Teachers and parents

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed a variety of tools and resources for Canadian teachers and parents. These tools can be used in various subject areas, such as learning French or English as a first or second language, social studies and history.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada is dedicated to providing you with all the information you need on official languages.

Official Languages in Canada: 150 Years of History

Browse through this timeline to discover—or rediscover—the milestones that have marked the history of linguistic duality throughout Canada since 1867.

The Anglais-French Show

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has produced a video of Commissioner Graham Fraser’s appearance on the Anglais-French Show, hosted in both official languages by Micah and Jonathan, on LaurenHill Academy’s Web radio station. The Commissioner and the students talk about the benefits of learning both official languages, the role of English and French in Canada and Quebec, and other interesting issues.

A GREAT TEACHING TOOL!

This video (.mp4 68MB) can be used by high school students for classroom discussions during a history or language course. It conveys the views of students who live in both languages and have decided to use the power of radio to promote bilingualism.

The video can help to spark conversations on a variety of topics, such as:

  • the challenge of learning a second language and keeping it up
  • the benefits of bilingualism
  • our language rights as Canadians
  • the vitality of Francophone minority communities
  • Quebec’s English-speaking communities and the language situation in Quebec
LaurenHill Academy - Captions

RECORDED VOICE (FRENCH)

LHA Radio is proud to present this special edition of the Anglais French Show with the Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Graham Fraser.

MICAH

Hey, I'm Micah and I am one of the hosts of the Anglais French Show.

JONATHAN ( IN FRENCH)

I'm Jonathan, the other host of the Anglais French Show.

NICK

And I'm Nick, the technician for the Anglais French Show.

MICAH

Hello everybody we are on the air live.

JONATHAN (IN FRENCH)

You are listening to the Anglais French Show.

MICAH

And we are joined today by Mr. Graham Fraser. We'll be talking to the Commissioner of Official Languages after this song.

MICAH

Let's start a radio program and let's broadcast it on Fridays, and with the idea of Anglais French. Bilingual, completely bilingual, interchangeable language radio broadcast.

MICAH

We also read in your biography that you've written a couple books and the one that tweaked our interest was "Sorry, I Don't Speak French." Can you tell us a little bit about that one?

GRAHAM FRASER

Well, I was a journalist before becoming Commissioner of the Official Languages and I spent 10 years in Quebec covering Quebec politics and it was a chance to really pull together, all of what I had done, looking at language policy both in Quebec and in Ottawa over the years. And I was groping for a title and suddenly the idea came to me that I would use that phrase that Francophones so often hear when they try to get service in French, which is "Sorry, I don't speak French."

RECORDED VOICE (FRENCH)

LHA Radio is proud to present this special edition of the Anglais French Show with the Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Graham Fraser.

MICAH

Obviously with your enjoyment of the French music and the French culture and you're fluently bilingual, you obviously have an opinion on multilingualism. What would you say the advantage of multilingualism is?

GRAHAM FRASER

Well one of the things that is clear is that it is easier to learn a third language than it is to learn a second language because I can literally site to you young people who have gone off to India to work on solar projects and learn Hindi, who have gone to Vietnam, worked on water projects and learned Vietnamese, who have taught English in Japan in expatriate positions. Friends of my son's who live in Berlin and have learned German-they all learned the other official language first. So learning French for an Anglophone, learning English for a Francophone is a bridge to the rest of the world, it's not a barrier.

MICAH

And that's what we're trying to promote. We're trying to promote the bilingualism; the fact that you should we're trying to promote be learning both languages! It's going to help you in the world; it's going to help you out to learn both.

GRAHAM FRASER

Is it possible to learn another language while maintaining your own culture and identity? I think that absolutely. I was speaking recently to a professor at the University of Ottawa who said that, just because you learn how to swim, doesn't mean you forget how to walk.

MICAH

Oh boy... (laugh) It sounds like you're very passionate about your job and that's nice to see.

JONATHAN (IN FRENCH)

As Commissioner of Official Languages, what role do you play in protecting the French language?

GRAHAM FRASER

My role is to report to Parliament on the compliance or non-compliance of federal institutions regarding the use of both official languages. That means, for example, that if a citizen is unable to receive service from a federal institution in French, he or she can file a complaint with us; we will investigate and put pressure on the institution to improve its service to citizens. One of the things that has been a really pleasant surprise for me has been the discovery of the energy and the vitality of the minority francophone communities across the country. Now do they have challenges, absolutely, same way as the English minority in Quebec has challenges but they are not just a few little tiny places across the country.

MICAH

We are in Montréal, Quebec we're in Saint-Laurent, at a high school. It's called Lauren Hill Academy. There are English schools in Quebec, it's a surprise to many but there are English schools in Quebec (laugh).

JONATHAN

The best part is it's bilingual.

JONATHAN (IN FRENCH)

The French course is mandatory.

MICAH

For everyone, even the Anglophones.

MICAH (IN FRENCH)

Everyone at the school takes the French course.

MICAH

You say that the language, both official languages are being honored in Canada?

GRAHAM FRASER

Yes I think that increasingly people are embracing the idea that, as a country with two official languages, this is an asset, this is a value, this is something that is not only part of our constitution and part of our charter of rights and freedoms, it is the value that increasingly people cherish whether they speak the other language or not.

GRAHAM FRASER (IN FRENCH)

I think it is extremely important that youth in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada recognize the vitality of Quebec life, of Canadian life, and that there is no contradiction between Quebec pride, a Québécois identity and Canadian pride, or Quebec pride and a Canadian identity. A person can have multiple identities without complex, without contradiction, and I think that this adds to our collective lives.

MICAH

Well we'd like to thank you very much, it's been a pleasure to have you on the air with us today.

GRAHAM FRASER

It's been a real pleasure for me, thank you very much.

JONATHAN (IN FRENCH)

We have been speaking with Canada's Commissioner Official Languages.

MICAH

On LHA radio

JONATHAN (IN FRENCH)

The Anglais French Show

MICAH

Have yourselves a wonderful day.

 

Beyond Words – Canada’s official languages e-newsletter

To stimulate class discussion, make use of the articles in this e-newsletter, a great on-line resource featuring a wide range of topics related to Canada’s official languages. Subjects include arts and culture, languages of the world, current events, history and second-language learning.

Official languages in Canada – Statistics

How many people speak English in Canada? How many French-speaking Canadians are there? How many are bilingual? If you cover questions like these in class, the statistics section of our Web site is a valuable source of information. We also have data on the first official language of Canadians in the provinces & territories.

Where to start: Origami game

There are many ways to make French and English a part of your life. Maybe this origami game will inspire you to do something in French!

Make English a part of your life: Download the English origami game in PDF format (2.09 MB)

Make French a part of your life: Download the French origami game in PDF format (2.08 MB)

Colouring pages – Winter Games: Print, colour and learn

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed a fun bilingual, printable colouring book consisting of 13 winter sports. Print, colour and learn the names of each sport in English and French.

Download the Winter Games colouring pages in PDF format (2.25 MB)

Colouring pages – Summer Games: Print, colour and learn

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed a fun bilingual, printable colouring book consisting of 15 summer sports. Print, colour and learn the names of each sport in English and French.

Download the Summer Games colouring pages in PDF format (1.60 MB)

Exploring Canada’s official languages with posters

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed fun, educational tools to help increase awareness of Canada’s official languages (English and French). Our posters are the perfect complement to any learning environment and offer subtle access to names of professionals and marine animals in both English and French.

Free “Bilingualism at Work” poster, featuring both of Canada’s official languages

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed a fun poster called “Bilingualism at Work.” The poster is 47 cm x 74 cm, a perfect size for classrooms and children’s play areas or bedrooms. The poster illustrates a vibrant community setting with 15 great professions and their titles in English and French, to help learn the names in both of Canada’s official languages. The Bilingualism at Work” poster is free, including shipping costs.

Free “Marine Life” poster, featuring both of Canada’s official languages

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada has developed a beautiful Marine Life” poster to help you and your students, children or colleagues explore the hidden wonders of the sea. The poster features 21 sea creatures that live beneath the ocean. It is the perfect size for any learning environment: 47.5 cm x 70.5 cm. The “Marine Life” poster is free, including shipping costs.

One Charter, Two Languages, A Thousand and One Voices

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages developed a teaching guide archived for secondary teachers along with a video archived where young adults share their thoughts on linguistic duality.

Languages, immersion and education external links

The following links are provided as a public service. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada is not responsible for the content of these sites, and their views do not necessarily reflect those of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Please note that only the sites of Canadian federal institutions are subject to the Official Languages Act.