CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Bilingualism Today

History, Political Science, Social Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To determine the current relevance of the Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in Canada
Using a variety of web-based resources, students will research the history of bilingualism in Canada and will make predictions about the future of bilingualism based on their research.

Lesson Plan


The Laurendeau-Dunton Bilingual and Bicultural Commission was given the challenge of finding a way to expand the use of French within Canada. Their work resulted in a document that eventually led to Canada's adopting both English and French as official languages and promoted the use of French in government services across Canada. Efforts to make Canada bilingual have met with some success, but one could argue that there is still a long way to go. The Commission was an attempt to address the issue of separatism in Quebec; it is worth examining Canada today to determine how effective these efforts were.

The Task

Students will create a timeline showing the key events in the history of bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada. Students should include related themes and events, such as the separatist movement and government attempts to forestall Quebec's separation from Canada.

Students will then extend the timeline by adding in their predictions for Canada in the next 10 years. Students should explain, in an annotated format, how each prediction is a logical extension of their research. Students will conclude their timeline by responding to the following questions:

Did Laurendeau and Dunton's Commission change the path of Canadian history as we know it today?

To what extent has Canada become bilingual?

Have the efforts of Canadians to become bilingual affected the Quebec separatist movement?

The Process

Students will begin their research on the topic The Road to Bilingualism on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students will review the clips "Report on bilingualism is optimistic" and "Laurendeau memoirs released".  From there, students can continue to explore the rest of the topic, and any additional resources they find relevant. Students must include a Resources Cited page with their timeline.


Students will share their timelines with the class and combine them to create a master timeline. List the predictions below the timeline and keep for comparison later in the year.

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