French Courses in Quebec

French Courses in Quebec

We recently received this email in from a Life in Québec reader:

I am looking for information regarding any potential programs in Quebec that would assist new residents attain French courses. My partner is originally from Quebec City and is looking to return, however; he is concerned about me and my ability or lack there of,  to speak French.  I have a University Degree and have great work experience in my field however, I am concerned about being able to find gainful employment if I cannot speak French.  Do you have any information that you would be able to pass along?

(Name, address, and contact details supplied)

Readers, if you have any helpful suggestions, please post them below.

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  1. violetfly
    violetfly 15 April, 2013, 16:58

    Hi there, your partner is right to be concerned. No matter how good your degree or how impressive your work experience, it will be virtually impossible for you to find work in your field if you don’t speak a competent amount of French.

    You don’t say what field you are in – sometimes employers in IT make exceptions and try to provide you with French lessons on the job – but that’s mainly for positions that are in high demand.

    If you work in a field that requires you to be in a professional order, you will have to pass a written and oral French test in order to be allowed to practice here. Written French is very hard and I have heard many stories of how impossible it is to pass these tests from those who actively speak the language, so be prepared to work very very hard, and possibly fail nonetheless. You are only given a set amount of time (3 or 4 years, for example) to pass. and if you don’t, you can’t practice.

    You should also be aware that legally, French is the language of work in Quebec. So you would be expected in most cases to conduct your entire day, fill out all your reports, and perform all your duties in French.

    But are there French courses? You don’t say whether you are coming from another country or not. New immigrants do get access to free French courses, though they must wait a certain period and I am told the courses tend to be too basic to actually bring people to a level that most employers are looking for. Canadians have to pay.

    Laval University also offeres French courses. I’ve heard Pheonix’s classes are better, though. You might also consider getting in touch with VEQ (Voice of English Quebec) which helps direct newcomers to these services.

  2. decallieres
    decallieres 15 April, 2013, 22:35

    Speaking as an English immigrant living in Québec, I would say that your first priority should be to learn French.

    Download the interactive PDF from this site,
    It has lots of details about francisation courses. If you are a Canadian citizen, Emploi Québec may pay you to do a francisation course in addition to paying your tuition fees. If you are a Permanent Resident, they may just pay the tuition fees.

    The PDF has links to many organisations that help Anlgophones in Québec, whether they are immigrants or migrants from other provinces. I can personally recommend:
    Le Centre du Phénix (for Francisation)
    The Voice of English-Speaking Québec (VEQ)
    Valcartier Family Centre FORT Program

    I hope that helps.

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