New report outlines FSL teacher recruitment strategies


Toronto, January 30, 2020 – The French as a Second Language-Ontario Labour Market Partnership has released its second report, entitled Moving Forward with Understanding Perspectives Regarding the FSL Labour Market IssueThe Phase II report describes the implementation of recommendations of the Partnership’s Phase I report from May 2018.

As the demand for French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers and programs in Ontario’s publicly funded English-language schools increases, school boards continue to be challenged to recruit, retain and support sufficient numbers of qualified FSL teachers. This issue has provided the motivation for the Partnership to collaborate and find workable solutions.

This second phase of the Partnership’s work follows from the recommendations in its earlier report, which researched the challenges in hiring, recruiting and retaining FSL teachers in Ontario. The current report describes the action plans developed regarding the recruitment, hiring, retention and professional support of FSL teachers and goes on to examine similar questions relating to Education Workers (non-teaching support staff) in FSL programs.

The work of the Partnership’s second phase falls into two broad categories: 

  • Action plans regarding FSL teacher recruitment, hiring, retention and professional support
  • Research regarding Education Workers in FSL programs and recommendations for future action.

Action Plan Highlights

  • English school boards continue to support the expansion of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) assessment tools with secondary school students to provide a common measure of French language proficiency for graduating students.
  • The development of a targeted recruitment strategy to maximize teacher candidate enrollment in FSL teacher education programs.
  • The need to facilitate board-to-board sharing of French language proficiency assessments, effective recruitment and hiring practices to streamline human resources (HR) processes, and factors supporting long-term retention of FSL teachers.
  • Development of a coordinated provincial strategy for professional learning for FSL teachers.

Pilot Projects

Associated with Phase II were six pilot projects across the province, which sought to solve the challenges related to recruitment, hiring, retention and professional support. These projects took place in Algoma District School Board (DSB)/ Near North DSB/ DSB Ontario North East, Halton DSB, Waterloo Catholic DSB, Renfrew County Catholic DSB, Greater Essex County DSB and with the Ontario Principals’ Council. More information on the pilot projects can be found on the OPSBA website.

Highlights from the Research Regarding Education Workers

  • Approximately 12% of Education Workers are able to use French at a level allowing for independent, responsive oral discussion.
  • Most Education Workers in FSL programs did not perceive their limited French skills to be a deterrent to fulfilling their job requirements.
  • Most Education Workers expressed strong interest in improving their oral French skills through professional learning opportunities.

Recommendations regarding Education Workers primarily focused on expanded professional learning opportunities to support students in FSL programs.

Given the complexity of workable solutions related to the FSL teacher supply and demand issue, OPSBA on behalf of all partners, is currently working with the Ontario government to secure funding to continue with Phase III of the initiative in 2020-21.  Phase III will allow for the expanded provincial implementation of evidence-based strategies and practices to improve this labour market issue.  

To read the full report, visit the FSL page on the OPSBA website.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

For more information:

T.J. Goertz 
Senior Communications and Policy Officer
Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
416-340-2540, ext. 112