Where can I learn French as a second language in Ontario?

Canada's two official languages are French and English, and residents should try to learn both if possible.

How do I learn French in school?

Students in Ontario must study French as a second language (FSL):

  • from grades 4 to 8
  • through at least one credit in high school 

You can choose to continue studying French throughout high school, but only one credit is needed to graduate. 

Many schools also offer either extended French programs or French immersion programs. 

In extended French programs:

  • students must take at least one other subject (e.g., history or math) that is taught in French
  • 25% of ALL subjects at the elementary school level in must be instructed in French

In French immersion programs:

  • students must take two or more other subjects (e.g., history or math) that are taught in French
  • at least 50% of ALL subjects at the elementary school level must be instructed in French  

All schools in Ontario must offer the core French classes. Additionally, Ontario has 455 schools with extended French and French immersion programs, which you can search for on the government's French-language schools page.

How do I learn French in college or university?

Students may learn French:

  • through individual credit and non-credit courses 
  • to earn a diploma or certificate validating that they meet language requirements for jobs  
  • for degrees that, in addition to the French language, explore the history and culture of Francophone communities

You must check the college or university you attend, or are interested in attending, to see what kind of French programs and courses they offer. 

How do I learn French as an adult?

If you're NOT attending school but you're interested in improving your French, you may be eligible to take language training classes for free. 

You should enroll in a program to improve your French if you:

  • want to learn how to communicate in French
  • need to learn French for your job or school
  • need to prepare for the French language proficiency test

School boards across Ontario offer French as a second language classes:

  • in-person and online
  • part-time and full-time
  • in the daytime and evening on every day of the week
  • at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels

To be eligible for the free classes, you must be:

  • a resident of Ontario
  • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, protected person, or refugee claimant 

To register, contact your local Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) Centre.

Where else can I learn French as a second language? 

Some other ways to learn French include:

  • Checking out books and workshops at your local public library, which are usually free
  • Through French cultural cultural centres, for a fee 
  • Through a private tutor or private language school, for a fee