13 researchers come together to paint the portrait of British Columbia's Francophonie


On Thursday, December 8, 2022, a unique book about British Columbia’s Francophone community was launched in Vancouver. Entitled La francophonie de la Colombie-Britannique : éducation, diversité, identités [in English: The Francophone Community in British Columbia: Education, Diversity, and Identities], it is published by Les Presses de l’Université Laval. The book brings together research conducted by13 researchers at six Canadian universities, including six from Simon Fraser University.

It offers a unique portrait of B.C.’s Francophone community by discussing issues such as educational rights, educational policy, teacher training, and inclusion and diversity in French-language schools and other settings.

British Columbia’s Francophone community is both long-established and newly arrived, making it quite different from its counterparts in Acadia, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. The book’s co-editor, Geneviève Brisson, says that “by reading this book, you will discover a Francophonie that is still largely unknown but linguistically rich thanks to the diverse origins of British Columbians.”

The research touches on a range of topics, with a particular focus on education. Various facets are examined, including access to French-language schools, French teaching and learning, teacher training, and issues related to identity, inclusion and multilingualism.

Rémi Léger, the book’s other co-editor and associate professor at the department of political science at Simon Fraser University, says that “while the research is firmly based in B.C., it’s part of a larger conversation, as it touches on issues faced by Francophone communities across Canada and even globally.”

This book project stemmed from the Symposium on the Francophonie in British Columbia, an event organized to help mark the 15th anniversary of the Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) at Simon Fraser University. That event drew some thirty researchers and many experts on Francophonie to discuss the status of French in B.C. The OFFA’s director, Gino LeBlanc, came to Vancouver from New Brunswick in 2018. He quickly identified the need for a book about British Columbia's Francophone community. Gino says, “I felt it was essential to take advantage of the Symposium and the 15th anniversary of the OFFA to issue a call for collaboration on this unique book project.” He adds, “it is an honour to see this dream come true and witness the positive response from the community.”


The book, published by Les Presses de l’Université Laval as part of its Western Perspectives collection, is now available in print and digital versions.

The book allows readers to discover B.C.’s Francophone community in nine chapters, described below:

An overview of research on British Columbia’s Francophone community (Rémi Léger, Simon Fraser University, and Geneviève Brisson, Université de Sherbrooke);

Chapter 1: French-language schools and communities in British Columbia: from the colonial era to the Conseil scolaire francophone (Nicolas Kenny, Simon Fraser University);

Chapter 2: True educational equivalence for B.C.’s Francophones: a never-ending struggle? (Emmanuelle Richez, University of Windsor);

Chapter 3: Multilingualism and identity building in B.C.’s French-language schools (Trâm Lai-Tran, Simon Fraser University);

Chapter 4: Racial discourse in a French-language school in British Columbia (Sara Schroeter, University of Regina);

Chapter 5: The integration of French-speaking immigrants and refugees in Greater Vancouver: the need to build inclusive spaces (Suzanne Huot, University of British Columbia, Anne-Cécile Delaisse, University of British Columbia, Luisa Veronis, University of Ottawa, Aude-Claire Fourot, Simon Fraser University);

Chapter 6: Teaching and learning French as a second language in the face of new educational policy directions in British Columbia (Cécile Sabatier Bullock, Simon Fraser University and Rémi Léger, Simon Fraser University);

Chapter 7: Integrating Indigenous perspectives: key challenges for non-Indigenous French Immersion teachers (Isabelle Côté, Simon Fraser University);

Chapter 8: “Improvement is my lifelong quest”: nurturing a professional work culture in French teacher training (Meike Wernicke, University of British Columbia).

Purchase the book

The Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) is an administrative entity of Simon Fraser University whose mission is to coordinate, promote and support the development of programs and courses offered in French at SFU. OFFA also organizes scientific and cultural activities for the community to promote a plural and inclusive Francophonie.

On the photo were present (from left to right):

Top row: Nicolas Kenny (Simon Fraser University), Gino LeBlanc (Simon Fraser University), Geneviève Brisson (Université de Sherbrooke)
Middle row: Suzanne Huot (University of British Columbia), Isabelle Côté (Simon Fraser University), Meike Wenicke (University of British Columbia), Trâm Lai-Tran, Simon Fraser University), Aude-Claire Fourot (Simon Fraser University)
Bottom row: Anne-Cécile Delaisse (University of British Columbia), Rémi Léger (Simon Fraser University), Françoise Thibault (book cover artist)

Anne Marie Gagné
Communications, Marketing and Recruitment Coordinator,
Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA)