La Société santé en français Launches the Early Childhood Health Project (ECH) Conference – Petite enfance en santé (PES)

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, approximately 50 people hailing from Canada’s provinces and territories met in Ottawa at a conference to officially launch the Early Childhood Health Project.

The ECH/PES conference launch objectives were as follows:

  • To provide a historical overview of francophone early childhood development across Canada; from the continuum of health and wellness services to outlining an inventory of best practices, activities and programs in the francophone early years community;
  • To inspire the participants by sharing examples of best practice in health promotion in the francophone early year’s community;
  • To equip the participants to work with partners from a variety of sectors.
This logo was created by a child especially for this conference.
This logo was created by a child especially for this conference.
To manage the PES project across Canada, the Société santé en français (SSF) is working with the following partners:

Conference Presentations

The following presentations are available for download (French only):

Opening remarks: Healthy children… the importance of strong partnerships
Dr. Anne Leis, President, SSF

As a mother involved in the francopone parents’ movement, as a member of SSF and now as its president, Dr. Leis reminded the participants that every step they take with young children, every involvement counts. Each of them has a role to play in creating favorable conditions in promoting early years health for Francophones.


Notes from a brief presentation on the history of the ECH/PES project
Caroline Vézina, former Programming Director, SSF


Overview of the continuum of early childhood development services
Richard Vaillancourt, Program Officer, Commission nationale des parents francophones (CNPF)


Roundtable: examples of best practices for promoting the health of Francophones in early childhood development

Best Start (Ontario)
Louise Choquette, Bilingual Health-Promotion Consultant for Health Nexus’  Best Start program

Healthy Start (Saskatchewan)
Gabrielle Lepage Lavoie, Manager, Départ Santé/Healthy Start program

Apprentissage en famille [family learning] (New Brunswick)
Stéphanie Leblanc, Assistant Director General, CODAC-NB [New Brunswick council for Francophone adult literacy and skills development]

Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development (Québec)
Isabelle Vient, General Coordinator, CEDJE Project [centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development]


Overview of the early childhood development sector in Francophone minority communities
Irwin Lewis, Director, Continuum of Education, ACUFC [Association of Canadian Francophone Colleges and Universities]

Mr. Lewis communicated a few findings from a cross-Canada survey on the availability of childcare services in French and the caregivers working in this field. The ACUFC conducted this survey in 2019, reaching a total of 700 respondents.


Workshop: Ideas, approaches and tips on developing and maintaining healthy relationships among partners from various sectors
Henri Tremblay, Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution

This workshop used a role-playing card game to let the participants experience the challenges involved in working with people whose backgrounds, education, objectives and concerns may differ from their own. By providing a chance to experience the various kinds of feelings, emotions and discomfort involved in such situations, the role-play enabled the participants to identify various practical devices and approaches to working better together. This workshop also provided some useful tools for starting up the ECH/PES projects in collaboration with partners stemming from various sectors but are all committed supporting the francophone early years sector.


Discussion and working session: planning the deployment of the individual projects
Roger Gauthier, Coordinator, ECH/PES national project

The participants examined the following three questions:

  • Where do we stand now when it comes to promoting health for Francophones in early childhood?
  • How can we promote health for Francophones in early childhood in our own communities?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges that such initiatives have experienced in the past or can be expected to experience in future?
For more information on the Early Childhood Health (ECH/PES) project, contact:

Lancement du projet Petite enfance en santé (PES) avec CNPF - Commission nationale des parents francophones, Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne FNCSF - Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones RDEE Canada #petiteenfancefrancoSSF

Posted by Société Santé en français (SSF) on Tuesday, 19 November 2019

  • Anne Leis, President, Société santé en français (SSF)
  • Jean-Gilles Pelletier, Executive Director, SSF
  • Jean-Luc Racine, Executive Director, Commission nationale des parents francophones (CNPF)
  • Lyne Brouillette, Executive Director, Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne (ACUFC)

Absent: Jean-Guy Bigeau, Executive Director, Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDÉE) Canada and Karine Charlebois, Representative, Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones (FNCSF)