Canada desperately needs more French immersion teachers as a result of immersion enrolment climbing by 41 percent between 2004-05 and 2014-15. John Cuddie of the Thames Valley School District Board says: “If we were in manufacturing I would tell our salespeople to stop selling immersion. We are running very low on inventory.”

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Wendy Carr, an associate dean of the University of British Columbia’s teacher education board, describes the shortage as “chronic”, noting that many French teachers leave for English programs as a result of the intense levels of parental scrutiny inherent in the second-language programs.  “All parents care about their child’s education,” she says. “However, I think there’s a particular additional attention paid to French immersion.”

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Qualifications of French immersion teachers are also becoming a concern, with many obtaining online training but not being able to speak conversationally during their interviews.

The seriousness of the issue has caused the Waterloo Region District School Board to formally ask the province of Ontario to intervene. While Ontario’s Education Minister Mitzie Hunter has stated that she is currently in the process of addressing the problems associated with teacher supply, no additional details have been provided. 

 

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