What is Concours?
Concours d’art oratoire is a pan-Canadian French public speaking competition—an estimated 85,000 students participate annually across Canada. Participants prepare and present a 3-5 minute speech on a subject of their choosing, all en français!
The competition progresses through the following stages: 1) Students participate in their local classroom 2) Top students move on to the school district competition 3) Top students move on to the provincial competition 4) Top students in grade 12 move on to the national competition.
Different categories are set out for students in French Immersion, Core French, and Francophone students. The speeches are judged by French-speaking volunteers: from university and college professors, to teachers and native Francophones, and even French immersion graduates, many of whom have themselves competed in Concours.
2017 Concours updates coming soon!
Key 2017 Concours dates
- March 27, 2017: Online Provincial registration opens here
- April 13, 2017: Provincial registration deadline
- May 6, 2017: Provincial Competition, Simon Fraser University, Surrey Campus
- June 3rd, 2017: National Competition, Gatineau, QC
Find out more about the Concours experience in this video, made at Provincial Concours 2013!
More FAQs about Concours
Are there any travel subsidies?
In order to make it easier for students outside the lower mainland to participate in this year’s Concours d’art oratoire, we are delighted to announce a travel subsidy of up to $250 per chapter for students traveling to Concours from outside the Lower Mainland. You may use this money to cover the travel costs of one or several students. To apply, simply follow these steps: 1) The Chapter must provide the following form to each individual who will be receiving the subsidy: 2) The parent/guardian of the participant collects the receipts, fills out the form and submits it to the CHAPTER. It is then the responsibility of the Chapter to collect from all relevant individuals, and submit the subsidy form and scanned receipts to the CPF office online here: You must submit within 30 days of the event. 3) Chapters receive the deposit through their account from the BC/Yukon Branch office. The Chapter then distributes the funds accordintly. Chapters are eligible to receive up to $250 for the receipts provided, based on fund availability. Travel costs may include air, train, bus, and ferry tickets, as well as gas and mileage (calculated at the rate of $.50 per kilometer). Accommodation for one night may also be included. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. More questions? Contact us
All non-lower mainland BC & Yukon chapters can submit a Concours Subsidy Form to CPF- BC & Yukon. Forms will be accepted in the order they are received to a maximum of 15 forms. Deadline for Submissions is May 28, 2012. The procedure is as follows:Procedure1. Each applicant fills in the CPF Concours Subsidy Form2. Applicant submits it to chapter (see tab in upper left of page), along with original receipts, for approval.3. Chapter issues a cheque to each applicant, up to a maximum of $250 per chapter.4. Chapter then create a single form from the information collected from each individual application, and forwards this with original receipts to CPF BC and Yukon branch office.5. Then once branch approves the collected form up to a maximum of $250, we reimburse the chapter via direct deposit.Each chapter can apply for up to $250 from CPF - BC & Yukon branch. Parents of participants must apply to their local chapter in order to receive a portion of the Concours Subsidy. To find the local chapter near you, click on the tab in the upper left of the page. If you do not see your chapter on the list, please contact the Branch. For questions or concerns about your request, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Download the form below:
Where are the judging forms and judging information?
Judging FormsPDF versions of documents used in Judging the CPF BC & Yukon Branch Provincial Concours d'art oratoire can be viewed/downloaded by clicking on the links below: 2014.00.00 Rules in English & French Formulaire d’évaluation (French) Evaluation form (English) Judging Information
- Public speaking competitions should be judged by three impartial adjudicators.
- Where students are participating with the expectation of moving on to other levels of competition, they must be evaluated according to judging forms and penalty forms developed by Canadian Parents for French-BC. Teachers should explain these forms and their criteria to all participating students.
- As stated, the judging forms remain the confidential property of the sponsoring organization.
- When selecting judges, coordinators should strive to balance the panel in order to reflect the various criteria such as grammar and expressiveness.
- Judges must be impartial. Judging requires, amongst other things, the ability to pose questions. All students must be questioned in order to ensure continuity.
- Suggestions for judges include teachers and principals, school board or ministry officials, federal government employees, Radio Canada personalities, university or college professors, Francophone parents and Embassy or Consulate personnel and graduates.
- A time keeper is also required.
Where can I go for additional information or help?
Contact your local CPF chapter (click on the tab in the upper left of the page) or our office; there may be an experienced volunteer who has done this before who would love to help you. There is also lots of information on the Concours page of our web site Questions? Contact us
How should I promote the Concours in my school / district?
The Concours d’art oratoire has become a very popular and much awaited event for students throughout BC schools. Here is what some schools do to promote the event: 1. Ask for support from teachers and administration. 2. Have students make posters and put them up around the school. 3. Send notices home in students’ backpacks or through an email network. 4. Find some great prizes from businesses and organizations in your community. 5. Publish details of the event in school and CPF chapter newsletters, and on the school’s website. 6. Invite the Superintendent, trustees and local media to the district finals, if appropriate. 7. Check out the: 2014.00.00.How to Concours
What are the official Concours rules?
While you can create your own rules and judging guidelines, it might help to use the ones that students will have to follow at the provincial and national championships. The rules at the provincial competition are strictly enforced! 2014.00.00 Rules in English & French The Provincial BC and Yukon Branch Concours Competition rules are as follows: Rules 2014 (English) 1. Speeches must last between 2 and 4 minutes for Grade 6 competitors. Speeches must last between 3 and 5 minutes for Grades 7 to 12 competitors. The time is clocked from when the student begins to speak. (Penalty: 1 point per 30 seconds over or under the specified time). 2. The student may choose his or her own topic. Speeches must be an original work by the student, not a recitation of another person’s work. The presented speech may not have been used in a previous provincial or national Concours d’art oratoire competition. This is a speech arts competition as opposed to dramatic arts. Poems, songs and dramatic pieces are not allowed. 3. The speech must be memorized. The speech cannot be read; it must be presented. Notes may be used, but only as an aid. 4. Updated! The student must state the title of the speech. (Penalty: 1 point for failure to do so). Note: This does not have to be the first line delivered, but should be stated early in the speech. 5. Updated! The student must include the opening expression: "Chers juges, chers parents, chers professeurs et chers amis". (Penalty: 1 point for failure to do so). Note: This does not have to be the first line of the speech. 6. The speech must come to a logical conclusion. 7. The student may not use a microphone. 8. Students must not identify themselves by school or school district. (Penalty: 2 points for name/school stating). 9. Costume and/or support material may not be used. (Penalty: Disqualification.) 10. Gestures must be kept to a minimum. It is not necessary for the head and hands to remain completely motionless, but gestures must be natural and spontaneous, as opposed to dramatic. Examples of unacceptable gesturing: wild arm movements (flapping wings), pirouettes, kneeling, turning one’s back to the audience, etc. (Penalty: 1 to 3 points for excessive gesturing.) 11. Right after the speech, the student will be asked two or three questions related directly to the speech by the judges. A jury of two to three impartial judges will evaluate speeches. Evaluation will be based on criteria similar to the attached judging form. Each teacher, parent, and senior student should be advised of eligibility requirements prior to participation in the CPF – BC & Yukon supported public speaking event. Everyone involved in any aspect of CPF – BC & Yukon supported public speaking should have read and understood these rules. In accordance with CPF National policy only 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be announced. No other ranking, comments or feedback will be given to competitors. The judging forms remain the confidential property of CPF – BC & Yukon.
Les règlements du Concours d'art oratoire 2014
- Les discours doivent durer de 2 à 4 minutes pour les concurrent(e)s de la sixième année et de 3 à 5 minutes pour les concurrent(e)s de la septième à la douzième année. Le temps est décompté dès que l’étudiant commence à parler. (Pénalité: 1 point par 30 secondes en deçà ou au-delà du temps limite.)
What are the benefits of Concours?
Beside the cultural and language benefits, Concours helps students develop their creative and public speaking abilities, as well as self-discipline. It is an opportunity for students to see the language living outside the classroom with the larger competitions. In addition, it gives the opportunity for students to grow in confidence through each edition. All participants have the opportunity to make new friends at the district, provincial, and national levels.
What are the prizes at the Provincial and National Concours?
The National Competition will take place in P.E.I in 2014. All other prizes for 2014 to be announced as sponsorship is confirmed. Prizes vary from year to year. In 2013, first place winners in grade 12 in all categories were offered a $2,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Ottawa. These winners traveled to the national Concours in Ottawa and competed for a $20,000 scholarship to the University of Ottawa, among other prizes. Medals, gift certificates, books and cash prizes are also among the prizes offered in select grade and category. All first, second, and third-place winners in each category receive medals from the CPF-BC & Yukon Branch. All students who participate in the Provincial Finals of Concours d'Art Oratoire receive a certificate of participation.
How do we organize a Concours in our school district?
First, you need a volunteer to coordinate the event. Click on the "Chapters" in the upper left of the page to find a chapter contact in your area. You might find a volunteer ready and waiting! Next, you need to consult with the school’s teachers and administrators to get their approval, pick a date, and familiarize yourself with the categories. Then you need to know the rules (for the Official Concours Rules click here):
- How long are the speeches
- What kinds of topics are allowed
- How are competitors evaluated, and more!
You need to find judges, organize a space, and then promote, promote, promote!
Where can I find accommodations?
Compass Point Inn is located near the SFU Surrey Campus. However, it is the responsibility of each individual to make their own reservation.
9850 King George Highway Surrey, BC V3T 4Y3 (604) 588-9511 Get directions
SFU does not own or manage any of the parking lots located at the Surrey campus. Please note that the parking passes from SFU Burnaby do not work at SFU Surrey. It is a completely separate system. As parking is limited, faculty, staff, students and visitors are encouraged to use public transit whenever possible. Mall parking is free and is provided for the benefit of shoppers. A three hour time limit is posted for shoppers. If no decal (for SFU students/staff/visitors) is displayed and the three-hour parking limit is exceeded a ticket with a fine of $45 will be issued or the vehicle may be towed. The vehicle’s owner is responsible for payment of a fine or towing charges. SFU Surrey has no authority to waive tickets or reverse fines. SFU Surrey parking is restricted to the rooftop and levels P3 to P5 of the Parkade. Parking is not permitted on level P1 or P2. Vehicles parked on P1 or P2 will be ticketed and/or towed, even if a decal is displayed. During snowy weather the Rooftop and the access ramp off of Old Yale Road are closed. The Parkade remains open during snowy weather and can be accessed off of West Whalley Ring Road.
Will I be presenting my speech in a large auditorium?
Most speeches occur in a classroom with other competitors in your category. However at times the larger categories (specifically grade 6 and 7 early immersion) have taken place in an auditorium. Judges, a room host and parents will also be present.
What should students wear?
All students who participate in the Provincial Finals of Concours d’Art Oratoire are expected to dress appropriately, business causal is suggested. Unacceptable attire would include low cut tops, spaghetti straps, short shorts, mini mini-skirts, T-shirts with offensive sayings or pictures, extremely baggy pants, etc.
What recognition do the students receive?
All students who participate in the Provincial Finals of Concours d’art Oratoire receive a certificate of participation. All winners, first, second and third, in each category, receive medals from CPF-BC & Yukon. Winners may also receive prizes from other sponsoring organizations such as the French Consulate in Vancouver and the Quebec Government Office. First and second place winners also receive a cash award. In the past, cash awards have been provided by Canadian Parents for French-BC & Yukon, La Fédération des parents francophones de la Colombie-Britannique, La Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique, The Canadian Club, Alliance Française, and BC Hydro.
Who is considered a Francophone?
A Francophone is a student whose mother tongue is French or who speaks French at home, even if the student is in an Immersion program. A Francophone could also be a student who has spent time in a French milieu or who has changed programs, having previously attended a Francophone school. The intent is to have students compete against others whose language proficiency or hours of instruction in French are comparable. It is the District’s responsibility to make the determination. Naturally, all students in Écoles du programme francophone de la Colombie-Britannique compete as Francophones. If the student has changed categories, either from Francophone to French Immersion, or from Immersion to FSL, they may be required to be assessed in a telephone interview by the Provincial Chief Judge of Concours prior to be accepted as registered for the Provincial Competition. The Chief Judge’s decision is final. To determine which students qualify to compete in the Francophone Category at Concours d’art oratoire the Catégorie Francophone Formulaire has been developed. The form below is recommended for District competitions. Francophone Form
Who is eligible to compete?
The competition is open to youth attending public, private or francophone schools. The schools and school districts must be a CPF associate member. Students in grades six through 12 who are studying French as a subject, or who are enrolled in early or late immersion or the programme francophone, are eligible.
Only one student may be entered per District, per category.Families: We would encourage individual families to become members of CPF to show support for activities such as Concours. Please click here for the benefits of joining CPF. Schools: Schools must be Associate Members of Canadian Parents for French to participate. School Districts: School districts sending participants must be Associate Members. Independent Schools: Independent Schools will be required to hold a competition to determine one representative per category from Independent Schools (in the same manner that School Districts do). The geographic area will be applied to Independent Schools in the same manner as Public Schools. For example, only one student per category from Independent Schools in the Vancouver area, only one per category from Independent Schools from the Surrey area, etc. As registrations for Independent Schools are received, they will be contacted to advise which other Independent Schools in their area are registered. The Independent Schools will then be responsible to determine who will compete for their geographic area in each category, either via competition or whatever method they choose. Independent schools must be Associate Members.
Are there any costs involved with the Provincial Concours?
All expenses including travel and accommodations are the responsibility of the students and/or their districts/sponsors. There is a non-refundable $15.00 administration for students to participate in the provincial Concours which is collected when registering through our website.
What are the categories at the provincial level?
Each school district is responsible for holding finals to determine who will represent them at the provincial Concours. All of the following categories will be competing at the provincial however CPF may choose to combine grades to ensure a sufficient number of students in each category. There are four main sections:
- Core French
- Early French Immersion
- Late French Immersion
- Francophone Program
FSL/CORE FRENCH Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11 For those studying French as a second language in a Core program (that is, French as a subject), and who, throughout elementary and secondary school, studied Core/Basic French. For students of the Intensive Core French program now enrolled in Core/Basic French. EARLY IMMERSION Grades: 6, 7 For students who are enrolled in a French immersion program this academic year, and have, throughout elementary school, studied French in an Early Immersion Program. LATE IMMERSION Grades: 6, 7 For students who are enrolled in a Late French Immersion program or Intensive Core program this academic year who entered a grade five or later. IMMERSION Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11 For those enrolled in the secondary French immersion program this academic year.For students who have studied French through the Early French Immersion program for 7 or more academic years, and who no longer in an immersion program.For students who have studied French through the Late French Immersion program for 2 or more academic years and the French Immersion secondary program for a minimum of 1 year, and who may not be in an immersion program. FRANCOPHONE Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 For students in the Conseil Scolaire Francophone de Colombie Britannique. For students who speak and comprehend French with native fluency, and are from homes where one or two parents are speaking French. For students who have benefited linguistically from living, for 1 year or more in the past 3 years, in a community where French is commonly spoken. For students whose mother tongue is French and who have attended French First Language schools for at least 1 year in the past 4 years. Please Note: You must enroll as a Francophone, even if you are attending a Core French or French immersion program, if: 1. If you are a student who speaks and comprehends French with native fluency, and who has one or more parents who speaks French. 2. If you have benefited linguistically from living for one year or more in the past three years in a community where French is commonly spoken, or if your mother tongue is French.
GRADE 12 - NATIONAL COMPETITION TRACKIn past years, provincial winners in Grade 12 categories have been awarded a $2,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Ottawa, and can go on to compete against their provincial counterparts for a $20,000 scholarship. In 2017, the National competition is in Gatineau, Quebec.
EARLY IMMERSION GRADE 12 For students who are in grade 12 immersion, and who entered immersion through an early immersion program in primary grades (K-3). LATE IMMERSION GRADE 12 For students in grade 11 or 12 immersion who entered immersion through a Late Immersion program in grade 5 or later. FSL/CORE FRENCH GRADE 12 For those studying French as a second language in a Core program (that is, French as a subject), and who, throughout elementary and secondary school, studied Core/Basic French.For students of Intensive Core French programs now enrolled in Core/Basic French. FRANCOPHONE GRADE 12 For students in the Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie Britannique. For students who speak and comprehend French with native fluency, and are from homes where one or two parents are speaking French. For students who have benefited linguistically from living for 1 year or more in the past 3 years, in a community where French is commonly spoken. For students whose mother tongue is French and who have attended French First Language schools for at least 1 year in the past 4 years.
- Students who in this academic year are in a program where one subject, in addition to core or basic French, is taught in French;
- Students who are currently studying French as a second language in a core French program, and have 3 years or less of immersion experience;
- Students who are currently studying French as a second language in a core French program, and have additional educational experiences in a French milieu;
- Students whose first language is not French.
Can gestures be used?
A good speaker uses gestures naturally and spontaneously to emphasize his or her points. Please remember that this is not a drama competition. Simply put, gestures must be kept to a minimum. It is not necessary for the head and hands to remain completely motionless, but gestures must be natural and spontaneous, as opposed to dramatic. Costume, support material and props are not permitted and result in an immediate disqualification. Students should not be taking the role of a "Character."
Which topics may the students use?
Each student should choose a subject in which she or he is particularly interested. The student should be interested enough to want to communicate something about it to others. This should result in careful preparation and in an enthusiastic presentation. The speech may be designed to inform, to convince, or to amuse the audience. Winning presentations in past years have covered topics ranging from the intensely serious to the very lighthearted. It is suggested that students avoid subjects which might shock or offend (e.g., the more controversial aspects of religion or politics). The presentation must be the student’s original work and must be memorized, although brief notes are permitted. It is mandatory to use the phrase, "Chers juges, chers parents, chers professeurs et chers amis," and to state the title of the speech at the beginning. Please refer to Rules for all mandatory requirements of a speech.
Where is SFU Surrey?
Please refer to this document: 2015 Location