Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Canadian Youth for French: two languages, one goal

Alexandre Turcotte
Director of Development
Canadian Youth for French


By bringing together Anglophones and Francophones within the same organization, Canadian Youth for French (CYF) aims to inspire a greater appreciation for French and increase the number of bilingual Canadians throughout English Canada.

A young man (Justin Morrow) making a presentation in front of students.

Justin Morrow, founder and
Executive Director of
Canadian Youth for French

Justin Morrow is living proof of the benefits of learning Canada's other official language. As such, he wanted to share his journey and lessons learned with young people about to choose a post-secondary institution. In 2009, in an effort to increase awareness of the many opportunities for linguistic experiences, Justin founded Canadian Youth for French. "Looking back on everything French has given me and on how much my life was changed during my three years of learning French in Quebec City, I felt the need to give back to the community. I wanted to share my experiences with young Anglophones across Canada so that they could learn about this incredible opportunity and take advantage of it," explained Justin, founder and Executive Director of CYF.

Having directed the CYF project since its inception, Justin recently established a board of directors with a membership that will help further the development of the organization. "Each individual on the board makes a unique contribution. In fact, the diversity of members ensures that the organization reflects the pan‑Canadian reality," he added. To learn more about the board members, visit the About section of the Canadian Youth for French (www) English Hyperlink Notice website.

This organization that wants both to inspire people and to increase the number of bilingual Canadians uses technology to reach its target audience. First, CYF is present on the Internet and in social media. Through these mediums, the organization can engage directly with youth between the ages of 18 and 35 and provide them with content such as sections on the benefits of bilingualism, a selection of testimonials and a list of available tools.

Second, CYF is developing ways to contribute to its primary activity of increasing the number of bilingual Canadians. In addition to informing people about the benefits of bilingualism, CYF went one step further and created the Discover Zone, a platform that bridges the gap between young subscribers and the language‑learning opportunities available to them across Canada. Similar to dating sites that allow users to search according to certain criteria, "the CYF Discover Zone offers users a selection of French‑Canadian experiences that correspond to their search criteria," explained Justin. In addition to the many opportunities offered by post‑secondary institutions, the Discover Zone lists forums, jobs and community events relating to linguistic discovery.

Knowing that human contact is sometimes the most effective way to send a message because people's reactions can be seen in real time, CYF has also visited high schools to make a first contact with young Anglophones who may be interested in learning French. "Going to schools and meeting youth face‑to‑face helped us learn more about young Anglophones and their reality," added Justin. Although CYF plans to maintain close ties with high schools, it is currently working on the ideal way to promote exchanges between youth and French.

This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and many initiatives have been set up to increase the number of bilingual Canadians. CYF wants to make a difference in this area. To find out how it will go about it, keep an eye on developments by visiting the Canadian Youth for French (www) English Hyperlink Notice website.