A militant youth: how did the association movement affect Ontario’s Francophone youth?


Learning objectives

The student will:

  • Use the inquiry process to identify elements of cultural and religious continuity and change since the Oblates arrived in Canada's capital Region
  • Put into context the milestones relating to the mission of the Oblates in the capital Region
  • Clarify the cultural and religious aspects that have changed, and those that have remained stable, after the Oblates settled in the Ottawa area
  • Assess the positive and negative aspects of cultural and religious changes following the arrival of the Oblates in the region
  • Clearly communicate ideas through teamwork and group discussions.
COMMUNITY Component: A militant youth


Starting in the 19th century, many associations were formed in Ottawa. They contributed to the social bond and solidified the place of the federal capital in French Ontario’s political space. This network of associations, essentially an assemblage of groups of people with a common purpose, represented an exceptional forum, offering Francophones in the capital a place where they could consult, deliberate and develop their projects. Francophone youth have been an active part of the picture. Starting in the 1960s, the rise of counterculture and participatory democracy led many young baby boomers (the generation born after the Second World War) to question the traditionalism and the elitism of their elders (attachment to customs and beliefs from tradition). While the Association de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (AJFO), founded in 1949, struggled to adapt to these new realities, new organizations emerged, including the Association provinciale des mouvements de jeunes de l’Ontario français (APMJOF), Direction-Jeunesse (DJ), the Fédération des élèves du secondaire franco-ontarien (FESFO) and the recent Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien (RÉFO). In their own way, these associations have campaigned for various Francophone causes, ranging from the promotion of youth culture and games, to the creation of French-language schools and a French-language university

Based on an analysis of the theme “A militant youth,” how has the association movement affected Ontario’s Francophone youth? Answer this historical analysis question in the form of a virtual inquiry that considers the contexts, perspectives and repercussions of the actions carried out by youth organizations in French Ontario.


Activity description


The teacher reviews the process of inquiry necessary to complete the activity to analyze the role and, more specifically, the impact of the association movement on Ontario’s Francophone youth. This process seeks to guide students in responding to the analytical question presented in the activity, using their critical sense. The process includes the following steps:

  • Formulate analytical questions (What is my initial question? What should I address?)
  • Collect sources and organize information (What sources and data are available?)
  • Analyze and interpret the information collected (What do the sources reveal? What is the evidence?)
  • Evaluate and draw conclusions (What conclusions can be drawn from this analysis?)
  • Communicate the inquiry results (What is my response to the question?)


The teacher tells students about the work to be completed during this activity, which is to analyze the role of Francophone youth organizations in the creation of a Francophone university in Ontario, as presented in the virtual exhibition. The final goal is to write an opinion editorial (also known as “op-ed piece”) for a local newspaper, in which the student will agree or disagree (supported by reasons) with the creation of a Francophone university in Ontario.

The teacher explains that the concept of consequence is essential to understanding the past, because it is the consequences that make it possible to understand what effects and repercussions historical actions and events have had on the future. For example, a decision by authorities to close a highway due to flooding can have significant impacts on the movement of people, traffic and congestion.

To fully understand the concept of consequence in history, the teacher presents students with the following criteria:

  • Short-term consequences. Historical actions and events have direct and immediate repercussions on people and witnesses to history. For example, Hurricane Katrina, an extremely powerful and deadly storm, directly affected thousands of people in the southern United States in the summer of 2005. Consider the following questions:
    • What were the immediate effects of the actions taken? (e.g. who was affected and how?)
    • How did people respond to the events / actions? (e.g. what were the reactions of witnesses and people at the time?)
  • Long-term consequences. In history, it is important to assess the subsequent scope of actions and events. For example, the choice of Ottawa as the federal capital has had a significant long-term impact on Francophone life in the city, and even elsewhere in Ontario. It is important to evaluate consequences by considering the following elements:
    • What were the long-term effects of the actions taken? (e.g. did the event / organization lead to political, cultural, social changes?)
    • What was the scope of actions and events? (e.g. how many people or regions were affected in the long term?)


The teacher also explains that these consequences are the results of decisions made by actors and organizations. It is therefore relevant to examine the alternatives – the options available in the context of the period – in order to determine whether the actions carried out were for the best. To do so, it is useful to examine other stories in the context of the period, according to the data and perspectives available at the time of the events. This makes it possible to evaluate the probabilities and the various consequences that the actions could have had on the course of history as well as the choices which were offered to the actors.

It is also very important to remind students of the importance of chronology because in history, events happen one after the other. As a result, short-term consequences occur before the long-term consequences.


The teacher: 

  • Explains the work involved in analyzing the repercussions of the association movement that must be accomplished during this group activity.
  • Divides the students into teams, ensuring that each team has access to a computer.
  • Provides each team with Worksheet 1: Analyzing the impacts of the actions of Francophone youth organizations, which will be used to organize and analyze the information collected by the students.
  • Explains that their work to identify the influence of organizations on Francophone youth must result in:
    • short-term (immediate) consequences
    • long-term consequences.
  • Invites students to visit the virtual exhibition section entitled “A militant youth”.
  • Observes and guides student work in analyzing information and data from the virtual exhibition.
  • Encourages students to read and make sense of the historical sources included in the virtual exhibition to find relevant information and evidence to support their analysis.
  • Ensures that each team completes the worksheet and provides a detailed answer to the inquiry question.


The teacher:

  • Asks each team to choose a spokesperson.
  • Invites the spokespeople to present their findings based on their team’s responses to Worksheet 1.
  • Facilitates an exchange within the class based on the answers presented to assess the influence of these organizations on the Ontario Francophone community.
  • Collects worksheets and provides written feedback to the teams.

Suggestions to encourage learning  

The teacher:

  • Asks students to consider another situation, this time in a contemporary context.
  • Asks each student to answer the following open question: How do you feel youth organizations have influenced the debate surrounding the creation of a French-language university in Ontario?
  • Invites students to consult the “Franco-Ontarian university” piece.
  • Asks the student to write an opinion editorial (also known as “op-ed piece”) for a local newspaper in which the student will agree or disagree (supported by reasons) on the campaign for the creation of a Francophone university in Ontario, using their work on Worksheet 2. This letter can be written individually or in a team. Share the letters to highlight the different opinions and arguments presented, and to link the letters and the actions of youth groups in Ontario.