HOW IT ALL BEGAN
1965 – French immersion experiment – Initiated at the insistence of anglophone parents, the St. Lambert QC experiment with French immersion became the inspiration for parents across the country seeking better FSL learning for their children. See Immersion Schools Wallace Lambert’s Legacy.
1969 – Canada’s first Official Languages Act – English and French were recognized as the official languages of Parliament and all federal institutions, and the position of Commissioner of Official Languages was established.
1970 – First funds for “Bilingualism in Education” – The federal government, through agreements with the provinces, began to provide funding support for minority-official-language education and second-official-language instruction.
Canadian Parents for French is Founded
Keith Spicer, the first Commissioner of Official Languages, hosted a conference for 28 parents from all 10 provinces who were working within their communities to improve French-second-language learning. The result was the founding of CPF.1977
FIRST NEWS CONFERENCE
Founding President Pat Webster announced the formation of CPF and urged the federal government to immediately adopt a charter that would ensure all Canadian children have access to second [official] language instruction.1977
FIRST MEETING WITH A CABINET MINISTER
Representatives of the fledgling organization met with the Secretary of State for Canada to seek funding for its earliest initiatives. (In 1996 many of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State were transferred to the new cabinet position of Minister of Canadian Heritage.)1977
First issue of CPF’s National Newsletter1977
First National Conference
Held in October 1977, the conference was attended by more than 60 parents from across the country. Speakers addressed topics including national unity, FSL research results, and FSL program materials. The first Board of Directors was established, the goals of the organization confirmed, and ambitious resolutions passed.1977
FIRST BRANCHES AND CHAPTERS ESTABLISHED
The delegates to the first national conference returned to their communities to begin the work of establishing provincial branches and local chapters.
FIRST DIRECTORY OF SUMMER PROGRAMS
National newsletter #3 featured the first Canadian directory of exchange programs, summer camps, and summer language classes.1978
FIRST GUIDE TO FUNDING FOR FSL
National newsletter #4 featured the first comprehensive overview for parents of federal and provincial funding for FSL education.
CAMPAIGN TO INFLUENCE FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL FSL FUNDING NEGOTIATIONS
A national newsletter article alerted CPF members to a stalemate in negotiations for a new “bilingualism in education funding” agreement, and urged branches and chapters to add their voices to the efforts being made nationally to ensure continued and improved funding. A new agreement was finally signed in December 1983. As each subsequent multi-year agreement expired, CPF put pressure on the federal government and the Council of Ministers of Education for Canada not to delay a renewal to the point that local school board planning was adversely affected.1979
FIRST CANADIAN BIBLIOGRAPHY OF FSL RESEARCH
CPF published the annotated Bibliography of Articles and Books on Bilingualism in Education. Since then, CPF has kept members and others informed of research into FSL learning and bilingualism through its newsletters, books, pamphlets, and, later, the website.1979
FIRST ARTICLE ON CORE FRENCH
National newsletter #7 discussed the reasons for disappointing results from core French and suggested solutions.1979
MEMBERSHIP FEE INITIATED
A modest $5.00/year was charged for a family membership.1979
FIRST RESEARCH STUDY
CPF undertook an investigation on why parents want their children to learn French, their expectations of FSL programs, and related questions.1979
First Book published
So You Want Your Child to Learn French! was the first book to offer information to parents across Canada who wanted their children to learn French.1979
FIRST ARTICLE ON THE SUITABILITY OF IMMERSION FOR ALL STUDENTS
One of the articles in CPF’s first book reviewed the research to date on the suitability of French immersion for students experiencing a variety of learning challenges.
FIRST PAMPHLET PUBLISHED
“How to be an Immersion Parent” was adapted from a pamphlet prepared by the British Columbia Branch.1980
First Wordmark Established1980
FIRST DIRECTORY OF IMMERSION PROGRAMS
With information gathered by CPF volunteers throughout the country, CPF prepared the first Canadian directory of French immersion programs. From 1982 to 1996 it was published annually as The CPF Immersion Registry. Beginning in 2001 CPF provided a searchable directory of immersion and extended core French programs on its website.1980
QUEBEC REFERENDUM ON SOVEREIGNTY-ASSOCIATION1980
CALL FOR A NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE OF INFORMATION ON SECOND-LANGUAGE TEACHING
An article in the national newsletter highlighted efforts to have a central repository of information on second-language teaching established. CPF collaborated in this campaign with a number of other national organizations. In 1985 the Department of the Secretary of State for Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada launched the Canadian Language Information Network.
Articles in the national newsletter signaled the beginning of a multi-year campaign to improve FSL teacher training and postsecondary opportunities for immersion graduates to continue to improve their French. A series of regional conferences culminated in a national colloquium in March 1986. Subsequent efforts included a brief to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada in 1991.1981
FIRST MEETING WITH THE CMEC
CPF representatives met with the Liaison Committee of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.1981
FIRST SPEECH BY A FEDERAL CABINET MINISTER AT A CPF CONFERENCE
The Secretary of State for Canada addressed delegates at the national conference banquet.
CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Established the right for official language minorities to be educated in their mother tongue, but did not grant any right for children to learn their second official language.1982
FIRST SCHOOL BOARD MAILOUT
An information package of CPF materials was sent to all school boards offering immersion, provincial education departments, and faculty of education libraries.1982
LAUNCH OF THE CPF BOOK CLUB
French-language books for children were advertised in the CPF newsletter for parents to order through the national office. Over the years CPF has provided a variety of opportunities, either through the office or directly from publishers, for parents to order resources suitable for FSL learners.
BOOKLET FOR IMMERSION STUDENTS IS PUBLISHED
Co-sponsored and widely promoted by CPF, French Immersion: The Trial Balloon That Flew was published by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to encourage FI students in grades 6-9 to continue learning French.
FIRST NATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION POLL
Conducted for CPF by Gallup, the poll asked about attitudes toward children learning French. Further surveys were done for CPF in 1989 and 1992 by Environics and in 1995 and 2000 by COMPAS.1984
FIRST JOINT POLICY STATEMENT
CPF and the Fédération des Francophones hors Québec signed a statement regarding mutual cooperation in achieving their objectives and calling on governments and others to improve minority language education and FSL instruction.
FIRST VICE-REGAL PATRONS
CPF received the patronage of Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé, Governor General of Canada, and the Honourable Maurice Sauvé.1985
FIRST CPF FESTIVAL D’ART ORATOIRE
In the spring of 1985 CPF took on responsibility for hosting this national non-competitive oratorical Festival for French first- and second-language students, while the CPF chapters and branches organized Concours d’art oratoire “speak-offs.” The Festival was held each year until 1995.1985
DIRECTORY OF CORE FRENCH PROGRAMS
“Core French in Canada, Volume 1: A Survey of Programs” was a directory of school districts meeting or attempting to meet the new criteria for a successful program. This was followed by “Volume 2: A Guide to Resources,” a collection of articles about efforts by education departments and school districts to improve their programs.1985
SECOND BOOK PUBLISHED
More French, s’il vous plaît! focused on information for parents whose children were enrolled in FSL programs.1985
FIRST “FRIENDS OF CPF” NAMED
Former Commissioners of Official Languages Keith Spicer and Max Yalden as well as Ottawa educator W. Russ McGillivray were named the first Friends of Canadian Parents for French.
FIRST MULTI-MEDIA CAMPAIGN
Launch of the “Making Choices Makes a World of Difference” campaign. It included public service print ads, television spots, and radio announcements; bus cards; an information pamphlet; a speaking tour by the CPF President; and events organized by branches and local chapters.1986
FIRST INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATION
The CPF President was invited to San Diego, California, to speak to an association of parents interested in English-Spanish bilingualism. The 1998 President went to Wales to present a paper at the Fourth European Conference on Immersion Programmes, and the 2002 President addressed the Education and Life Long Learning Committee of the National Assembly of Wales. CPF has also been visited by international delegations seeking information on parental support for language learning.1986
FIRST BRIEF TO A PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
CPF leaders made a presentation to the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages, urging that federal funding support of FSL programs be continued. CPF has since appeared many times before parliamentary committees on official languages.
CPF CONSULTED RE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT
At the invitation of the Secretary of State, CPF was consulted re the drafting of a new Official Languages Act. Then, in the spring of 1988, Canadian Parents for French presented a brief to the Legislative Committee of the House of Commons regarding Bill C-72 – the proposed new Official Languages Act.1987
CPF’s 10th anniversary
There were 16,000 members across the country.1987
PRESENTATION RE THE MEECH LAKE ACCORD
CPF presented a brief to the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons re the 1987 Constitutional (Meech Lake) Accord.1987
GUIDE TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF IMMERSION PROGRAMS
“French Immersion in Canada: Policies, Regulations, Procedures & Guidelines” was a collection of information from education departments and school districts on topics ranging from advisory committees to transportation.
“RENDEZ-VOUS CANADA” YOUTH MEETINGS
The Saskatchewan branch hosted the first in a series of provincial activity-filled weekends in French for grade 7 and 8 immersion and francophone students, funded by a grant obtained by CPF.1988
NEW OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT
The new Act mandated the Minister of Canadian Heritage to “encourage and support the learning of English and French in Canada,” to “encourage and assist provincial governments to provide opportunities for everyone in Canada to learn both English and French,” and more.
“LEARNING FRENCH MATTERS” PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN1989
CPF STUDIES FSL TEACHER SHORTAGE
CPF surveyed school boards about their need for FSL teachers, reporting in the fall newsletter on the results and efforts to find a solution. A second survey, done in 2002, was the focus of that year’s State of FSL report. This has been the topic of numerous CPF articles, meetings, and other efforts over the years.1989
MEMBERS REAFFIRM THE NAME “CPF”
As it was not unusual for “Canadian Parents for French” to be mistaken as a French-first-language organization, the members at the 1988 national AGM passed a resolution that a name change be considered. At the 1989 AGM, the members in attendance agreed with the subsequent recommendation to retain the name CPF.
These provided facts for use by local chapters in responding to frequently-heard claims against bilingualism and French-second-language learning.1990
THIRD BOOK PUBLISHED
The second revised edition of So You Want Your Child to Learn French! reflected advances in FSL education and research since 1979.1990
First Video launched
CPF launched its first video A Wider Vision – Elargir ses horizons.1990
SUPPORT FOR CANADIAN UNITY
CPF was the only English-speaking organization from outside Quebec to appear before the Belanger-Campeau Commission on Quebec’s Political and Constitutional Future. The President told the commissioners about the growing number of Canadians whose children were learning French as a second language because they believed in the value of French in Canada. Among many subsequent activities, CPF presented a brief to the Citizens’ Forum on Canada’s Future and appeared before the Special Joint Committee on a Renewed Canada.
LANGUAGES COMMISSIONER PRAISES CPF MEMBERS
Commissioner of Official Languages D’Iberville Fortier stated, “The energy, intelligence, and courage of CPF members have made it a movement that has been one of the greatest contributors to the future of their children and of their country.”1991
RELEASE OF STUDY ON ATTRITION/RETENTION OF IMMERSION STUDENTS
The CPF-commissioned study “Attrition/retention of students in French immersion with particular emphasis on secondary school” was released. Among follow-up activities was a series of branch conferences on “Meeting the Challenges of Secondary School French Programs” that culminated in a session at the 1993 national conference and a report with recommendations.
CPF ATTENDS CONSTITUTIONAL DISCUSSIONS
CPF leaders and official language minority leaders participated in discussion sessions with the Minister of Constitutional Affairs and the Secretary of State for Canada.1992
“LEARNING FRENCH MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE” AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
FIRST NATIONAL WRITING CONTEST
CPF co-sponsored the “Write it up!” contest for 10- to 13-year-olds in collaboration with the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers, and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers. Later national CPF contests included different age groups, extended beyond print to digital and social media, and involved teams as well as individuals.
CPF RESPONDS TO CRITICISM
The CPF President participated in a forum on French immersion, debating adamant critics of the program. This followed several years of high-profile, sometimes virulent public opposition by several individuals and organizations to immersion, CPF, and bilingualism. Throughout the 1990s, CPF responded by calmly referring to the long-standing, careful research into FSL learning.1995
NATIONAL PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
Beginning of the 1995-96 information and awareness campaign Learning English and French Opens Doors to Tomorrow, which featured the “Proud of Two Languages / Nos deux langues, notre fierté” slogan and graphic. It included a cross-Canada media tour by the President and the launch of the Proud of Two Languages video.1995
In response to changing needs and changing circumstances, CPF began a process of organizational renewal which led to the adoption of Mission, Vision, and Values Statements; a new governance model (new bylaws adopted in 1997); and improved funding from the federal government for the CPF network.1995
SECOND QUEBEC REFERENDUM RE SOVEREIGNTY
FIRST “CANADIAN EXPERIENCE”
A special session of the Encounters with Canada program at the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa was reserved for students from CPF member families.
FIRST CPF WEBSITE IS LAUNCHED1997
There were 18,000 members across the country.
CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRAISES CPF
In a letter to our President, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce wrote that CPF “is one [creative organization] that has for two decades enthusiastically worked for an increasing accessibility to French, Canada’s second most-spoken language, in schooling across the country. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce strongly endorses this special and beneficial work of CPF to enhance French language education opportunities and experiences for young Canadians of non-francophone background.”1998
PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM
CPF representatives participated in a National Symposium on Canada’s Official Languages hosted by the federal government to explore how best to advance Canada’s official languages as the 21st century approached.1998
GOVERNOR GENERAL PRAISES CPF
During a reception at Rideau Hall in honour of CPF, His Excellency the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada, stated: “CPF has changed the face of education in Canada.”
CPF PARTICIPATES IN LES JEUX DE LA FRANCOPHONIE CANADIENNE
60 children of CPF members aged 15-18 formed the only pan-Canadian francophile team to participate in sports, arts, and leadership training events at the first Les jeux de la francophonie canadienne.
MEMBERS INTRODUCED TO INTENSIVE CORE FRENCH
An article in the national newsletter explained this new approach, designed to enhance the communicative competence of core French students.2000
CPF RELEASES ITS FIRST REPORT ON THE STATE OF FSL IN CANADA
The first State of French-Second-Language Education in Canada report gave an assessment of the support systems for FSL education across Canada. The report evolved over the years to focus on research conducted by CPF into “unresolved issues.” It was last published in 2012.
“HELPING YOUR CHILD BECOME BILINGUAL”
This booklet, packed with tips and ideas to help their children become bilingual, was distributed to new and renewing CPF members.2001
THE CPF SCHOOL SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL
First published in the 2001 State of FSL report, this instrument was designed for cooperative use by principals, teachers, parents, and students to profile the strengths and weaknesses of a school’s core French or immersion program.
CPF President RECEIVES the Order of Canada
Joan Netten, PhD, CPF President 2000-02, was awarded the Order of Canada for her work as a researcher, educator, and advocate to promote and improve French-second-language education. Among many other awards received by CPF leaders, President Pat Webster (1977-78) was presented France’s Ordre national du Mérite and President Susan Purdy (1986-88) was named a patron of Rassemblement des francophones d’Amérique.
I’m learning/staying in french because…
CPF launched a multi-media promotional campaign, with ten national French first- and second-language partners.2003
National Concours d’art oratoire
CPF began a national public speaking competition for French first- and second-language senior high school students.
NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM WITH OCOL
Vision and Challenges for the 21st Century was held by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in partnership with CPF and Canadian Heritage to develop a strategy to double the number of young Canadians knowing their second official language. Then, following a series of branch stakeholder consultations, CPF hosted an FSL National Stakeholders’ Forum to share the resulting recommendations.2004
I’m teaching french because…
The promotional campaign encouraged senior high school and postsecondary students to consider a career as an FSL teacher.
CPF Receives Francophonie Prize
CPF was awarded the Prix d’excellence Lyse-Daniels 2005 by Impératif français, a French-first-language and culture advocacy group.2005
PEER TUTORING LITERACY PROGRAM
Designed by a Vancouver teacher and published and circulated by CPF, this program had student tutors in grades 5-7 working with grade 2 and 3 immersion students needing extra French reading support. A teacher coordinator was assisted by parent volunteers who helped with administration and supervision.
SURVEY OF FORMER IMMERSION STUDENTS
CPF released the findings of a survey of over 400 university students who had completed elementary immersion programs. Based on their retrospective views, the report included recommendations for encouraging students to continue studying French throughout high school and at the postsecondary level.2006
INFORMATION FOR FSL GRADUATES
CPF developed an inventory of postsecondary programs as well as academic and social supports available for FSL students wanting to pursue further studies in French.
FSL PARTNER NETWORK RECOGNIZED
The Department of Canadian Heritage officially recognized the FSL Partner Network, established as a collective voice to promote and advance FSL education in Canada. In addition to collaborating on various efforts, the network was positioned to act as a resource to the Government of Canada. Members were CPF, the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers, the Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers, French for the Future, and the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada (now Experiences Canada).2007
CAMPAIGN AIMED AT PRESCHOOL PARENTS
To increase awareness of the benefits of FSL learning, CPF developed the brochure “I want my child to be….” as well as print advertisements and the CPF Early Childhood Activity Book. The activity book was later made available in 10 international languages.2007
There were 25,000 members across the country.
POSITION STATEMENTS ANNOUNCED
CPF adopted formal position statements re equitable access to FSL programs, quality FSL programs, a range of entry points and program choices, and shared responsibility for FSL education. Previously CPF had articulated a position on national FSL proficiency testing. These were later consolidated into four statements.2008
SURVEY OF SUPERVISORS OF BILINGUAL EMPLOYEES
CPF released the results of a survey by Ipsos Reid of 500 supervisors of bilingual employees outside Quebec regarding the nature of the job market.
PROMOTIONAL VIDEO LAUNCHED
I Want to Become Bilingual Because… featured students sharing the reasons they were learning French.
CPF JOINS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER
CPF also began at this time to transition to a digital newsletter. In 2016 it launched an Instagram account.2010
IMMERSION GRAD BECOMES CPF PRESIDENT
Lisa Marie Perkins was the first French immersion graduate to be elected President of Canadian Parents for French.2010
Study of immigrant student access to and perspectives on French second language education
Release of the CPF-commissioned study “Voices of Allophone Adults and Allophone University Students: Perspectives and Experiences with French as a Second Language.”
ROUNDTABLE ON ACADEMICALLY CHALLENGED STUDENTS IN FSL PROGRAMS
Hosted by CPF, representatives from federal and provincial governments, national associations, school districts, and learning disabilities associations heard presentations by researchers and educators and then generated recommendations, which were published in the 2012 State of FSL report.
Launch of CPF Magazine
A new national magazine replaced the CPF National News.
A musical tour is launched and provides 125 workshops to over 4,725 students.
New brand for CPF!
FIRST AWARENESS BREAKFAST ON PARLIAMENT HILL
In collaboration with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, CPF hosted its first “French Second Language Awareness Breakfast on the Hill” with parliamentarians, key contacts, stakeholders, and members of the second language education community.2016
Canadian Parents for French RECEIVES THE 2016 AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PROMOTION OF LINGUISTIC DUALITY
Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser presented CPF with his 2016 award in recognition of “its exceptional work in the area of research and promotion, for providing opportunities for young Canadians to learn French in school and communities and supporting their sometimes unilingual parents, and for respecting French as an integral part of Canada.”
There were 26,000 members across the country.