Ontario Government Makes Progress Attracting French-language Teachers
Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy Already Boosting Supply of French-language Teachers
The Ontario government marked progress on its recently announced French Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy which is helping to recruit and retain new French-language teachers. The four-year strategy demonstrates the province’s commitment to addressing the French-language and French as a Second Language (FSL) teacher shortage in both the French and English school systems.
The strategy includes a pilot project with France to increase the recruitment of qualified teachers in both French- and English-language school boards and focuses on building awareness of teaching pathways. Ontario recently welcomed the first four internationally educated teachers thanks to the strategy — with the first two successful candidates from France through the Ontario-France pilot project; and two other successful candidates from Cameroon through the Destination Canada virtual job fair and Algeria through the recruiting efforts of Le Centre franco.
These are the first of what is expected to be many teachers hired through a promising pilot project with France and international outreach with French-speaking countries. Other initiatives include recruitment efforts in French-speaking jurisdictions abroad, removing barriers to teacher training programs, improving flexibility of teacher training programs and ensuring supportive teaching environments.
“We are taking action and making progress to help end the national and decade-long French teacher shortage to ensure the continued growth of quality French-language education in Ontario,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are marking early progress by welcoming new internationally educated teachers to Ontario, supported by our four-year, $12.5-million plan that is helping to recruit and retain the best French-language teachers for our province.”
The demand for French-language education opportunities in Ontario remains strong with a 15 per cent increase in the number of students in French-language schools in less than a decade.
In the short time since announcing the strategy, work has begun on:
Introducing new teacher education program delivery models: successfully launching two new French-language Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs at Laurentian University and developing a new French-language technological education ITE program at the University of Ottawa, all of which are designed to offer greater flexibility and access to teacher education;
Establishing an Ontario government-led implementation committee with our French-language partners to ensure key milestones in our strategy are on track and achieved;
Consulting with French-language faculties of education to inform topics of interest for the committee;
Identifying a third-party to evaluate the strategy’s progress and conduct data collection and analysis; and
Initiating various projects that support the recruitment of qualified teachers and increase awareness of teaching opportunities in Ontario, including virtual job fairs in French-speaking countries to highlight teaching opportunities in Ontario’s French-language schools.
There are now more than 113,000 students in French-language schools.
There are 53 per cent less newly certified French-language teachers per year compared with numbers in 2014-15.
An estimated 450 additional French-language teachers per year will be needed to meet demand in the French-language education system.
More than one million students are enrolled in FSL programs in the English-language school system, including 250,000 students enrolled in the French Immersion program.
On June 17, 2021, the Ontario government announced its four-year strategy to recruit, train and retain more teachers to address the ongoing shortage of qualified teachers in our French-language schools and FSL programs.
The strategy has enabled the Ontario government to support education partners with their international outreach initiatives and a pilot project with France to increase the recruitment of qualified teachers in both French- and English-language school boards. The collaboration between various partners, including the provincial government, the French Embassy, the Ontario College of Teachers, Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada and the Institut national supérieur du professorat et de l’éducation in Aix Marseille, opened a new pathway for French teachers to be eligible to become certified to teach in Ontario.