ARCHIVED - 2. Overview of the Halifax Francophone Community

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2.1  Population

2.1.1  History

Halifax today covers what was long Mi’kmaq territory. In this area, then known as Chebucto (Large Port), the British Crown established a military settlement in 1749.

Halifax Acadians and Francophones began to organize in 1903 with the foundation of the Alliance française, a social and cultural association. In search of employment, they gradually began to settle in Halifax, especially during the two World Wars, and establish local and provincial organizations. In the 1990s, Halifax and its suburbs, Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville, were amalgamated. Today they make up the Halifax Regional Municipality.

2.1.2  Demographics

In 2001, the Halifax metropolitan region had a population of 355,945 with around 10,200 having French as the first official language spoken3. This represents an increase of nearly 6% from the previous census. In 1996 and 2001, Halifax Francophones accounted for slightly less than 3% of the total population for the region4. However, the Halifax metropolitan region has the highest concentration of French-speaking residents in Nova Scotia.

2.1.3  Language

As with other official language communities, maintaining their language is a challenge for Halifax Francophones. The Language Continuity Index that compares persons speaking French at home (4,069) with those for whom French is their mother tongue (10,743) was 0.38 for Halifax in 2001, a slight improvement over 1996. Almost all of these Francophones are bilingual (98.1%).

2.1.4  Age

The Halifax Francophone population tends to be aging: youth (0 to 14) make up 9.7% of the community, while seniors (65 and older) account for 12.4%. This is an unfavourable situation when compared to the Anglophone majority in the region.

2.1.5  Origins

While a large number of Halifax Francophones are originally from other provinces, relatively few come from the international Francophone community. Fifty-seven percent of the Halifax Francophone population were born outside Nova Scotia. This percentage is high compared with the Anglophone majority, or even other Canadian official language communities. Moreover, 7.1% of Halifax Francophones were born outside Canada, which is virtually the same as for the Anglophone majority.

2.1.6  Socioeconomic Conditions

Francophones in the Halifax region earn slightly higher average incomes than the Anglophone majority. Furthermore, both communities essentially have the same level of higher education (university degree).

2.2  Organizational Capacity

Around 25 community organizations serve Francophones in the Halifax metropolitan region. Even though it is not a federative or umbrella organization per se, the Conseil communautaire du Grand-Havre (CCGH) plays a leadership role in the overall development of the community. Moreover, the presence of many provincial organizations makes Halifax a hub for the province’s Francophone community. The following table shows the Francophone community organizations that have their headquarters or main activities in the metropolitan region.

Francophone community organizations in Halifax

Seniors and women

  • Fédération des femmes acadiennes de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Regroupement des aînées et aînés de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Arts and culture

  • Conseil culturel acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Les voix d'Acadie Choir
  • Société Grou Tyme

Councils, commissions and economic development committees

  • Association métropolitaine pour l'établissement des immigrants
  • Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Parish councils and social clubs

  • Club Richelieu
  • Mission Sainte-Famille


  • Alliance française d’Halifax-Dartmouth
  • Canadian Parents for French – Nova Scotia
  • Conseil scolaire acadien provincial
  • Fédération des parents acadiens de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Société La garderie le petit voilier
  • Training Centre: Université Sainte-Anne

Museum management

  • Acadian House Museum / L’Acadie de Chezzetcook


  • Conseil jeunesse provincial
  • Canada World Youth

Communications and technology organizations

  • Radio-Halifax-Métro
  • Site P@C – Université Sainte-Anne

Community development organizations

  • Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Conseil communautaire du Grand-Havre
  • Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Health organization

  • Réseau Santé Nouvelle-Écosse


2.3.  Best Practices by Target Sectors

In the course of the study, the task force attempted to identify some best practices that help enhance the vitality of the Halifax Francophone community in the four sectors selected. This section completes the overview of the Halifax Francophone community with a list of outstanding best practices.

2.3.1.  Community Governance

  • The Conseil communautaire du Grand-Havre (CCGH) organizes an annual event to acknowledge community volunteers. During this event, the Community Volunteer of the Year prize is awarded. The CCGH also pays tribute to its community heroes.

  • The Conseil communautaire du Grand-Havre offers ongoing support to community organizations. It does so through various means, such as room rentals at reduced rates, postal services, logistical and promotional support, and a large number of cooperative activities.

  • The Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse schedules a best practices coffee break during its annual general meetings. This activity enables participants to get together and discuss common challenges. Some of the topics discussed include seeking diversified funding sources, volunteer recruitment, youth exodus and French language promotion.

2.3.2  Health Care

  • Halifax has a regional committee of the Réseau Santé Nouvelle-Écosse.

  • The Réseau Santé Nouvelle-Écosse sets up a Nova Scotia directory of French health care providers in partnership with the Nova Scotia Department of Health. Posted on the Department’s Web site, the directory was developed to give Nova Scotia Acadians and Francophones easier access to health care Services in French. Useful information about the Halifax region can also be found on the Web site.

  • In October 2006, the IWK Health Centre launched a new Web site with information in French for the first time in its history. Better access to information in French enhances communications between the institution and Halifax Francophone families.

2.3.3  Immigration

  • Himself an immigrant, the Assistant Director General of the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse is also responsible for French immigration issues within the organization.

  • Nova Scotia’s immigration strategy states that the Nova Scotia Acadian and Francophone community is a partner for immigration issues and will be consulted as the strategy is implemented.

2.3.4  Access to Government Services

  • The Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre (Halifax and Shearwater) offers a full range of programs and services to promote a healthy lifestyle for all those who share the unique experience of military life. Personal development, community orientation, youth development and parenting support are some of the programs the Centre offers.


3 The following data covers Census Division 9 (Halifax riding) and is taken from Highlights: Profiles of Official Language Minority Communities.

4 Also see Profil communautaire 2005 – Communauté acadienne et francophone de la région métropolitaine d’Halifax.

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