Early Childhood: Fostering the Vitality of Francophone Minority Communities

1. Introduction

1.1. Objectives

This report presents an overview of early childhood in Francophone communitiesFootnote 1 in order to identify key issues and opportunities. It also contains recommendations addressed to the Government of Canada, given the federal government’s commitment under Part VII of the Official Languages Act and the resulting obligations of federal institutions.

1.2. Methodology

1.2.1. Literature review

This report is based on a review of related studies, data and documents from a variety of sources, such as early childhood experts, early childhood community organizations, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, Canadian Heritage, Statistics Canada, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages.

1.2.2. Consultations

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages consulted key partners working in the field of early childhood, including the Commission nationale des parents francophones (CNPF) and the Groupe intersectoriel national en petite enfance (GRINPE).

A meeting was held in Toronto on February 10, 2016, in which the following organizations participated: the Association canadienne d’éducation de langue française; CNPF and the Francophone parents’ federations or associations of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador; the Canadian Teachers’ Federation; the Fédération canadienne des directions d’école francophone; the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française; the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law; the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada; the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones; the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie; Pluri-elles (Coalition Bambin); the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité; the Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences; and the Société Santé en français.

The testimony gathered was used to supplement the analysis and corroborate the issues identified.

1.3. Scope

In this report, “early childhood” is used to designate the preschool-age period, the age group of which may vary: for example, 0 to 4 years old or 0 to 6 years old.Footnote 2 It is a very broad concept that includes the parents’ experience, the prenatal stage and the preschool period. Initiatives that support early childhood development may include various programs and services, capacity building, research and partnerships between various interested parties (governments, community groups, parents, etc.)Footnote 3

Because the issues surrounding early childhood development are very different in English-speaking minority communities, they are not addressed in this report. Although anglicization is as important in many English-speaking rural communities in Quebec as francization is among Francophones outside of Quebec,Footnote 4 organizations representing Quebec’s English-speaking communities say that early childhood services are not a major issue for all of these communities, because the majority of them are not afraid of losing their language. The Office of the Commissioner is nonetheless continuing its discussions on early childhood development needs and concerns with representatives of Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

It should be noted that a number of Francophone communities, particularly in New Brunswick and Ontario,Footnote 5 have access to bilingual or immersion services to make up for the lack of early childhood services in French. These services are often considered problematic for Francophones because they tend to be offered in English-dominant settings. This can result in bilingual services being perceived as a form of assimilation for French-speaking children, and community groups agree that these services are not an ideal solution. Because of the differences between the issues surrounding services in French and those surrounding bilingual or immersion services, the latter are not included in this report.

2. Legal basis and interventions by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

2.1. Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In recent years, a number of cases before Canadian courts have sought to recognize the importance of minority community preschool programs,Footnote 6 since they are part of a child’s educational path and identity building.

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees primary and secondary school instruction in the language of the minority for the children of rights holders, meaning Canadian citizens “whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province.Footnote 7 Subsection 23(2) also guarantees this right to “citizens of Canada of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instructionFootnote page 7 in the language of the minority in the province or territory. Preschool programs are not explicitly mentioned in this provision.

The court cases involving preschool programs have primarily raised three issues relating to the interpretation of section 23: the constitutional status of preschool programs, how to calculate preschool spaces in order to make a comparison with majority-language schools, and the possibility of awarding remedies regarding preschool programs.

To date, there has been no consensus in the court decisions.Footnote 8 However, there has been discussion suggesting that applying section 23 to early childhood would be consistent with the intent of the constituent.Footnote 9 Regardless of whether they are recognized under section 23, preschool programs are considered by experts in the field to be important components to meet the objectives under section 23.Footnote 10 Early childhood is a significant source of children who have the right to instruction in the language of the minority, and it is important to maintain this source as a means to support the demographic, linguistic, cultural, institutional, social and community vitality of Francophone communities.

2.2. Part VII of the Official Languages Act

Part VII of the Official Languages Act sets out the federal government’s commitment to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada, to support and assist their development and to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. To meet this commitment, every federal institution has a duty to ensure that positive measures are taken to advance the equal status of both official languages in Canadian society and to promote the development and vitality of official language minority communities.

Part VII does not define what a positive measure is, nor does it specify the sectors to be targeted. As Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser pointed out in his 2010–2011 annual report, “it essentially means a measure that has a real and constructive impact on the vitality of official language [minority] communities and on the advancement towards the equality of English and French in Canadian society.Footnote 11 In the first two five-year official languages plans, federal institutions involved in early childhood development allocated investments to support this sector in Francophone communities.

In addition, under subsection 43(1)(d) of the Act, the Minister of Canadian Heritage must:

take such measures as that Minister considers appropriate to advance the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society, and … encourage and assist provincial governments to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities generally and, in particular, to offer provincial and municipal services in both English and French and to provide opportunities for members of English or French linguistic minority communities to be educated in their own language.

2.3. Interventions by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Between 2006 and 2016, Commissioner Fraser studied a variety of issues related to education, including high school and post-secondary education, as well as access to second-language instruction and to education in the language of the minority. Located at the beginning of the continuum, early childhood development is an area for positive, preventive and proactive intervention to revitalize the French language and Francophone communities.

The Office of the Commissioner’s interventions are part of an effort to encourage federal institutions to take positive measures within the meaning of Part VII of the Act to support early childhood development in Francophone communities. In 2014–2015, the Office of the Commissioner established a dialogue with key partners in the field of early childhood and began to gather information and to identify and better understand the current gaps. These interventions included meetings and discussions with representatives of several communities and federal institutions. The interventions are particularly timely, given the development of the next multi-year official languages plan, the interest in early childhood development expressed by certain parliamentarians, and other upcoming public policy changes that may have an impact on this sector and on the communities.

3. Portrait

3.1. Early childhood in Canada

Early childhood is a crucial period for the cognitive, social and emotional development of children.Footnote 12 The early years of a child’s life are also a critical period for language acquisition.Footnote 13 A growing body of research recognizes that early childhood education and care bring a wide range of benefits, including better well-being for the child, better learning outcomes, reduced poverty, increased intergenerational social mobility, more female labour market participation and better social and economic development for the society at large.Footnote 14

However, these benefits depend on the quality of the services offered. Expanding access to services without ensuring quality will not deliver positive outcomes for children or long-term productivity benefits for society. Furthermore, research has shown that poor-quality services can have long-lasting detrimental effects on child development.Footnote 14

Service quality and accessibility are all the more important because most Canadian parents work and have growing needs for services for their children. In a 2008 report on early childhood education and care services, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) pointed out that “today’s rising generation in the countries of the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] is the first in which a majority are spending a large part of their early childhoods not in their own homes with their own families but in some form of child care.Footnote 15 In 2014, nearly two million families with two parents and at least one child under 16 (69%) were dual-earner families, which was up from one million (36%) in 1976. In nearly three quarters of these families, both parents worked full time.Footnote 16

Parents’ transition to the labour market and children’s transition to structured care “can be a step forward or a step back, depending on how seriously countries take all aspects of child development in establishing child services. translationFootnote 17 However, OECD and UNICEF ranked Canada last among Western nations in terms of support for family policy and early childhood development.Footnote 18 According to OECD, child and family outcomes in Canada could be improved if affordable and quality-assured child care services were more widely available during the early years and throughout compulsory school.Footnote 19

3.2. Early childhood in Francophone communities

In minority communities, early childhood is particularly important, on both an individual and a community level. For young children, this is a key time in terms of learning the French language, building identity and developing a sense of belonging to the community. It is also a critical period for community vitality and development.

Canada’s fertility rate has declined significantly since the 1960s.Footnote 20 This phenomenon is even more pronounced among French-speaking Canadians, who transitioned from over-fertility to under-fertility.Footnote 21 In addition, immigration has become the primary driver of Canadian population growth; however, it has not benefited Francophone communities to the same extent, because immigrants settling outside of Quebec are more likely to adopt English as their first official language.Footnote 22

In Francophone communities, this demographic loss is magnified by various factors, including language transmission from French-speaking parents to their children. The data indicates that English is the official language spoken most often at home by over half of children in Francophone communities, except in New Brunswick.Footnote 23

The critical role of early childhood in fostering French language transmission, community development and attendance of French-language schools has been raised in various key documents developed by the communities since the early 2000s, including CNPF’s Partir en français plan (2003), the Table nationale en développement de la petite enfance’s (now GRINPE) Cadre national de collaboration en développement de la petite enfance francophone en contexte minoritaire au Canada (2005), the Forum des Leaders’ Plan stratégique communautaire (2008) and the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones’s Plan stratégique sur l’éducation de langue française 2012-2017.Footnote 24

In its 2011 report, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages summarized the importance of early childhood development for French-language school recruitment as follows: “Child care centres and early childhood and family centres are veritable nurseries that feed Francophone minority schools.Footnote 25 Many experts have also observed positive outcomes in terms of learning, communication, comprehension and vocabulary in young children when they start school if they have been exposed to French between the ages of 0 and 5.Footnote 26

3.3. Statistical portrait and demographic trends

The following statistical portrait presents an overview of the characteristics of young children in Francophone communities.

Despite a certain increase in absolute numbers, the proportion of Francophones has been declining for nearly half a century in Canada, outside of Quebec. Between 1951 and 2006, for example, the proportion of the population whose mother tongueFootnote 27 is French decreased from 7.3% to 4.1% (see Appendix, Table 1). The increase in the number of Canadians outside of Quebec whose mother tongue is French is primarily in populations aged 35 and over. The under-30 population has seen its numbers decrease significantly from 1971 to 2006. The number of children aged 0 to 4 whose mother tongue is French has decreased by nearly half, from close to 70,000 in 1971 to just under 35,000 in 2006.Footnote 28

Between 1986 and 2006, the estimated number of children aged 5 to 17 who were eligible for French-language education under section 23 of the Charter decreased continuously by over one quarter (see Appendix, Table 2). This is primarily due to the low birth rate, low levels of Francophone immigration and linguistic assimilation. In some communities, it is also the result of the population’s migration to other communities, regions, provinces or territories. All of these factors are major trends.Footnote 29

In 2006, of a total of 63,855 rights-holder children of preschool age (0 to 4 years), 38,725 (61%) were part of exogamous Francophone families (in which only one parent is French-speaking) and 19,145 (30%) were part of endogamous Francophone families (in which both parents are French-speaking). Just over half (32,955) spoke French as their mother tongue (see Appendix, table Table 3). Moreover, among all the children, 29,150 spoke French most often at home, and 7,595 spoke French regularly, for a total of 36,745 who spoke French at least regularly at home. A greater number of children (37,525) had knowledge of French.

According to the most recent Census data, there were 1,435,005 children under the age of 5 in Canada outside Quebec in 2011. The first official language spoken (FOLS)Footnote 30 for 34,525 (2.4%) of them was French, and the FOLS for 5,530 (0.4%) of them was both English and French (see Appendix, Table 4). In contrast, the FOLS for over one million (92.1%) of them was English, and the FOLS for 73,790 (5.1%) of them was neither English nor French. French was the mother tongue of 33,145 (2.3%) children under the age of 5; 7,730 spoke both English and French as their mother tongue; 850 spoke both French and a non-official language as their mother tongue; and 935 spoke English, French and a non-official language as their mother tongue (see Appendix, Table 5). French was the only language spoken most often at home for 31,440 (2.2%) children under the age of 5; for 5,275 children, it was English and French; for 670 children, it was French and a non-official language; and for 940 children, it was English, French and a non-official language (see Appendix, Table 6).

In summary, demographic trends show a decrease in the proportion of Canadians who speak French, in the number of young Francophones and in the number of children eligible for French-language schooling.

3.4. Types of services

In Francophone communities, there are several models for early childhood service centres, and the terminology and types of services available vary from one province or territory to another. For example, there are early childhood and family centres (CPEFs), early childhood centres, family and child support centres, and multiservice family and child resource centres. Starting at the early childhood stage, these centres welcome and assist French-speaking families by providing family services such as reading and play groups.Footnote 31 In Manitoba, for example, CPEFs provide a full range of integrated services and resources for French-speaking parents and children (from 0 to 6) in 12 schools within the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine. A satellite CPEF service is also provided in two schools.Footnote 32

Early childhood services can range from prenatal services to various educational, cultural and social services. These services may include “perinatal and preventive health services (professional speech-language pathology, nursing care, occupational therapy, etc.), centre-based, school-based or home-based child care, various family services (French-language support, literacy, cultural activities, etc.), pre-kindergarten and kindergarten school liaison, and resources for parents (toy library, play group, support group, etc.) translationFootnote 33 Even though some CPEFs also offer child care services, their primary mandate is to “provide a range of health promotion, early intervention, specialized support, prevention and support services to parents translationFootnote 34 in French.

In Canada, there are two broad categories of child care services: licensed and unlicensed. Licensed centres are regulated provincially and inspected regularly by the province to ensure compliance with provincial standards. Unlicensed child care providers, which are often home-based, are not regulated, although some home-based child care providers are also licensed and therefore regulated and monitored.Footnote 35 In minority communities, public or private child care services, as opposed to home-based care, seem to offer “greater stability in terms of educational offer and structure translationFootnote 36 and help foster a sense of identity and belonging because they are part of a community network of institutions and people.Footnote 36

3.5. Role of the federal government

Historically, the federal government’s responsibility with regard to families (including early childhood services) has been limited to transferring funds to provincial and territorial governments, which have constitutional jurisdiction in this area. Funding transfer agreements may be made in areas such a health, family support, post-secondary education and social programs. In 2000, the federal, provincial and territorial First Ministers signed an agreement “to improve and expand early childhood development supports for young children (prenatal to age six) and for their parents.Footnote 37 Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is responsible for the early childhood development initiative, in partnership with the Department of Finance Canada and the provincial and territorial governments.Footnote 37 Since 2004–2005, the Canada Social Transfer has been the primary federal-provincial-territorial transfer mechanism for early childhood development and early learning and child care.Footnote 38

The federal government can also support early childhood through specific transfers (e.g., Canada Child Benefit and Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits) or tax expenditure (e.g., the Child Tax Credit, the Child Care Expense Deduction and the Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Spaces).

Through the Social Development Partnerships Program, ESDCsupports the social infrastructure of Canadian society through investment in not-for-profit organizations to help improve life outcomes for people with disabilities, children and families, and other vulnerable populations.Footnote 39 The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) manages child health programs and provides a variety of resources for parents and future parents. PHAC’s Community Action Program for Children supports a wide range of initiatives, including “child [0–6 years] health and development activities, parenting skills programs, nutritional support and collective kitchens, physical activity programs, outreach and home visits.Footnote 40 The federal government is also responsible for programs for First Nations and Inuit, newcomers and military families. Federal government programs and spending in early childhood education and care are therefore the responsibility of a variety of federal institutions, including ESDC; the Department of Finance Canada; Health Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada; National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces; PHAC and Service Canada.Footnote 41

In 2003, as part of the 2003-2008 Action Plan for Official Languages, coordinated by Canadian Heritage, the federal government announced investments in early childhood development in Francophone communities. Specifically, funds were allocated to two national research and analysis initiatives: a child care pilot project ($10.8 million) and support for non-governmental organizations ($3.8 million).

These two initiatives, which were the responsibility of ESDC (then called Human Resources and Skills Development Canada), were renewed in the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future, with budgets of $13.5 million and $4 million, respectively. They were intended to promote awareness of the importance of early childhood development, as well as to strengthen and improve access to programs and services available in official language minority communities.

Despite the success of these two initiatives, the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities does not provide for any specific funding for early childhood development. However, it does include a new initiative under the Social Development Partnerships Program: the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities. This initiative targets a broader clientele than early childhood, including youth, seniors and vulnerable populations. It also encourages communities “to find new revenue sources to develop community-based activities that address the social and economic issues that affect them.Footnote 42

4. Issues

4.1. Language transmission and exogamy

A language can be transmitted to a child in several ways over time. It can be done by parents, by contemporaries (siblings or peers) or even by grandparents, and can take place both within and outside of the family environment.Footnote 43 Because parents make a number of choices about the language spoken in the first few months after the child’s birth, or even before,Footnote 44 the transmission of French as a mother tongue starting in early childhood is of particular importance for the development and continued vitality of Francophone communities.

In 2006, in Francophone communities, French was the official language spoken most often at home by parents of very young children in 44% of cases. Excluding New Brunswick and Ontario, this percentage was between 22% and 35% (see Appendix, Table 7). When the minority language is not widely spoken at home, child care, kindergarten and school may be the only socialization opportunities where the minority language is dominant.Footnote 45

Between 1991 and 2011, the proportion of children aged 17 and under living in an exogamous family outside Quebec increased from just under 57% to nearly 67%.Footnote 46 During this period, the transmission rate of French as a mother tongue among all families in Canada outside Quebec with at least one French-speaking parent stayed steady, at close to 50%. Among endogamous Francophone families, the transmission rate also stayed steady, at over 91%. Among exogamous families, the rate varied, depending on the family structure, but was higher when the mother was Francophone. It also grew steadily and significantly, regardless of the family structure. The transmission rate in exogamous families with a French-speaking mother increased from 23% to nearly 39% between 1991 and 2011. During the same period, it grew from 10% to 19% among exogamous families with a French-speaking father (see Appendix, table Table 8). The increase in transmission of French among exogamous families may be attributable to the knowledge of French among an increasing number of non-Francophone spouses or to an increase in the status of the French language.Footnote 47

While it is often associated with a low transmission rate, exogamy does not in and of itself prevent the transmission of the French language.Footnote 48 Language transmission may depend on various factors, including the family structure (see Appendix, Tables table 3 and table 8) and the language dynamic within the family. It is possible for a child in an exogamous family to acquire the same French skills as a child in an endogamous family “when the French-speaking parent ensures that the French language is an important part of the child’s life, when the parents want their child to achieve a high level of skill in both languages, and when the child has a feeling of belonging to both communities. translationFootnote 49

For many, the very notion of exogamy has evolved as a result of the growing diversity of Francophone communities. “Traditionally, we would see an exogamous couple with one English-speaking spouse and one French-speaking spouse. However, exogamy in 2016 also includes couples with one French-speaking spouse and one spouse whose mother tongue is neither English nor French and who may identify as an Anglophone or a Francophone. translationFootnote 50 The members of a working group that was created as part of a recent initiative by the Department of Canadian HeritageFootnote 51 on French language transmission to young Francophones in minority communities found the same thing:

In many cases, French is not the family’s first—or only—language. In the case of newcomers, for example, French may be the FOLS, but not a mother tongue. In an exogamous situation, the acquisition of French is not necessarily exclusive; it can occur at the same time as the acquisition of English or of another language. We also have to think of transmission as a long process that begins during pregnancy and continues throughout childhood and adolescence. translationFootnote 52

The working group considered several factors that contribute to increased transmission of French to young Francophones in minority communities. These factors fall under three broad categories—parents, children and youth, and the broader context of community institutions and society—and include parents’ perceptions of early childhood services in French, their access to early childhood services in French and the resources available to support their children in French.Footnote 53 Because of the issues related to language transmission and exogamy, Francophone community representatives would particularly like to have the capacity to give parents—including those from exogamous families—the resources, guidance and support they need.Footnote 44

4.2. Two levels of government and a wide range of institutions

Programs and services for young children have been developed with various systems of governance, funding streams and training for staff. As a result, families face a highly fragmented early childhood landscape of unconnected options, diverse eligibility criteria and payment requirements.Footnote 54 All provincial and territorial governments provide early childhood services, but the models vary widely from one province or territory to the next, or even within the same province, depending on the service and the provider.

During an appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, CNPF stressed the importance of adopting an integrated service model: “We don’t just want child care services; we want more than that. We would like our health services, literacy services for parents and maternity services, for example, to be attached to a Francophone community that would be near the school.Footnote 55 Models like the ones used by CPEFs are preferred by a number of community organizations because they allow for a multisector approach to programming, service delivery, and resource allocation. This is thought to have a wide variety of benefits, including better coordination of services, easy access to a wide variety of French-language services, approaches tailored to the needs and circumstances of each community, and a solid sense of the family being a part of the community.Footnote 56

The Office of the Commissioner’s consultation conducted on February 10, 2016, revealed that despite efforts to introduce an integrated model, fragmentation among two levels of government and a wide range of institutions remains a significant issue for early childhood development in Francophone communities. This fragmentation leads to disparities in service delivery, isolation of child care centres and CPEFs, a lack of accessibility and resources, and the absence of national standards. Community representatives also decried the absence of a provincial or territorial service structure or grouping of services.

Provinces establish their own guidelines for spending and programs. The organizations consulted agreed that in order to address this issue, there needs to be a national cross-sector policy on early childhood development in Francophone communities, and that the policy should be based on federal-provincial-territorial cooperation. This would require a common approach to early childhood development with consistent goals, and clearly-defined roles and responsibilities for governments and communities.Footnote 57

4.3. Lack of funding

During the study conducted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages on the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013, several witnesses from Francophone communities emphasized that French-language early childhood services suffer from a systemic shortage of resources. This means that, in many communities, “child care centres, early childhood centres and existing family and childhood centres cannot meet the rising demand for early childhood services in French.Footnote 58

During the formal consultation conducted by the Office of the Commissioner on February 10, 2016, the lack of funding emerged as the most pressing issue in terms of early childhood services. The organizations that were consulted stressed that this issue is not specific to Francophone communities—it affects the entire early childhood sector. However, the impact on Francophone communities is much more pronounced. The lack of resources puts service providers in an unstable situation and reduces communities’ ability to support parents, service providers and volunteers. The organizations also said that in the absence of sufficient public funding, services depend on limited private funding that often comes from the parents.

Under the 2003–2008 Action Plan and the 2008–2013 Roadmap, the envelopes earmarked for early childhood initiatives were $14.6 million and $17.5 million, respectively. However, these were not renewed in the 2013–2018 Roadmap. Therefore, given the broader clientele targeted by the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities, coupled with the substantial reduction in the budget envelope compared with what was allocated in the previous five-year plans, communities have received little federal funding specifically for early childhood development since 2013. In addition, the Initiative’s requirement to find external funding sources is a problem for many organizations. As a result, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada has requested federal government support to conduct an impact study in order to assess the viability of this funding strategy for Francophone communities.Footnote 59

Three additional issues arise from the lack of funding: a shortage of staff and training, insufficient infrastructure and a lack of awareness among parents and service providers.

4.3.1. Shortage of staff and training

One of the key challenges is finding French-speaking staff trained in early childhood education, especially in rural areas. According to the most recent CNPF analytical portrait, “although there have been significant improvements in terms of human resources in child care services, many communities continue to struggle with hiring French-speaking educators with sufficient training and avoiding high employee turnover. translationFootnote 60 In a 2005 study by the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation reported that some service providers were choosing “Anglophone staff … because training was preferred over language competency, so that Anglophones were placed in childcare centres supposedly for Francophones.Footnote 61

It is also difficult to retain educators in minority communities because sometimes they can be better paid in equivalent positions in majority communities. It is even more difficult in disadvantaged areas and in small child care centres, where salaries are often lower than in larger centres. In some provinces, educators are recruited by the English-language school system, which offers them better support tools and working conditions. Some provinces have set up grant programs to try to supplement educators’ earnings. In 2014, the Government of New Brunswick announced a wage top-up program for early childhood educators with recognized training.Footnote 62 During the same year, the Government of Manitoba also announced that it was “establishing a wage enhancement grant to support long-term early childhood educators for their commitment to the field and to Manitoba children.Footnote 63 These programs are not specific to Francophones and therefore do not address the pay gap between some English-language and French-language child care centres.

Furthermore, there is a lack of training for educators in minority-language educational institutions. This kind of training exists in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario, but is often given by only one provincial institution. During the Office of the Commissioner’s February 2016 consultation, participants explained that early childhood services are often provided by just one person and that parents are not always willing to have their child care centre close temporarily so that the provider can take a training course. As a result, when training is available in French, educators’ access is sometimes limited to programs offered outside of business hours. Participants also mentioned that important areas in early childhood services, such as administration and management, are often neglected.

4.3.2. Insufficient infrastructure

Some provinces do not have enough infrastructure and facilities for minority-language child care centres: the demand for child care spaces exceeds the capacity of the available infrastructure.Footnote 58 For instance, there is only one French-language child care centre in each of the territories and in Newfoundland and Labrador. In other regions, there are very few French-language child care centres. In 2012, CNPF’s analysesFootnote 64 anticipated an increase in child care centre attendance in all provinces and territories, and an increase in the number of services in the provinces. However, the waiting lists that many provinces and territories keep suggest that the number of spaces available is far from sufficient to meet demand.Footnote 65

The most affordable child care facilities in many communities are those located in schools. However, these are often rare and will be increasingly unable to meet the needs of the communities in the years to come, because of the growing demand for child care services and because many schools are not able to provide facilities.Footnote 60 In addition, child care centres located in schools are not guaranteed to be able to remain in these spaces in the long term. Some organizations that participated in the Office of the Commissioner’s February 2016 consultation reported that schools running low on space for their students sometimes ask the child care centre to relocate. The centre then has to find another site, which is often more expensive.

According to the 2006 Census, 44% of children with one French-speaking parent were enrolled in French-language pre-kindergarten, while 55% were enrolled in English-language pre-kindergarten (see Appendix, Table 9). The proportions were nearly inverse for kindergarten enrolment. This data gives rise to various hypotheses, including a lack of access to French-language pre-kindergarten or issues related to availability or quality. In the Statistics Canada Survey of the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities, the parents of children attending a majority-language school were asked whether they would have preferred their child to be registered instead in a French-language school. More than a third of parents said that they would have preferred their child to be registered in a minority-language school but did not do so because of availability, proximity or quality of the programs.Footnote 66 In the territories and in the provinces outside Quebec, among French-speaking parents whose child was enrolled in an English-language child care centre at the time of the Survey, nearly two thirds said that they would have preferred to enroll their child in a French-language child care centre.Footnote 67 For all parents with a child registered in preschool programs or activities in the language of the majority, the proportion rises to three quarters for those who would have preferred to register their child in activities in the language of the minority.Footnote 68

During the consultation conducted by the Office of the Commissioner on February 10, 2016, participants said that the lack of long-term funding puts service providers in an unstable situation and reduces accessibility to services, which results in waiting lists. Parents tend to get discouraged and send their children to English-language or bilingual child care centres. Representatives of CNPF and GRINPE said that it is important to have a system designed for Francophones and managed by Francophones in order to reduce assimilation.

4.3.3. Lack of awareness among parents and service providers

Many community representatives stressed the need to promote and raise awareness of the importance of early childhood for the future of Francophone communities.

During an appearance before the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages in 2014, Ghislaine Pilon, then Acting Executive Director of CNPF, discussed this issue by pointing out the difficulties communities are having reaching parents and parents-to-be as well as the importance of equipping them:

The first three years determine the lifelong learning path and the ability to learn another language. The choice of the language spoken at home, in the community, and at school is made in the first months after birth, and even before. Well-informed parents who fully understand their rights and the impact of their decisions on the child in terms of language, identity, culture and sense of belonging will make wise choices.Footnote 69

Some community representatives would therefore like not only to increase efforts to promote the importance of early childhood development, but also to initiate efforts earlier on in order to raise awareness among French-speaking high school students regarding the choices they have to make in the future.

Ms. Pilon also stated that “parents are the first cultural communicators for their children. It is important to be able to guide Francophone parents, as well as parents who speak English or another language, so that they can contribute together to the building of their children’s identity. Just as professionals need resources for their work, parents also need to be supported and guided.Footnote 69 Often, parents are not fully aware of the consequences of sending their children to child care in English and, later, to school in English, consequences that include limited opportunities for socialization in French and even the loss of rights-holder status when their children grow up and become parents. It is therefore important to ensure that the parents receive enough information about the resources and services available to support families and facilitate the linguistic, cultural and identity development of their children.Footnote 70 These efforts would also help increase the visibility of French-language early childhood services where they are available.Footnote 71

Community representatives also pointed out the need to make front-line service providers aware of their own contribution to the development of children’s language and identity. “Thought must be given to training professionals in education faculties about the issues surrounding teaching in a minority setting and training teachers so that they are able to transmit the cultural message that is to be conveyed to students.Footnote 72 In addition to programs offered in post-secondary institutions, some community representatives said that it would be useful to provide educators, teachers and parents with tools related to French language transmission and identity building.Footnote 73 It is also important for parents and service providers to have access to research and evidence so that they can make informed decisions.Footnote 26

There is currently little funding available to Francophone communities for ongoing activities to increase awareness among parents and service providers of the importance of early childhood development and of their role in it.Footnote 60 Many community representatives and experts in the field, including Rodrigue Landry, an Associate Researcher at the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities,Footnote 74 are calling for a national initiative to do this. During the Office of the Commissioner’s February 2016 consultation and during appearances before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages in 2012, community representatives stated that the needs in terms of raising awareness are all the more important given the increasing diversity of their clientele, including exogamous families and immigrants.Footnote 75 To avoid taking a unidirectional approach, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada also emphasized the need to create dialogue with English-speaking or immigrant parents in exogamous families.Footnote 50

5. Opportunities

A number of initiatives recently announced by the federal government provide key opportunities to address the issues presented in this report. In both the 2015 Speech from the Throne and the 2016 federal budget, the federal government announced that it would invest in social infrastructure, which could also benefit official language minority communities. The government has already pronounced its commitment to acting in a spirit of interdepartmental and intergovernmental collaboration, and to working together with parliamentarians, Canadians, civil society and various other partners.Footnote 76 There are also a number of mechanisms for cooperating with provincial and territorial governments, which could help to foster greater dialogue on early childhood development in Francophone communities.

5.1. The next official languages plan

Historically, the 2003–2008 Action Plan and the 2008–2013 Roadmap were important initiatives to channel federal government support to early childhood development in Francophone communities. The 2013–2018 Roadmap will soon come to an end; however, the federal government has announced its intention not only to develop a new multi-year official languages plan to enhance the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities, but also to consult official language minority communities in doing so. These consultations should make it possible to clearly identify the needs of Francophone communities. The next action plan will also be a valuable opportunity to plan for investments to meet the specific early childhood development needs of Francophone communities.

5.2. National early learning and child care framework

In his mandate letter to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Prime Minister asked the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos to “work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to launch consultations with provinces and territories and Indigenous Peoples on a national early learning and child care framework as a first step towards delivering affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care.Footnote 77 In the 2016 federal budget, the Government of Canada announced an investment of “$500 million in 2017–18 to support the establishment of a National Framework on Early Learning and Child Care.Footnote 78

The consultations and the development of the framework in cooperation with a wide variety of private- and public-sector partners will be ideal opportunities to identify approaches that would address the issues specific to Francophone communities.

6. Conclusion and recommendations: Future courses of action for the federal government

On the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2009, Commissioner Fraser set out his vision for different areas of activity in official language minority communities. For education, this vision was: “Not only do English- and French-speaking children and students in minority communities have the opportunity to learn in their language, starting in early childhood, in institutions governed by their communities, but the instruction they receive is also of a quality equal to that in majority communities’ institutions.Footnote 79

Federal institutions have an opportunity to support Francophone communities in the area of early childhood development through the Government of Canada’s commitment under Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development consult Francophone minority communities and provincial and territorial governments in order to ensure that the next official languages plan contains adequate, stable and sustained investment in early childhood development in these communities.

Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development ensure that Francophone minority communities are consulted as part of the development of the national framework on early learning and child care and that a Francophone component is included in the framework.

Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, in cooperation with Francophone minority communities and appropriate federal institutions such as the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Public Health Agency of Canada, set up a national awareness initiative on early childhood development for parents and service providers in these communities.

Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development report by March 31, 2018, on the measures taken to implement the above recommendations.

Appendix

Table 1: Population by mother tongue in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 1951 to 2006
Canada Total French English Non-official languages
Census year Number of people (N) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
1951 14,009,429 4,068,850 29.0 8,280,809 59.1 1,659,770 11.8
1961 18,238,247 5,123,151 28.1 10,660,534 58.5 2,454,562 13.5
1971 21,568,310 5,792,710 26.9 12,967,445 60.1 2,808,155 13.0
1981 24,083,505 6,177,795 25.7 14,784,810 61.4 3,120,900 13.0
1991 26,994,040 6,562,065 24.3 16,311,210 60.4 4,120,770 15.3
1996 28,528,130 6,711,644 23.5 17,072,432 59.8 4,744,059 16.6
2001 29,639,035 6,782,294 22.9 17,521,897 59.1 5,334,849 18.0
2006 31,241,030 6,892,230 22.1 18,055,685 57.8 6,293,110 20.1
Table 1 - B: Population by mother tongue in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 1951 to 2006
Quebec Total French English Non-official languages
Census year Number of people (N) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
1951 4,055,681 3,347,030 82.5 558,256 13.8 150,395 3.7
1961 5,259,211 4,269,689 81.2 697,402 13.3 292,120 5.6
1971 6,027,765 4,866,410 80.7 788,830 13.1 372,525 6.2
1981 6,369,055 5,254,195 82.5 693,600 10.9 421,265 6.6
1991 6,810,305 5,585,650 82.0 626,200 9.2 598,455 8.8
1996 7,045,085 5,741,438 81.5 621,858 8.8 681,790 9.7
2001 7,125,575 5,802,022 81.4 591,378 8.3 732,175 10.3
2006 7,435,900 5,916,840 79.6 607,165 8.2 911,895 12.3
Table 1-C: Population by mother tongue in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 1951 to 2006
Canada minus Quebec Total French English Non-official languages
Census year Number of people (N) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
1951 9,953,748 721,820 7.3 7,722,553 77.6 1,509,375 15.2
1961 12,979,036 853,462 6.6 9,963,132 76.8 2,162,442 16.7
1971 15,540,545 926,295 6.0 12,178,610 78.4 2,435,640 15.7
1981 17,714,450 923,605 5.2 14,091,215 79.5 2,699,635 15.2
1991 20,183,735 976,415 4.8 15,685,005 77.7 3,522,315 17.5
1996 21,483,045 970,207 4.5 16,450,574 76.6 4,062,269 18.9
2001 22,513,460 980,272 4.4 16,930,519 75.2 4,602,674 20.4
2006 23,805,125 975,390 4.1 17,448,525 73.3 5,381,210 22.6

Source:

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, “Table A.1, Population according to mother tongue, Canada, provinces, territories and Canada minus Quebec, 1951 to 2006,New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, pp. 182–185. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Table 2: Estimated number of children aged 5 to 17 eligible for French-language school in Canada minus Quebec, 1986 to 2006
Census year Number of children
1986 285,205
1991 264,200
1996 250,930
2001 237,825
2006 211,755

Source:

Rodrigue Landry, Petite enfance et autonomie culturelle : Là où le nombre le justifie…V (in French only), Moncton, Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, 2010, pp. 19 and 29. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Table 3: Number of preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) of Francophone rights holders and their distribution by linguistic and family structure variables, in Canada minus Quebec, 2006 Census
Family structure Number of children of rights holders French mother tongue French spoken most often at home French spoken regularly at home French spoken at least regularly at home Knowledge of French
Total 63,855 32,955 29,150 7,595 36,745 37,525
Endogamous Francophone 19,145 17,735 17,360 550 17,910 18,075
Exogamous (Francophone mother) 20,425 8,000 5,855 3,685 9,540 10,040
Exogamous (Francophone father) 18,300 3,255 2,400 2,770 5,170 5,270
Single mother 5,295 3,535 3,110 520 3,630 3,710
Single father 690 430 425 70 495 430

Source:

Rodrigue Landry, Enfants d’ayants droit francophones et leur répartition selon diverses variables langagières, l’âge et la structure familiale (Canada moins le Québec),Petite enfance et autonomie culturelle: Là où le nombre le justifie…V (in French only), Moncton, Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, 2010, p. 28. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Table 4: First official language spoken among the total population and preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 2011 Census
Total population Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 33,121,175 100.0 7,815,955 100.0 25,305,220 100.0
English 24,662,895 74.5 935,635 12.0 23,727,260 93.8
French 7,507,885 22.7 6,561,510 84.0 946,375 3.7
English and French 367,635 1.1 245,230 3.1 122,405 0.5
Neither English nor French 582,755 1.8 73,580 0.9 509,175 2.0
Table 4- B: First official language spoken among the total population and preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 2011 Census
Preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 1,875,660 100.0 440,655 100.0 1,435,005 100.0
English 1,366,175 72.8 45,015 10.2 1,321,160 92.1
French 398,200 21.2 363,675 82.5 34,525 2.4
English and French 14,765 0.8 9,235 2.1 5,530 0.4
Neither English nor French 96,510 5.1 22,720 5.2 73,790 5.1

Source:

Statistics Canada, 2011 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-314-XCB2011044.

Table 5: Mother tongue among the total population and preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 2011 Census
Total population Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 33,121,175 100.0 7,815,955 100.0 25,305,220 100.0
English 18,858,980 56.9 599,225 7.7 18,259,755 72.2
French 7,054,970 21.3 6,102,210 78.1 952,760 3.8
Non-official language 6,567,685 19.8 961,695 12.3 5,605,990 22.2
English and French 144,685 0.4 64,800 0.8 79,885 0.3
English and a non-official language 396,330 1.2 23,430 0.3 372,900 1.5
French and a non-official language 74,430 0.2 51,635 0.7 22,795 0.1
English, French and a non-official language 24,095 0.1 12,950 0.2 11,145 0.0
Table 5-B: Mother tongue among the total population and preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec,, 2011 Census
Preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 1,875,660 100.0 440,655 100.0 1,435,005 100.0
English 1,169,325 62.3 33,770 7.7 1,135,555 79.1
French 370,120 19.7 336,975 76.5 33,145 2.3
Non-official language 275,800 14.7 52,410 11.9 223,390 15.6
English and French 14,915 0.8 7,185 1.6 7,730 0.5
English and a non-official language 35,245 1.9 1,830 0.4 33,415 2.3
French and a non-official language 7,755 0.4 6,905 1.6 850 0.1
English, French and a non-official language 2,505 0.1 1,570 0.4 935 0.1

Source:

Statistics Canada, 2011 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-314-XCB2011043.

Table 6: Language spoken most often at home among the total population and preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 2011 Census
Total population Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 33,121,175 100.0 7,815,955 100.0 25,305,220 100.0
English 21,457,075 64.8 767,415 9.8 20,689,660 81.8
French 6,827,860 20.6 6,249,085 80.0 578,775 2.3
Non-official language 3,673,865 11.1 554,405 7.1 3,119,460 12.3
English and French 131,210 0.4 71,555 0.9 59,655 0.2
English and a non-official language 875,135 2.6 43,765 0.6 831,370 3.3
French and a non-official language 109,700 0.3 100,110 1.3 9,590 0.0
English, French and a non-official language 46,330 0.1 29,625 0.4 16,705 0.1
Table 6 - B: Language spoken most often at home among preschool-aged children (0-4 years old) in Canada, Quebec and Canada minus Quebec, 2011 Census
Preschool-aged children (0–4 years old) Canada Quebec Canada minus Quebec
Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%) Number of people (N) Percentage (%)
Total 1,875,660 100.0 440,655 100.0 1,435,005 100.0
English 1,201,415 64.1 37,640 8.5 1,163,775 81.1
French 371,710 19.8 340,270 77.2 31,440 2.2
Non-official language 230,205 12.3 43,790 9.9 186,415 13.0
English and French 10,780 0.6 5,505 1.2 5,275 0.4
English and a non-official language 48,850 2.6 2,365 0.5 46,485 3.2
French and a non-official language 10,055 0.5 9,385 2.1 670 0.0
English, French and a non-official language 2,640 0.1 1,700 0.4 940 0.1

Source:

Statistics Canada, 2011 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-314-XCB2011042.

Table 7: Official language spoken most often in the homes of children too young to talk in Francophone minority coummunities, in Canada minus Quebec, Survey on the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities, 2007
Provinces and territories (minus Quebec) English (%) French (%)
Newfoundland and Labrador/Prince Edward Island 67 33
Nova Scotia 71 29
New Brunswick 18 82
Ontario 53 47
Manitoba 65 35
Saskatchewan/Alberta 77 23
British Columbia/Territories 78 22
Total 56 44

Source:

Réal Allard, Les enfants des CLOSM du Canada et les langues officielles du pays,La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada, Rodrigue Landry (ed.), Québec City, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014, p. 29 (in French only).

Table 8: Transmission rate of French by family structure and census year in Canada minus Quebec
Family Structure 1991 (%) 1996 (%) 2001 (%) 2006 (%) 2011 (%)
Total 49.5 49.0 48.3 47.8 49.7
Exogamous (Francophone mother) 23.0 27.2 29.6 34.1 38.6
Exogamous (Francophone father) 10.1 12.3 12.9 15.0 19.3
Endogamous 91.2 91.8 91.6 91.9 91.0

Source:

Mireille Vézina and René Houle, “ French language transmission in exogamous and endogamous Francophone families in Canada, (French article with English abstract)Cahiers québécois de démographie, vol. 43, no. 2, 2014, p. 415. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Table 9: Number and percentage of children with one French-speaking parent by language of school (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten) in Canada minus Quebec, 2006
Language of school Pre-kindergarten Kindergarten
Number (N) Percentage (%) Number (N) Percentage (%)
French 4,700 44 11,480 59
English 5,960 55 7,800 40
Total 10,800 100 19,540 100

Source:

Statistics Canada, Minorities Speak Up: Results of the Survey of the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities, Table 5.3 archivé, 2007, p. 53. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

In this report, the term “Francophone communities” is used to designate Francophone minority communities.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, After the Roadmap: Toward Better Programs and Service Delivery, Ottawa, November 2012, p. 54. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, After the Roadmap: Toward Better Programs and Service Delivery, Ottawa, November 2012, pp. 54–55. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, After the Roadmap: Toward Better Programs and Service Delivery, Ottawa, November 2012, p. 5. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 14. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

Preschool refers strictly to child care and pre-kindergarten programs for students who are not yet of school age. The courts have limited themselves to studying this concept, not the broader concept of early childhood.

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 7 referrer

Footnote 8

For example, in Association des Parents ayants droit de Yellowknife et al. v Attorney General of the Northwest Territories et al., the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories concluded that “daycare is an important link in the chain of the school’s promotion and long-term survival. This contributes to the achievement of the fundamental objectives of section 23” (Association des Parents ayants droit de Yellowknife et al. v Attorney General of the Northwest Territories et al., 2012 NWTSC 43, para 786. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.). However, this decision was reversed in appeal (Northwest Territories [Attorney General] v Association des parents ayants droit de Yellowknife, 2015 NWTCA 2. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.).

Return to footnote 8 referrer

Footnote 9

See the statements of Pierre Foucher (Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, 38th Parliament, 1st Session, Issue 5 (in French only), Ottawa, February 14, 2005, evidence of Pierre Foucher, University of Moncton, p. 5:11. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.) and Michel Doucet (Michel Doucet, L’article 23 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés et la petite enfance (in French only), Ottawa, October 28, 2011. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.)

Return to footnote 9 referrer

Footnote 10

See, for example, Mark C. Power, “Les droits linguistiques en matière d’éducation,Les droits linguistiques au Canada, Michel Bastarache and Michel Doucet (eds.), 3rd edition, Yvon Blais, Cowansville, 2014, p. 687 (in French only).

Return to footnote 10 referrer

Footnote 11

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Leadership, Action, Results: Annual Report 2010–2011, Ottawa, 2011, p. 1. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 11 referrer

Footnote 12

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, French-Language Education in a Minority Setting: A Continuum from Early Childhood to the Postsecondary Level, Ottawa, June 2005, p. 30. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 12 referrer

Footnote 13

Margaret Norrie McCain, J. Fraser Mustard and Stuart Shanker, Early Years Study 2: Putting Science into Action, Council for Early Child Development, Toronto, March 2007, p. 25. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 13 referrer

Footnote 14

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, “Executive Summary,Starting Strong III: A Quality Toolbox for Early Childhood Education and Care, OECD Publishing, 2012. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 14 referrer

Footnote 15

Peter Adamson, The child care transition: A league table of early childhood education and care in economically advanced countries, Innocenti Report Card 8, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence (Italy), 2008, p. 3. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 15 referrer

Footnote 16

Sharanjit Uppal, Insights on Canadian Society: Employment patterns of families with children, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X, Ottawa, June 2015, pp. 3–4. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 16 referrer

Footnote 17

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), May 2012, p. 7. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 17 referrer

Footnote 18

Paul Kershaw et al., “The Economic Costs of Early Vulnerability in Canada,” Canadian Journal of Public Health, vol. 101 (Suppl. 3), 2010, pp. S11–S12. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 18 referrer

Footnote 19

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Doing Better for Families: Canada, OECD Publishing, 2011. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 19 referrer

Footnote 20

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 82. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 20 referrer

Footnote 21

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 22. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 21 referrer

Footnote 22

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, p. i. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 22 referrer

Footnote 23

Réal Allard, “The Children of Canada’s Official Language Minority Communities and Canada’s Official Languages,La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada, Rodrigue Landry (ed.), Québec City, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014, p. 44.

Return to footnote 23 referrer

Footnote 24

Marc L. Johnson et al., Transmission de la langue française aux jeunes francophones en situation minoritaire: Théorie et stratégie, Final report (in French only), Gatineau, Socius Research and Consulting, December 2015, p. 2. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 24 referrer

Footnote 25

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, After the Roadmap: Toward Better Programs and Service Delivery, Ottawa, November 2012, p. 58. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 25 referrer

Footnote 26

Mariette Chartier, Joanne Dumaine and Edmée Sabourin, “Vivre en français pendant la petite enfance et apprendre à l’école française, y a-t-il un lien?(in French only), Cahiers franco-canadiens de l’Ouest, vol. 23, no. 1–2, 2011, p. 39. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 26 referrer

Footnote 27

Mother tongue is the first language learned at home during childhood and still understood. It is calculated based on single responses and equal distribution of multiple responses to the Census question.

Return to footnote 27 referrer

Footnote 28

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Graph 5.6, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 98. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 28 referrer

Footnote 29

Rodrigue Landry, Petite enfance et autonomie culturelle: Là où le nombre le justifie…V (in French only), Moncton, Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, 2010, p. 19. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 29 referrer

Footnote 30

First official language spoken (FOLS) is not a question on the Census. It is calculated based on: 1) knowledge of the two official languages; 2) mother tongue; and 3) home language (i.e., language spoken most often at home).

Return to footnote 30 referrer

Footnote 31

Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise, Roadmap 2008-2013: The Fransaskois Perspective, brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, Ottawa, November 3, 2016, p. 10. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 31 referrer

Footnote 32

Coalition francophone de la petite enfance du Manitoba, À propos de nous (in French only), 2014. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 32 referrer

Footnote 33

Ronald Bisson and associates, Étude des coûts de la mise en œuvre des centres de la petite enfance et de la famille dans les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, Ottawa, September 2007, p. 8. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 33 referrer

Footnote 34

Ronald Bisson and associates, Étude des coûts de la mise en œuvre des centres de la petite enfance et de la famille dans les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, Ottawa, September 2007, p. 11. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 34 referrer

Footnote 35

David Macdonald and Martha Friendly, The Parent Trap: Child Care Fees in Canada’s Big Cities, Ottawa, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, November 2014, p. 8. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 35 referrer

Footnote 36

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 16. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 36 referrer

Footnote 37

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Early Childhood Development (ECD) Agreement, November 2015. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 37 referrer

Footnote 38

Department of Finance Canada, Federal Support for Child Care, January 2009. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 38 referrer

Footnote 39

Employment and Social Development Canada, “Backgrounder: Social Development Partnerships Program,Government of Canada helps seniors and families through new community projects across country, Ottawa, April 2016. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 39 referrer

Footnote 40

Public Health Agency of Canada, Community Action Program for Children (CAPC), November 2015. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 40 referrer

Footnote 41

Employment and Social Development Canada, Public Investments in Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada 2013, Gatineau, 2015, pp. 14–15. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 42

Canadian Heritage, Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, May 2013, p. 14. On-line version accessed on September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 43

Mireille Vézina and René Houle, “ French language transmission in exogamous and endogamous Francophone families in Canada,(French article with English abstract) Cahiers québécois de démographie, vol. 43, no. 2, 2014, pp. 401–402. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 44

Richard Vaillancourt, Commission nationale des parents francophones, notes for a presentation at the round table “L’exogamie et les minorités francophones: un fléau ou un potentiel caché?”, Annual conference of the Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning, Ottawa, April 29, 2016.

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Footnote 45

Rodrigue Landry, De la garderie aux études postsecondaires: l’éducation des enfants des CLOSM dans les établissements d’enseignement de la minorité,La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada, Rodrigue Landry (ed.), Québec City, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014, pp. 95–96 (in French only).

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Footnote 46

Mireille Vézina and René Houle, “French language transmission in exogamous and endogamous Francophone families in Canada,(French article with English abstract) Cahiers québécois de démographie, vol. 43, no. 2, 2014, p. 412. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 47

Réjean Lachapelle and Jean-François Lepage, New Canadian Perspectives – Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, 2010, p. 101. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 48

Rodrigue Landry, Petite enfance et autonomie culturelle: Là où le nombre le justifie…V (in French only), Moncton, Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, 2010, p. 22. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 49

Mariette Chartier, Joanne Dumaine and Edmée Sabourin, “Vivre en français pendant la petite enfance et apprendre à l’école française, y a-t-il un lien?(in French only), Cahiers franco-canadiens de l’Ouest, vol. 23, no. 1–2, 2011, pp. 10–11. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 50

Suzanne Bossé, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, notes for a presentation at the round table “L’exogamie et les minorités francophones: un fléau ou un potentiel caché?”, Annual conference of the Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning, Ottawa, April 29, 2016.

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Footnote 51

The working group included representatives of the Association canadienne d’éducation de langue française, Canadian Heritage, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the Commission nationale des parents francophones, the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française, the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones, the Francophone Affairs Secretariat of Manitoba, the Francophonie and Official Languages Branch of New Brunswick, the Office of Francophone Affairs of Ontario, Sainte-Anne University and the University of Ottawa.

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Footnote 52

Marc L. Johnson et al., Transmission de la langue française aux jeunes francophones en situation minoritaire: Théorie et stratégie, Final report (in French only), Gatineau, Socius Research and Consulting, December 2015, p. 5. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 53

Marc L. Johnson et al., Transmission de la langue française aux jeunes francophones en situation minoritaire: Théorie et stratégie, Final report (in French only), Gatineau, Socius Research and Consulting, December 2015, p. 10. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 54

Margaret Norrie McCain, J. Fraser Mustard and Stuart Shanker, Early Years Study 2: Putting Science into Action, prepared for the Council for Early Child Development, Toronto, March 2007, pp. 103–104. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 55

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, Proceedings of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, 41st Parliament, 1st Session, no. 017, Ottawa, December 1, 2011, evidence of Ghislaine Pilon, Commission nationale des parents francophones, p. 13. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 56

Table nationale en développement de la petite enfance francophone, National Framework for Collaboration on Early Childhood Development in Minority Francophone Communities in Canada, June 2007, p. 10. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 56 referrer

Footnote 57

Margaret Norrie McCain, J. Fraser Mustard and Stuart Shanker, Early Years Study 2: Putting Science into Action, prepared for the Council for Early Child Development, Toronto, March 2007, p. 120. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 58

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, After the Roadmap: Toward Better Programs and Service Delivery, Ottawa, November 2012, pp. 56–57. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 59

Benjamin Vachet, Le ministre Duclos annonce des fonds… sous condition (in French only), #ONfr TFO, April 18, 2016. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 60

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 19. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 61

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, French-Language Education in a Minority Setting: A Continuum from Early Childhood to the Postsecondary Level, Ottawa, June 2005, p. 65. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 62

New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Wages increased for early learning educators, Fredericton, April 14, 2014. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 63

Government of Manitoba, Family Choices: Manitoba’s Plan to Expand Early Learning and Child Care, 2014, p. 5. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 64

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 18. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 65

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 18. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016. A number of factors must be considered to understand the issues related to supply and demand, including needs that have persisted for several years and recent demographic changes. It is also important to note that in some communities, demand for services is lower than supply.

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Footnote 66

Statistics Canada, “Section 5: School attendance,Minorities Speak Up: Results of the Survey of the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities archived, 2007, p. 54. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 67

Rodrigue Landry, “De la garderie aux études postsecondaires: l’éducation des enfants des CLOSM dans les établissements d’enseignement de la minorité,La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada, Rodrigue Landry (ed.), Québec City, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014, pp. 112–113.

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Footnote 68

Rodrigue Landry, “De la garderie aux études postsecondaires: l’éducation des enfants des CLOSM dans les établissements d’enseignement de la minorité,La vie dans une langue officielle minoritaire au Canada, Rodrigue Landry (ed.), Québec City, Presses de l’Université Laval, 2014, pp. 115–116.

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Footnote 69

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, Issue 9, Ottawa, November 24, 2014, evidence of Ghislaine Pilon, Commission nationale des parents francophones, p. 9:78. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 70

Table nationale en développement de la petite enfance francophone, National Framework for Collaboration on Early Childhood Development in Minority Francophone Communities in Canada, June 2007, p. 12. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 71

Mariève Forest and Joyce Portilla, 3ème portrait analytique des services en développement de la petite enfance dans les communautés francophones et acadiennes en contexte minoritaire au Canada (in French only), prepared for the Commission nationale des parents francophones, May 2012, p. 26. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 71 referrer

Footnote 72

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, French-Language Education in a Minority Setting: A Continuum from Early Childhood to the Postsecondary Level, Ottawa, June 2005, pp. 65–66. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

Return to footnote 72 referrer

Footnote 73

Marc L. Johnson et al., Transmission de la langue française aux jeunes francophones en situation minoritaire: Théorie et stratégie, Final report (in French only), Gatineau, Socius Research and Consulting, December 2015, p. 16. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 74

As Executive Director of the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities from 2002 to 2012, Rodrigue Landry conducted “research on education in a minority setting, on early childhood, self-determination of linguistic behaviours, and the ethnolinguistic vitality in communities” (Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, History: Landry, Rodrigue. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016).

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Footnote 75

Rodrigue Landry, La petite enfance et le recrutement scolaire: une problématique négligée par la Feuille de Route, brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages, December 15, 2011, p. 9.

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Footnote 76

Prime Minister of Canada, Ministerial Mandate Letters, November 2015. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 77

Prime Minister of Canada, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Mandate Letter, November 13, 2015. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 78

Department of Finance Canada, Growing the Middle Class, Ottawa, March 22, 2016, p. 101. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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Footnote 79

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Two Official Languages, One Common Space: Annual Report 2008-2009 – 40th Anniversary of the Official Languages Act archived, Ottawa, 2009, p. 62. On-line version accessed September 1, 2016.

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