In recognition of the distinct character of francophone education in Canada, ministers of education established the Pan-Canadian French as First Language Project. Its aim is to promote, within francophone schools in minority settings, conditions for learning French as a first language that lead to enhanced student achievement.

The impetus for the project came from the 2002 School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP), a national writing test that revealed that the performance of 13- and 16-year-old francophone students in minority settings was consistently below that of their anglophone counterparts across Canada and of francophones in Quebec. Research suggested that improving results for such students depended on better use of language as a tool for learning, communication, and personal development. To address this issue, all the provinces and territories except for Quebec have collaborated on relevant research projects and the development of resources for teachers and students:

Funds for the project have been provided by participating jurisdictions through CMEC and by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.