International Heritage Languages

International and Heritage Languages


Manitoba's K to 12 Education Action Plan
Manitoba's K to 12 Education Action Plan (pdf document 6 MB) responds to the Report of the Commission on K to 12 Education and system learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Action Plan will guide the work of Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning, in partnership with education sector partners, over the next five years toward our vision that all Manitoba students succeed no matter where they live, their background, or their individual circumstances.

Advancing Truth and Reconciliation, achieving equity, ensuring inclusion, striving for excellence, prioritizing well-being, and enhancing accountability are the guiding principles to implementing the actions identified in the plan to strengthen student success through High-Quality Learning; Student Engagement and Well-Being; Excellence in Teaching and Leadership; and Responsive Systems.

As the Action Plan is implemented curriculum in Manitoba will be aligned with the New Manitoba Framework for Learning, this will include International Languages and other subjects

Learning Spanish in Manitoba
Spanish is the language of many peoples who have made many important contributions to the history and culture of the world. Today, there are close to 400 million native speakers of Spanish, and close to 500 million speakers worldwide, including Spain and Africa, as well as Central America, South America, and North America. It is alanguage of enormous social, political, and economic importance.

Bilingual Education and Programming in Manitoba – Questions and Answers
This support document provides information on Bilingual education and programming in Manitoba, including legislation, policies, roles and responsibilities, and curriculum development and implementation, in the form of questions and answers.


In 1979 the Public School Act was amended to allow for learning of languages and instruction in languages other than English or French. This was similar to developments in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Public Schools Act of Manitoba addresses this topic in Section 79, Languages of Instruction. This section includes the following excerpts:

English and French as languages of instruction
79(1) Subject as otherwise provided in this section, English and French are the languages of instruction in public schools.
Use of other languages
79(2) When authorized by the school board, a language other than English or French may be used in any school in the school division or school district

  1. for instruction in religion during a period authorized for such instruction;
  2. during a period authorized by the minister for teaching the language;
  3. before and after the regular school hours prescribed in the regulations and applicable to that school;
  4. in compliance with the regulations as a language of instruction, for transitional purposes;
  5. in compliance with the regulations, as a language of instruction for not more than 50% of the regular school hours as determined by the minister.
    Therefore, section 79 (2) sets out the basic conditions under which instruction in languages other than English or French or the learning of languages may be offered in Manitoba’s schools. It is important to not that:
    1. instruction in a language other than English or French is not a right, and is subject to the discretion of the school division or school, as it must be authorized by the school board
    2. Secondly, instruction in languages other than English or French may be used for not more than 50% of the regular school hours


Highlights: Languages other than English or French

In addition to English and French, a variety of languages are offered as "languages of study" (similar to Basic French) in schools in Manitoba. Some languages have been offered for many years and others, like Japanese, have recently become popular. In some cases, only one or a few schools offer the language.

Languages currently, offered* in Manitoba public or funded Independent schools include

German was language for several decades with the highest overall enrolment. However, now one of the most popular languages especially in grades 9-12. English, French Immersion, and Français program schools may offer Spanish as an elective course.

Within the City of Winnipeg, Spanish is the most popular language followed by Ojibwe, Filipino, Japanese and Cree. Spanish has been growing in popularity in Manitoba since the early 1990s.

Japanese was first introduced in Manitoba schools in 1994 as part of Asia-Pacific studies.

Since 1979 Manitoba's Public Schools Act provides for instruction in Languages other than English or French for up to 50% of the school day-these are commonly referred to as "Bilingual Heritage" Language Programming. In K-6, Language Arts, Social Studies, Art and Physical Education may be taught in the target Heritage/International Language.

Approximately 1600 students are enrolled in bilingual programming in K-6, with about 200 students in "enhanced" programming in Grades 7 to Grade 12.

In addition, some students elect to enroll in Independent Study courses in German or Spanish .

School divisions in Manitoba also offer Bilingual Programming.

Manitoba School Divisions offering Bilingual Programming
Programming School Division
English-Cree Winnipeg
English-Filipino Winnipeg, Seven Oaks
English-German River East Transcona
English-Hebrew Winnipeg
English-Ojibwe Winnipeg, Seven Oaks
English-Spanish Winnipeg
English-Ukrainian Winnipeg, River East Transcona, Sunrise, Seven Oaks, Lord Selkirk, Mountain View

Categorical Grants for both languages of study and bilingual heritage language programming are available to public schools.

*The statistics provided represent the numbers reported for funding purposes and for courses offered during the regular school day. Some school divisions offer before and after school programming in Heritage/International languages (e.g. Seven Oaks provides after school programming in a variety of International and Aboriginal languages).

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Funding of Schools

General Support Documents

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol Projects

The need for language programming is growing as students and parents realize the importance of languages in the global marketplace and for personal development. Each province is facing the need to provide language programs in many languages for small numbers of students. Therefore, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have undertaken several joint projects in international languages under the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol.

Manitoba has participated in three completed projects to support curriculum development in languages other than English or French. The WCP projects and the documents that were the result of inter-provincial collaboration will be utilized to develop new curriculum for various Aboriginal and international/heritage languages.

Other Language Programs

Indigenous Languages

French Language Programming:

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