School Board of Nunavut
Ontario Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario (ACÉPO)
 Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques
Prince Edward Island French-Language School Board of Prince Edward Island
Quebec Fédération des des centres de services scolaires du Québec
Fédération des cégeps
Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) 
Association de collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne
Saskatchewan Conseil des écoles fransaskoises (Fransaskois School Board)
Yukon Yukon French-Language School Board

Learn more about education in Canada.

Accessing Services in Canada

French and English are among the official languages in Canada. Therefore, proficiency in French facilitates access to essential services such as healthcare, government assistance, legal aid, and public administration, particularly in regions with significant Francophone populations.

Find out more about services in Canada via its Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Assisting Your Children With Schoolwork

Parents who are fluent in French can effectively support their children's education by assisting with homework, communicating with teachers, and participating in parent-teacher meetings. Bilingual parents can provide valuable language support and foster their children's bilingualism and cultural appreciation.

Socializing and Networking

Language is a powerful tool for building connections and fostering relationships. By learning French, you can engage more fully in social interactions, participate in community events, and connect with Francophone communities, expanding your social circle and enriching your cultural experiences.

Learn more about Canadian Professional Immigrant Networks.

Obtaining Your Canadian Citizenship

English or French proficiency is required for obtaining Canadian citizenship. Demonstrating language proficiency through language tests or completing language classes fulfills a crucial criterion for citizenship eligibility, paving the way for full integration into Canadian society.

Learn the top tips for preparing for your Canadian citizenship test.


How Much Time Is Needed to Prepare For the TEF-Canada or TCF-Canada French Language Test?

The time needed to prepare for the test can vary based on individual learning abilities and the starting level of French proficiency. However, generally speaking, the recommended preparation time for the TEF-Canada or TCF-Canada French language test is generally 3 to 6 months.

How Good Does My French Need to be For Me to Find the TEF Course Helpful?

It is recommended to be at least an intermediate (B1) level to benefit from the TEF course. The TEF course can be helpful for learners of all proficiency levels, from beginners to advanced speakers. Whether you're just starting to learn French or aiming to refine your existing skills, the TEF course provides structured instruction and practice tailored to your level, helping you improve your language proficiency and prepare for the exam effectively.

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Canadian French?

Canada has about 10 million French speakers. Canadian French, spoken predominantly in Quebec and across Canada, boasts a distinct vocabulary influenced by English and Indigenous languages. Pronunciation variations give Canadian French its unique cadence, distinguishing it from European French.

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