Building my life in French in Canada: From pre-arrival to citizenship in Canada

Francophone Immigration (outside Quebec)

From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Live in French in Canada

Building my life in French in Canada

Transcript: “Building my life in French in Canada”

Video length: 9:26 minutes

Lively music is heard in the background. We see a slow-motion image of a husband and wife sitting on a couch in their living room with their three young children. They smile as they look at the camera. The shot changes. Two of the young children are looking at the camera. Then we move to a close-up of the father, who is smiling. He is very happy.

Albert Safeut (speaking French): When I arrived at the airport, the immigration officer greeted us by saying “Welcome home”.

We then move to a shot of a father accompanied by his daughter and young son, who approach a judge and shake hands. We are at an official ceremony. Then we see the father and two of his children posing with the judge and a soldier, proud to have been received as Canadian citizens.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French): I have never regretted my decision to come to Canada.

We move to a black sign with the same music in the background.

Text displayed: “Every year, thousands of Francophones immigrate to Canada and settle in French-speaking communities outside Quebec. Throughout their journey, many Francophones organizations across Canada support and encourage them in planning their new lives. Here are testimonials from a few of them.”

Then we move to a fuzzy image of a city located on the waterfront. A text accompanied by a maple leaf appears in animation.

Text displayed: “Building my life in French in Canada”.

This is followed by an aerial image of the city of Winnipeg. We see skyscrapers. The same music continues in the background.

On the image of the city, we read the following text: “After 14 hours in the air, Hamza and his family experience the first hours of their new life in Canada.”

First we see a man standing and smiling at the camera. Then we see him with his wife and three children. The man introduces himself.

Text displayed: “Hamza Kadri, Native of Algeria”.

Hamza Kadri (speaking French): My name is Hamza Kadri. I am Algerian by birth, and I am going to settle here in Winnipeg.

Next we see images outside a building with flags, including the Canadian flag, flying in the wind. We are outdoors; it’s winter. We see a building with a sign that reads “Accueil francophone”. Then we are outside the Winnipeg airport, a man is walking toward the door. We see suitcases turning on a carousel at the airport. We then see a close-up of a sign indicating international arrivals. We move to a wide shot of Hamza Kadri and his family, who are coming down an escalator. Next we see a man waiting inside the airport and holding a small sign that reads “FAMILLE KHADRI”. The father takes his daughter in his arms and looks toward the man. He walks over to him and shakes his hand.

Hamza Kadri (speaking French): I found out about the Francophone immigration program in Manitoba at Destination Canada, in Paris. To properly prepare, I contacted a lot of organizations here in Winnipeg, and we were able to come up with a well-defined settlement plan.

The father then takes turns introducing his children to the man who welcomed them. The man shakes the little boy’s hand and welcomes him.

Employee from accueil francophone (speaking French): Welcome to Canada.

Hamza Kadri (speaking French): Yes.

Employee from accueil francophone (speaking French): Good day, young man.

The father speaks directly to the camera. Then, back at the airport, the man who welcomed them gives the father a file containing documents. We see the mother holding her tired little girl in her arms. The same girl puts her bag on the luggage cart. Next, we are outside the airport, near the parking lot. It’s nighttime. The man pushes the cart holding the family’s suitcases. We then move to a house where a woman welcomes the family.

Hamza Kadri (speaking French): It was a truly marvellous feeling, the feeling of my new life that was going to begin that night here in Canada. All of my family are very happy to be here.

We come back to a close-up of the father, smiling.

Hamza Kadri (speaking French): Looks like “we’re going to make it, we’re going to make it”.

The music ends.

Now we move on to cheerful music that plays in the background throughout this next testimonial. We see an aerial view of the city of Vancouver. We see skyscrapers on the waterfront.

Text displayed: “Now settled for a few months in Vancouver, Marina takes advantage of settlement services to help her discover the city and familiarize herself with her new environment.”

The music continues. We see a woman walking outside and then entering a building.

A sign reads: “Programme d'intégration francophone de la Colombie-Britannique”. Once we are closer to the door, a sign at the entrance reads: “Maison de la francophonie”.

A woman looks out, smiling. She’s speaking to the camera.

Text displayed: “Marina Moussounda Mouity, Native of Gabon”.

We then move to a road sign outside that reads: “99 B.C. North”.

Marina (speaking French): My name is Marina Moussounda Mouity. I am from Gabon and I’ve been living in Vancouver for 3 months now.

Now we see Marina walking down a corridor. She meets someone who smiles at her.

Marina (speaking French): I have used the services of the FFCB (Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique), because they are free, and it has helped a lot with my integration.

She arrives at a door that opens, and a man welcomes her by shaking her hand.

Employee from la maison francophone (speaking French): Good day.

Marina (speaking French): How do you do?

Employee from la maison francophone (speaking French): Very well. Welcome.

Marina (speaking French): Thank you.

Marina is now walking outside, accompanied by the man who welcomed her. It’s clear that the man is helping to familiarize her with the city. He points his finger in one direction. Next we see them in front of an automated banking machine. Marina inserts her bank card and takes out a ticket. We see them both talking and then heading for the subway. Then we see a subway train arriving. Next we see Marina and the man talking as they come out of a subway train and then we see them walking and talking on the sidewalk.

Marina (speaking French): The first week, they helped me get a bank card and a transit card. They helped me look for housing and a job. They gave me a lot of encouragement to get out and meet people, the people in my community, even to meet Anglophones, because that is the only way I will easily socialize and integrate.

Marina speaks directly to the camera. Then we see the man as he leaves Marina in front of an escalator in the subway, where he says goodbye. Marina stands alone in a subway train. We see her sitting in the train and looking out of the window.

Marina (speaking French): In fact, integration is not all that difficult. They gave me self-confidence: I feel more autonomous, more confident.

The music ends.

We hear different background music, which is a little softer, as a new testimonial begins. We have a view of a government building in Ottawa. Flags of each province fly in the wind.

Text displayed: “After just over 2 years in Ottawa, the parents of young Deco Fidèle are proud to see their son succeeding and blossoming in school.”

Next we see the inside of a house. It’s morning, breakfast time. Three young boys are sitting at a table. Their mother serves them milk. One of the boys drinks his milk while another eats his cereal. The mother comes to pick up the dishes on the table.

Then we see a man sitting in a chair at home; he is smiling.

Text displayed: “Salvator Havyarimana, Native of Burundi”.

The man faces the camera. We switch to a family photo on the wall. Deco Fidèle, a young boy, puts on his coat and prepares to leave for school.

Salvator Havyarimana (speaking French): My name is Salvator Havyarimana. I am from Burundi. I have been living here in Ottawa for 2 and a half years. I am Deco’s father.

We then see young Deco Fidèle tying his shoes. Next we see him coming out of the house. It’s a sunny winter day and snow is on the ground. We see the boy walking and then arriving at the school entrance, accompanied by a friend. They open the door and go in.

Salvator Havyarimana (speaking French): There are services that welcome children, give them guidance and see that they are monitored.

We see Deco Fidèle with a settlement worker and the school principal in a hallway. All three laugh and seem to be in good spirits. Mr. Pierre, the settlement worker, speaks to the young Deco Fidèle.

Salvator Havyarimana (speaking French): These settlement workers welcome them upon their arrival and as a result, even the child has no fear, no apprehension.

We move to a close-up of the young boy, who looks at the camera and smiles. We see him sitting down and then see him entering the classroom with a friend. The two boys sit at their desks, side-by-side. Their teacher joins them and talks to them.

Text displayed: “Deco Fidèle Havyarimana”.

Deco Fidèle Havyarimana (speaking French): He had me visit the school; he took me to my classroom, he introduced my teachers, he really helped me.

We return to a hallway with the settlement worker and the young Deco Fidèle. They walk and talk in the school. Then we come back into the living room with the father, who addresses the camera again.

Salvator Havyarimana (speaking French): What I really appreciate is that they keep an eye on the child and make sure that the child integrates.

We’re back in the classroom. Deco Fidèle and his friend are having fun shaking hands in some sort of game. They laugh a lot. A school book is open on a desk. The two friends study together, then discuss and take notes. We come back to finish with the father.

Salvator Havyarimana (speaking French): I find that today Deco is perfectly integrated, he is so happy now in school, and he enjoys helping newcomers integrate as well.

The music ends.

As we move to a new testimonial, more upbeat background music plays. In the distance, we see the city of Vancouver. We see skyscrapers on the waterfront.

Text displayed: “To better face the daily challenges of her new life and speed up her integration in the Vancouver labour market, Magali has decided to take some English courses.”

The music continues. We see another image of Vancouver on the waterfront. It’s a beautiful day. A woman appears, smiling.

Text displayed: “Magali Perreard, Native of France”.

Magali Perreard (speaking French): My name is Magali Perreard. I am French, and now I live in Vancouver.

We see is a sidewalk sign that reads: “Collège Éducacentre. Free LINC Settlement Services”. Then, a poster on a wall, which reads: “Collège Éducacentre”.

Magali Perreard (speaking French): I heard about the LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) courses offered by the college, and I enrolled in one because it was in French. Not being a native English speaker, that seemed like a good option to me.

A woman stands in a classroom, then writes on a whiteboard. She’s the teacher. On the table, sheets reading “Collège Éducacentre” are laid out on a table. We then see Magali holding the sheets. The teacher is next to her. Next we move to the teacher in action as she speaks to her students. Then we see Magali sitting in class and talking to colleagues. In a series of shots, the teacher addresses her students, Magali listens in class and students read the newspapers. Then we see Magali coming out of the classroom.

Magali Perreard (speaking French): The LINC courses involve speaking English and using the language for different themes, everything to do with health or laws.

Next, Magali is outside with her classmates. They walk along the street together until they arrive in front of the People’s Law School building. They go up the steps to the entrance. In a classroom, a woman stands at the front gives a presentation to a group of students. Magali sits and listens to the presentation, taking notes. The other women are listening.

Magali Perreard (speaking French): For example, today we went to the People’s Law School, which is in line with this month’s theme, which is to see a little of everything to do with law in different fields.

Magali’s friend comes out of the People’s Law School. We see Magali and her friend walking outside with brochures in their hands. Then we’re back in class. Magali is sitting with a friend. All the students are gathered in a circle. The teacher addresses the group. We then see Magali taking notes, while other women are listening attentively. Next we see Magali speaking in front of the group. The testimonial ends with Magali speaking directly to the camera.

Magali Perreard (speaking French): Also, I think that it is not just language courses, it is also a connection and meeting people. I also took some LINC courses on work, and that gave me lots of tips on writing résumés and cover letters for interviews, and now I have a job. So that is it, there is no question, it has been a big help.

The music ends.

A new testimonial begins. We hear music that’s cheerful and lively. We see an aerial image of the city of Halifax in the distance. In the foreground, we see water with a ferry heading toward the city and its skyscrapers.

Text displayed: “Despite the initial obstacles she had to overcome, Laura was able to adapt so as to quickly enter the Halifax labour market.”

Next is a series of images of the city of Halifax: waterfront towers and buildings under construction with cranes. Then we see a young woman walking on the sidewalk in our direction. It’s winter and we can hear the sounds of traffic. The young woman speaks directly to the camera, with a smile.

Text displayed: “Laura Huynh Lê, Native of Belgium”.

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): My name is Laura Huynh Lê. I am a native of Belgium and now I am in Halifax.

Now we see the young woman walking outside. She enters a building, takes the elevator, exits and walks along a corridor to a door with a sign reading: “Le Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse”.

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): Coming here I encountered various difficulties. The biggest one was being able to compete with Anglophones in the job market. To find a job I had to turn to certain French-language services.

The young woman is greeted by a man. They introduce themselves and shake hands. He invites her to follow him into a meeting room.

Employee from Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (speaking French): Hello, how are you?

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): Hello.

EMPLOYEE FROM Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse (speaking French): My name is Bruno, delighted to meet you.

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): Likewise.

We see them next in the meeting room. Laura takes off her coat and toque. She sits with a pen in her hand. The man gives her brochures and explains them to her. We can see Laura’s résumé on a table in front of them. The man then explains something to Laura about her résumé. She takes notes on a pad of paper. She listens and nods, indicating that she understands. Then Laura speaks to the camera again.

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): I was able to speak in my native language about my problems, and really communicate and receive all information to my full potential. They really helped me understand how to develop my résumé. I also went through a hiring interview simulation, to show me the kind of questions that are going to be asked. That really gave me the self-confidence to apply, to believe I was prepared to face a Canadian employer.

We’re back in the conference room. Laura and the man stand up at the same time and shake hands. The interview is over. Laura says thank you and, smiling, addresses the camera once more.

Laura Huynh Lê (speaking French): Of course, the prospect of entering the job market was a little scary all the same, but I wanted to meet the challenge, and I succeeded here.

The music ends.

At the start of a new story, we hear music that’s very energetic and lively. We see an aerial image of the city of Toronto and its skyscrapers, with Lake Ontario in the foreground.

Text displayed: “Settled in Toronto for 2 years, Albert and his family are now perfectly integrated in their host community. This evening they are participating in a major celebration of Black History Month”.

The camera shows us high-rise residential buildings. A man smiles at the camera.

Text displayed: “Albert Safeut, Native of Cameroon”.

The man is sitting in his living room with his wife and three young children — two boys and a girl. We see the three children looking at the camera, the one in the middle making a peace sign with his fingers. The images are all in slow motion.

Albert Safeut (speaking French): My name is Albert, and I am from Cameroon. We have been here in Canada for 2 years, to offer our children a brighter future.

The man then looks at the camera and smiles. We see his children looking at the camera, followed by his wife, and then Albert talks to the camera, with his wife sitting next to him.

Albert Safeut (speaking French): I felt at home as soon as we arrived, because when I arrived at the airport the immigration officer greeted us by saying “Welcome home”. He did not say “Welcome to Canada” but “Welcome home”, and to this day I truly feel at home.

We are now outside. Albert is walking with his son. It’s early evening, so it’s dark. Then we see the family walking outside toward a brightly lit building. It’s now evening. The family enters the building. A sign at the entrance reads: “Bienvenue. Journée de Célébration du mois de l’Histoire des Noirs”. Albert and his wife meet with some of their friends. We see several images of Albert’s friends and family embrace each other.

Albert Safeut (speaking French): I have really seen no limits to our integration. If you think you are not at home here, right away you shut yourself off, and people will not come looking for you. Seek people out, be open. That is what helped us with our integration, because I know there are other people out there too.

The images continue to scroll. Albert enters a large reception room full of large tables set with tablecloths and flowers. There are plenty of people at the tables. We see Albert sitting at a table, laughing with another guest. The camera shows us the room and participants. We then follow Albert as he walks from table to table, stopping to talk to friends. His wife is with him. We also see people dancing and celebrating. We end with Albert waving to his friends as he leaves.

Albert Safeut (speaking French): When we say we have been here for 2 years, they are surprised, they say, well, 2 years only, it went very fast. That is true, because when we left we told ourselves: we have left now, we are making this country our new country where the children will grow up. It is better to transform your living environment into something that is attractive to everyone, and to do that, you have to open up to other people.

The music ends.

We hear very upbeat music in the background of this next testimonial. It has a certain intensity, perhaps to show that the moment is important. We see an image of Winnipeg and its buildings.

Text displayed: “This is a very special day for Hamadou and his family. They have been living in Winnipeg for 6 years, and today their dream of becoming Canadian citizens is becoming a reality.”

We then see a man in front of his mirror in the bathroom. He knots his tie, adjusts it and puts on his jacket. The man’s name is Hamadou, and he looks at the camera and smiles.

Text displayed: “Hamadou Dosso, Native of France”.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French): My name is Hamadou Dosso. I was born in France and am now living in Winnipeg.

We are now in the kitchen. Hamadou gathers files and checks the documents that are laid on the table one last time. We see that his face is serious. He is looking at a document entitled: “Avis de convocation”. He’s getting ready to go to his citizenship ceremony. He turns the pages of a document slowly. We see images of people preparing for the citizenship ceremony. A young girl helps her mother with her hair, then helps her sister apply some make-up. The girl is very focused as she applies the lipstick. A little girl laughs. She already has her coat on. Next we see Hamadou’s whole family together. He is with his wife, his three daughters and his two sons. They’re all looking at the camera. Everyone is very happy.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French) I have been in Canada for 6 years. Before settling in Canada, our main life plan was above all the success of our children. Today, they are very fulfilled. My family is fulfilled, and I am proud of them.

Now we are outside. The family leaves the house and gets into the car. It’s winter. They start the car and drive along the snow-covered street. We see the whole family walking outside along the sidewalk. It’s a wonderful celebratory moment. Everyone is laughing, they are all very happy. They enter a room. Above the door are two Canadian flags. Hamadou and his family are then seen queuing with others before he hands over the documents he’d consulted in the house. He then hands them to a clerk at a counter.

Hamadou Dosso: Today is a special day for us, because my family and I have always wanted to live in Canada, so obtaining Canadian citizenship today makes this an exceptional day for me. I have never regretted my decision to come to Canada.

Next we see Hamadou signing documents. He is paying close attention. Then he takes his place with his whole family and sits down. Hamadou speaks directly to the camera. Then we see his eldest son with his older sister; they smile and talk together.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French): It is true that we have had some hard times since arriving here, but everyone has hard times. We have come through and today we do not regret coming to Canada.

All the people in the room get up at the same time. It’s clear they are following the judge’s request.

Judge: All rise.

Judge (speaking French): Please stand.

A shot from the back of the room shows all the people standing. In the centre, a judge sits and addresses the participants. Hamadou, his family and all those present raise their right hand and take an oath. The judge is seated, addressing the entire audience. Then everyone starts clapping. Hamadou applauds as his young son waves a small Canadian flag. Hamadou addresses the camera again directly.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French): Becoming a Canadian citizen is a great honour for me, because the word “Canadian” means a lot to me. I have always wanted this for my family. I have wanted us to be children of this country.

Hamadou’s family is called by the judge, who is now standing.

Not Identified (speaking French): The Dosso family.

We see the family heading toward the judge, who congratulates them. Then we see Hamadou, one of his daughters and one of his sons posing proudly with the judge and a soldier. They wear wide smiles. Hamadou holds documents and a small Canadian flag. He addresses the camera directly one last time, then we see him standing in the middle of the audience. Everyone is singing Canada’s national anthem together. The final shot shows a member of the audience waving a large Canadian flag.

Hamadou Dosso (speaking French): And I have wanted us to be people who contribute to the success of this country.

We hear the beginning of Canada’s national anthem.

Text displayed: “Building my life in French in Canada” and “For more information about settlement services in French, visit Canada.ca/francoimmigration”.

The national anthem continues as we see the brand image of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The music stops. We see the signature of the Government of Canada, the Canadian flag flying on a white background.

Every year, thousands of French-speakers immigrate to Canada and settle in Francophone communities outside Quebec. Throughout their journey, many Francophone organizations across Canada support and encourage them in planning their new life.

Services and Information

Live in a Francophone community

Benefits, opportunities, and services in French-speaking communities outside Quebec

Welcoming Francophone Communities

Find out which communities in Canada are supporting French-speaking newcomers with funding under this new pilot.

Francophone Immigration in Canada: a part of our history

Discover how Francophone immigration has contributed to Canada’s cultural richness and socio economic development

Immigrate as a skilled worker

Get additional Express Entry points for proficiency in a second official language

Study in French

Schools and institutions in Canada, French-language education, learning French as a second language

Hire a French-speaking worker

French-speaking skilled workers under Moblilité Francophone may be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Prepare for life in Canada

Find a job, get your credentials assessed, learn English and French, and what to expect when you get to Canada, financially, socially and culturally

Pre-arrival services

Get help before arriving in Canada

Find French settlement services near you

Find services in your area to help you find a job, help with daily life and help you adjust to your new community

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