Frequently asked questions


What are the admission criteria to attend French-language elementary and secondary schools?

Elementary and secondary schools

Admission to French-language elementary and secondary 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 rights-holder. that is, a Canadian citizen who meets at least ONE of the following criteria:
    • The first language learned and still understood is French;
    • The parent attended elementary school in French in Canada;
    • Another of the parent’s children has received French-language education or is attending elementary or secondary school in French in Canada.
  2. Moreover, any parent can submit an application for admission to the French-language school of his or her choice. The child’s eligibility is determined by the admissions committee within the designated school board. Once the child’s admission to a French-language school is granted, the parent becomes a “rights-holder,” and all his or her children become entitled to a French-language education anywhere in Canada.

Many parents in Canada are unaware that they are rights-holders. However, a rights-holder who chooses not to register his or her child in a French-language school risks depriving his or her descendants of the right to French-language education. To regain their right to FLE, his or her grandchildren may have to submit an application to the admissions committee of the designated school board.

To register your child at an elementary or secondary school, you must contact the school of your choice.

Be sure to have the following documents ready upon registration:

  • Registration form: provided by the school or school board
  • Proof of child’s age : original birth certificate or passport or baptismal/faith document
  • Immunization record : proof that your child has been immunized
  • Proof of child’s citizenship: birth certificate or passport, record of landing or permanent resident card
  • Proof of address : any two of the following (current) documents: lease or deed, car registration, utility bill, residential telephone bill, moving bill, property tax bill, health card, bank statement, credit card statement, correspondence with a government agency
  • Proof of custody: if you are not the child’s parent and the child is under 18, you must provide proof of custody (court order)

Eligibility for admission to post-secondary education and training

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

Who is the French language school for?


The clientele of French-language schools in Canada is diverse.

Except for Quebec, the clientele in childcare services and at the elementary and secondary levels of the French-language school network is made up, for the most part, of children of rights-holders.

Essentially, rights-holders are Canadians whose first language learned and still understood is French. These Canadians have received elementary school instruction in French. They have the right to have their children educated in this language.

One of the particularities of the elementary and secondary school clientele in Canada’s French-language minority education network is the high number of children from exogamous couples.

Exogamy is the union of two people from different first languages and cultures. This means that a language other than French is regularly spoken within the family (usually English). This is a reality for many families whose children are enrolled in French-language schools outside Quebec.

French-language school boards offer accompaniment, support, and francization programs to exogamous families.

Francophones and newcomers

Canada’s French-language education network also includes many Francophiles eager to offer their children a quality French-language education, reflecting the country’s linguistic duality.

Canada is also a land of welcome for many foreigners. The schools in the French-language education network reflect this reality.

These children, whether they come from Francophile families or from families newly established in Canada, are a cultural asset for French-language schools.

What are the academic equivalences in Canada?

The situation of your child

Canadian educational equivalencies may vary depending on your child’s age and the province or territory of destination.

We invite you to click here and consult the following website for more information: Education in Canada: Types of schooling (note: you will be redirected to another website).

What is the difference between French-language schools and French immersion programs in English-language schools?

  • The experience provided by French-language schools is very different from the experience provided by French immersion programs in English-language schools.
  • Education in French as a first language: In French-language schools, French is taught as a mother tongue in a Francophone cultural environment. Everything from kindergarten to the end of high school is taught in French, except for English and foreign language courses.
  • French immersion program: In English-language schools, part of the curriculum is taught in French in an English-speaking environment. French is taught as a second language.

Who is responsible for education in Canada?

  • Public education is provided free to all Canadians who meet a number of age and residence requirements.
  • In Canada, there is no national or federal governance governing education. Each province and territory is responsible for managing all levels of education, from preschool to post-secondary. Most jurisdictions group all sectors under a single Ministry of Education, but some have chosen to separate them.
  • Ministries are responsible for the general administration of education, establishing the laws and policies that apply to their area of jurisdiction. They determine how these will be applied, and the related financial aspects. Ministries are responsible for approving teaching licenses in their province or territory unless this authority has been delegated to a professional order. Under certain conditions, a teaching license may be recognized by the ministry (or professional order) of another province or territory.
  • The distribution of educational levels varies by province and territory. Pre-school education is offered everywhere from age 4 or 5 but is not compulsory in all provinces and territories. This is followed by the primary or elementary level (first six to eight years of schooling), and the secondary level (last four to six years). The secondary level sometimes includes technical or vocational training programs that orient students towards a trade, while in some jurisdictions these are offered in a separate post-secondary training center. Post-secondary education is offered in colleges and universities, which offer a variety of programs ranging from certification in a specific field to doctorates. While colleges are more oriented towards practical vocational training, they also offer other options. However, only universities offer master’s and doctorate programs.
  • Known as school districts, school divisions, school boards or school councils, these administrative structures are based on a geographic region established by the government of each province and territory, which may extend to the entire region. School board members are elected by the population they represent. They are responsible for applying the policies and programs prescribed by the Ministry of Education. They manage the operation and financing of the schools in their charge. To do this, they are supported by a general management team and staff responsible for various aspects of operations, from pedagogy to school transportation, infrastructure and building maintenance. By receiving a specific mandate for French-language education, school boards accept that they are at the heart of the sustainability of the communities they serve.
  • To find out more, consult the Portraits of Education produced by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

How can I find a French-language school or childcare services in Canada?

  • You can search by location (province or territory, city or town) or by institution. Simply enter the information you are looking for in the search engine boxes on the ELF in Canada site to find educational institutions near you.
  • For childcare services, consult the sub-tab in question under Institutions to access a list of websites listed by province and territory and designed to help you in your search.
  • French-language schools in minority contexts stand out and offer students a competitive edge: lasting bilingualism, high graduation rates, employability thanks to mastery of both official languages, and the opportunity to evolve in a rich cultural environment.