The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

The J’apprends le français program has been suspended until further notice. For any assistance related to your French learning process, we invite you to consult the website of the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration by clicking here.

J’apprends le français: shopkeeper-student language pairing

“J’apprends le français” is an innovative shopkeeper-student language pairing program designed to improve the language skills of small business owners and employees right at work.

The program was launched in 2016 and implemented in six boroughs of Montréal: Côte-des-Neiges, Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Ville-Marie, LaSalle, Lachine and Saint-Laurent. It brought together five partner universities and gave impressive results. In 2019, more than 900 participating shopkeepers were paired with language tutors.

Free workshops adapted to the needs of shopkeepers

Once the match is made, the student visits the shopkeeper for two hours a week to offer French conversation sessions.

The purpose of this approach is to develop the language skills of shopkeepers so that they can effectively serve customers in French. In addition, the program offers a personalized approach. Workshops are adapted to the situation of each shopkeeper, allowing him or her to integrate French language learning more easily while also maintaining the productivity of their establishment.

Involving the community in the learning process

Customers of participating businesses and local residents are encouraged to actively support participants in their French learning. Highly visible posters at the door, inside shops, and in the immediate environment display the message “J’apprends le français – encouragez-moi! Parlez-moi lentement, apprenez-moi un nouveau mot!” (“I’m learning French, encourage me! Talk to me slowly, teach me a new word.”)

By involving everyone in the learner's environment, the program has the potential to improve customer service while creating lasting and friendly relationships in the community.


In October 2019, the J’apprends le français program won the "Prix du 3-Juillet-1608", awarded by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française to an organization that has distinguished itself in its efforts to promote the French language and culture in North America.

In 2018, the program received the "Prix de l'innovation en francisation," awarded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications as part of the Fonds de promotion et de valorisation de la langue française. It also received the "Mérites en francisation des personnes immigrantes" award from the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion.


How to learn French as an owner of a very small business

Xin Lee, owner of the Marché bon fruit convenience store in Côte-des-Neiges, and his mentor, Amélia Manolescu, a student at Université de Montréal.

Study business French at your workplace

Franklin Orlanda, an employee at Meuble Cité, is learning from his French mentor, Joana Godran, a student at Université de Montréal.

Overcoming shyness and seizing every opportunity to practice business French

Navid is the owner of Imprimerie Victoria, a business that has been located on Victoria Street for several years. He does not understand French very well and did not speak the language until Geneviève, a student at Université de Montréal, taught him.

Speaking French at work “is good for my business!”

Iqbal is the owner of Voyage National, a travel agency located in Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal. He attends a French class at his workplace as part of the project.

Jumelage linguistique : un programme profitable pour la communauté

Découvrez en quoi le programme de jumelage linguistique de la Chambre a un impact positif sur les communautés où il est implanté.

In the News

Une initiative pour apprendre le français aux commerçants allophones, 20 mars 2019

Les jumelages linguistiques pour commerçants s'étendent aux banlieues
Les affaires, le 1er mars 2019

Working knowledge: Quebec expands on-the-job French lessons for newcomers
The Globe and mail, le 18 février 2019

Apprendre le français en milieu de travail
Le Devoir, le 24 décembre 2018

La francisation en entreprise, plus facile à dire qu’à faire, le 11 novembre 2018

Francisation: cours adaptés pour les commerçants
La Tribune, 30 octobre 2018

Du jumelage pour enseigner le français aux commerçants de Sherbrooke
Radio-Canada Estrie, 29 octobre 2018

Cours de français: des commerçants jumelés à des étudiantes
Radio 107.7 Estrie

La CCMM lance une offensive d’affichage urbain pour le programme «J’apprends le français»
Grenier, November 29, 2018

Ils veulent continuer à apprendre le français
Journal de Montréal, April 28, 2017

Jumelage linguistique à Côte-des-Neiges
Journal Mé, March 30, 2017

Apprendre le français en travaillant, March 27, 2017

Des immigrants apprennent le français sur le lieu de travail
Journal de Montréal, 16 janvier 2017

La CCMM lance une offensive d’affichage urbain pour le programme «J’apprends le français»
Journal de Montréal, 16 janvier 2017

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