Infographic: The French Presence in Ontario

The French presence in Ontario. Details in text following the infographic.


Text version: The French Presence in Ontario

  • Ontario has the largest French-speaking minority community in Canada
  • Using the Inclusive Definition of Francophone, the French-speaking population in Ontario is 622,415.
  • 11.2% of the population (1,490,390 people) can speak both English and French - 7% increase since 2011!
  • French is the mother tongue of 4% of the population (527,690 people)
  • French is the first official language of 4.1% of the population (550,600 people)


  • 979,269 children are learning French in publicly funded English-language school boards in Ontario (2015–2016)
  • 766,555 students are enrolled in core French (40.6% of eligible enrolment) (2015–2016)
  • 212,714 students are enrolled in French immersion (11.3% of eligible enrolment) (2015–2016)
  • Over 103,490 students are enrolled in French language schools (kindergarten tograde 12) in 12 school boards (2015–2016)
  • Number of French-language educational institutions: 351 elementary schools, 104 high schools
  • 21,300 students enrolled in French-language post-secondary programs (colleges, and bilingual and French-language universities) (2015–2016)

Where do Francophones live?

Most Franco-Ontarians live in the eastern part of the province, in and around Ottawa. Other main areas include northeastern Ontario (Sudbury, North Bay) and central Ontario.

Economic Regions

  • Ottawa: 42.7%
  • Kingston–Pembroke: 2.6%
  • Muskoka–Kawarthas: 0.8%
  • Toronto: 19%
  • Kitchener–Waterloo–Barrie: 3.8%
  • Hamilton–Niagara Peninsula: 4.7%
  • London: 1.5%
  • Windsor–Sarnia: 2.9%
  • Stratford–Bruce Peninsula: 0.4%
  • Northeast: 20.7%
  • Northwest: 1.1%

Where were they born?

  • In Ontario: 58%
  • Elsewhere in Canada: 25%
  • Abroad: 17%

Where were French-speaking immigrants born?

  • Africa: 37%
  • Europe: 27%
  • Asia: 20%
  • Americas: 17%


  • Newspaper: Le Droit (daily) and 16 French-language newspapers published weekly or monthly
  • Radio: 7 French-language radio stations, and Radio-Canada ICI Première and ICI Musique
  • Television: 3 French-language television stations, Télévision française de l’Ontario (TFO), ICI Radio-Canada Télé and Unis TV



  • Théâtre Action holds theatre festivals for young French-speaking Canadians at alternating sites in Sudbury and Ottawa
  • Toronto’s Cinéfranco, founded in 1997, celebrates and promotes French-language films in Ontario.


  • La Nuit sur l’étang is a popular Francophone music festival that has been held in Sudbury since 1973.


  • The Franco-Ontarian Games are held in different parts of Ontario every year and are the largest gathering of young Franco-Ontarians in the province.


  • The Festival Franco-Ontarien is a major festival for Francophones and Francophiles held in Ottawa that celebrates Franco-Ontarian culture and community.


  • The St-Albert Curd Festival has been celebrating francophone culture in Eastern Ontario since 1994.


  • Franco-Ontarian Day is held on September 25.


  • The French presence in Ontario officially dates back to 1615 with the arrival of Samuel de Champlain.
  • The Francophone population grew steadily in the 19th and early 20th centuries, mostly in eastern and northeastern Ontario as a result of the forestry, mining and railway industries.
  • The Association canadienne-française d’Éducation de l’Ontario (now called the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario) was created in 1910 to lobby for French language education rights in the province.
  • In 1913, the French newspaper Le Droit was founded.
  • The Franco-Ontarian flag was adopted in 1975.
  • TVOntario launched La Chaîne française in 1987, which became Télévision française de l’Ontario in 1995.
  • The French Language Services Act was passed in 1986, giving French legal status in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and guaranteeing the public the right to receive government services in French.
  • The Franco-Ontarian community rallied to save Monfort hospital from closure in 2002.
  • The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner was created in 2007, and in 2015, Franco-Ontarians proudly celebrated 400 years of history.
  • In 2017, the Office of Francophone Affairs became the Ministry of Francophone Affairs.
  • Bill 177, passed in 2017, recognized the bilingual character of the City of Ottawa and established the Université de l’Ontario français.



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