NEW French Language Proficiency Requirements in AEC Programs

Law 14 – An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec

Bill 96, or Law 14, was adopted by Québec’s National Assembly in May 2022. The new law brings significant amendments to the Charter of the French Language, commonly known as Bill 101.   

As of June 1, 2023, certain aspects of the new law will affect students who register in AEC programs in Cégeps.  

Law 14 puts students in Higher Education, including in AEC programs, into two categories:   

  • Certificate of Eligibility Holders; 
  • Non-Certificate of Eligibility Holders. 

Law 14 introduces a French language requirement to the certification requirements for Non-Certificate of Eligibility holders.  

What are the new requirements for non-certificate holders?


Under Law 14 Section 88.0.18, successfully admitted students who are Non-Certificate of Eligibility holders must prove that they have a level of French language proficiency before obtaining their AEC program certification. 

The Québec government has declared that Non-Certificate of Eligibility Holders must prove that they have attained a level of French oral and written comprehension consistent with the “Échelle québécoise des niveaux de compétence en français des personnes immigrantes adultes” as follows: 

Are you in an Exemption category?

Some students may be exempt from proving their level of French. Verify if you satisfy any of the exemption categories: 

  • Hold a high school diploma issued by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, for which the student received high school instruction in French;
  • Hold a high school diploma issued by the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, for which the student has received high school instruction in English and has successfully completed the compulsory subject “French as a second language” in Secondary 5;
  • Completed a Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) program in French in Québec;
  • Completed at least three years of secondary or post-secondary education in French in provinces/territories in Canada other than Québec;
  • Hold an AEC, issued by an Québec college, for a program of study in which the language of instruction for all courses was in French;
  • Have successfully completed a program of study, given in French in Québec, leading to a Diploma of College Studies or a diploma of university studies;
  • Has successfully completed, outside Québec, a program of study given in French leading to the awarding of a diploma equivalent to a diploma of college studies or a university-level diploma;
  • Has passed the Office québécois de la langue française examination for professional orders;
  • Resides or has resided on an Indian reservation, in an establishment where an Aboriginal community lives or on Category I or Category I-N land within the meaning of the Act respecting the land regime in the James Bay and New Québec territories (chapter R-13.1).

Get a sense of your level of French


The consortium of English-language Cégeps have developed a diagnostic test to help you determine your current level of French. Access the FREE test here. 

Note that you must still complete a test that is officially recognized by the government however, the results of the diagnostic test can help you decide how much additional training or how many additional courses might be needed to reach the required level of French language proficiency. 

Access French Language Training


The Government of Québec offers Francisation (French courses) that are free for immigrants and residents living in Québec. Francisation courses are offered in various locales in the province of Québec, including Ccégeps, school boards, adult education centers and more.

Dawson College, offers non-credit French courses through the Language Centre. The courses are designed according to French language standards and will help students prepare for the government-recognized French test.  

Complete a French Test recognized by the Ministry of Education


Non-certificate of Eligibility students will be required to prove their attainment of the required levels of spoken and written French through the successful completion of one of the following Ministry of Education recognized tests:

  • Test de connaissance du français pour le Québec (TCF-Québec) from France Éducation international. 
  • Test d’évaluation du français pour le Canada (TEF Canada) from the CCIP-IDF.
  • Test d’évaluation du français adapté pour le Québec (TEFAQ) from the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris Île-de-France (CCIP-IDF).
  • Dawson College is a certified TEFAQ testing center. Learn more here.
  • Test d’évaluation du français (TEF) from the CCIP-IDF.
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF) from France Éducation international.
  • Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) from France Éducation international.
  • Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) from France Éducation international.

Submitting the Certificate of French Language Attainment


If you have achieved the necessary levels of French oral and written, please submit a copy of your documents to the Dawson College Registrar’s office (room 2D.6).

This can be done while you are still studying in the program.  

If you have not completed your French language attainment, you can still submit after completing your program. Currently, there is no time restriction, but this may change in the future without notification.

Upon submission, there can be a delay of a few months before the Board of Governors meets and certifies graduates. The attestation will be mailed to you. Please ensure your mailing address is updated. 

More information?

Consult the Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ for further information on what Law 14 may mean for you.



Dawson College is a certified TEFAQ testing center.

Learn more here.


Last Modified: October 25, 2023