The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Proficiency in French essential to business success

As part of the annual celebration for International Francophonie Day on March 20, the Chamber published a special feature on the importance of learning French for business success in the La Presse+ application.

The feature highlights the Chamber’s “J'apprends le français” program, developed in partnership with the Government of Quebec. The program allows immigrants who own local businesses to learn French in the workplace and was launched in 2016 as a pilot project in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. It now extends to the entire metropolitan area, including the South Shore and the North Shore. A new branch has also recently been established in Sherbrooke.

Here is a four-part preview of the feature.

An innovative approach that is proving its worth

One of the big challenges for newcomers is finding the time to learn French while supporting their family. As the CCMM President and CEO Michel Leblanc points out, after a long day of work it is difficult for shopkeepers to take time off to attend classes that often take place in the evening.

Thanks to the “J’apprends le français” program, shopkeepers from immigrant backgrounds can take French lessons directly at their place of work, allowing them to develop the necessary vocabulary for running their business while also having exchanges at home with their children, who also take classes at school.

According to Mr. Leblanc, this is one of the keys to both the social and family integration of immigrants and business success.

A partnership that benefits everyone

One of the great strengths of the “J'apprends le français” program is that it takes advantage of the city’s post-secondary expertise. The program’s language pairing service provides language, translation or teaching students with concrete work experience that is conducive to their skills development.

Spending time in the field allows student mentors to deepen their understanding of the reality of newcomers and discover a new culture by participating in the daily lives of immigrants.

Lei and Annie, a close relationship

The notebook highlights the relationship between Lei Yang, a restaurant owner in Lachine, and Annie Bergeron, a program mentor. This testimony illustrates how the program’s participants benefit from the experience and develop a connection based on interest in the French language.

Responding to needs outside of Montréal

Finally, the special issue deals with the implementation of “J'apprends le français” in Sherbrooke. While not as multicultural as Montréal, the city faces similar challenges.


Read the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal’s special feature, published Wednesday, March 20, in La Presse+

Read the special feature (in french only)
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and the use of cookies to offer you content and services tailored to your interests. Learn more about our Privacy Policy