Canada needs 10,000 teachers to address its French immersion and FSL teacher shortage

News Release

For immediate release

Ottawa, Thursday November 4, 2021. – Today, the Canadian Association for Immersion Professionals (ACPI) and the Canadian Association for Second Language Teachers (CASLT) released the results of their study to measure the state of the French immersion (FI) and French as a second language (FSL) teacher shortage.

The study suggests that nearly half (42%) of schools offering FI programs are currently experiencing a shortage of teachers for their program. This represents a shortage of between 1,000 and 1,400 full-time equivalent (FTE) FI teachers across the country. Schools with a confirmed FI teacher shortage lack 1.58 FTEs.

For other FSL programs, more than one third (36%) of schools are affected by the shortage. Of the 10,530 English-language schools in Canada, the estimated shortage of FSL teachers is between 7,000 and 8,000 FTEs. Schools with a confirmed FSL teacher shortage lack 2.51 FTEs.

In total, this represents a deficit of nearly 10,000 qualified FSL teachers to meet today’s demand. To address the growing rate of FI enrollment, it is therefore essential that we continue to invest in concrete solutions to the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining FI and FSL teachers in order to meet the country’s bilingualism goals.

“Bilingualism is increasingly valued by Canadian families and this is reflected in the continually growing popularity of French immersion programs across the country. With this momentum, it is essential to support the accessibility of French immersion programs across the country by developing solutions to alleviate the shortage of French immersion teachers. Together, let’s build a bilingual future for all Canadians through French immersion programs, the best way to contribute to bilingualism in Canada,” said Caroline Roux, President of ACPI.

“This study is an important contribution to our understanding of the scale of the challenges Canada is facing with the shortage of French-language teachers. It will help us plan for a future where all Canadian children have access to quality, sustainable French-language-learning programs. It is incumbent upon all second language education stakeholders to act strategically to address this chronic shortage,” shared Carole Bonin, President of CASLT.

In ACPI’s Canada-wide Consultation released in 2018, 70% of participants identified the shortage of qualified French immersion teachers as a major issue in the country. This finding echoed the findings of a 2015 CASLT study that identified a shortage of qualified teachers in FSL programs. It was clear that the shortage of FI and FSL teachers was real, but no one really knew the status of the situation.

In December 2020, ACPI, in collaboration with CASLT, embarked on this process to get a true picture of the shortage by turning to Socius – Research and Consulting to lead the study. Conducted with the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the study is based on a literature review, interviews, and an online survey conducted last spring. The responses represent 934 schools across all provinces and territories in Canada. This sample represents about 26% of schools offering FI, which is quite significant, but only about 5% of schools offering other types of FSL programs in Canada. The survey collected data on the FTE teachers who teach in the programs without being qualified and on the FTEs that would have been required to provide the FI and FSL classes that were requested but not offered.

– 30 –

About ACPI

The Canadian Association of Immersion Professionals (ACPI) is a professional organization with a mission to participate in the promotion and development of a bilingual Canada by bringing together immersion educators and partners from all regions of the country. The cornerstone of French immersion in Canada, ACPI orients and enriches immersion pedagogy in Canada. By offering professional development, research and networking services, it provides educators with strong support and numerous professional learning opportunities, as well as a pedagogical dialogue in French.


CASLT fosters and advances professional excellence in language teaching in Canada. It supports its members by promoting the advancement of language learning and teaching throughout Canada, creating opportunities for professional development, initiating and disseminating research, and facilitating the exchange of information and ideas among language educators.

About Socius Research and Consulting

Socius Research and Consulting offers research and evaluation, coaching, planning, facilitation, knowledge mobilization, and training services. Made up of customized teams of experts, it addresses a variety of issues in education, culture, communication, digital media, immigration, justice, health, community development, governance, and organizational planning, always with a view to innovation and social justice.

For more information:

Corinne Labelle, Marketing and Membership Coordinator – 819 664-9827