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TFO 2012 Logo.svg
TFO logo
Launched January 1, 1987
Owned by GroupeMédia TFO
(Ontario French-Language
Educational Communications Authority)
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Language French
Broadcast area Ontario
National (via satellite)
Formerly called La Chaîne Française
Website TFO (French)
Bell TV Channel 137 (SD)
Channel 1837 (HD)
Shaw Direct Channel 799 (SD)
Channel 40 / 540 (HD)
Bell Fibe TV Channel 145 (SD)
Channel 1145 (HD)

TFO is a Canadian French language educational and cultural public television station in the province of Ontario, with a focus on programming for children, and on documentaries and repertory films for adults. TFO also produces and distributes supporting content for the Web and mobile devices. It is the only French-language multimedia network in Canada that is headquartered outside of Quebec.

Formerly owned and operated by TVOntario, TFO became an independent agency of the provincial government of Ontario in 2007.

TFO is available on cable throughout Ontario, and all cable companies in the province are required to carry it on their basic tier. However, the network previously broadcast over the air in some communities in Eastern and Northern Ontario with significant Franco-Ontarian populations. TFO is also carried via satellite on Bell TV channel 137. On Shaw Direct, the channel is available on 799, and in high definition on channel 040 (Classic) or 540 (Advanced).


TFO contributes to the civic and cultural enrichment of the Franco-Ontarian community by stimulating French life in Ontario and elsewhere with quality French-language educational and cultural media content and services.


In 1985, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal and Cultural Affairs, together with Communications Canada, approved the creation of an Ontario-based French-language educational television network. In 1986, the French-language network that had previously been part of TVOntario received its broadcast licence from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). On January 1, 1987, this network was officially launched under the name La Chaîne Française (primarily known on-air as La Chaîne). In 1995, La Chaîne was renamed TFO (short for Télé-Française d'Ontario).

Former logo of TFO used until 2002

Prior to the launch of La Chaîne, TVOntario broadcast French programming on Sundays from noon until sign-off. For the first several years of La Chaîne's operations, this continued and La Chaîne broadcast English-language TVO programming during the same time block, as La Chaîne was only available on cable and the government wanted to ensure that Franco-Ontarian viewers without cable still had access to a block of French-language programming, while making English TVO programs available on La Chaîne for those who want them. As transmitters were added in a number of French-speaking communities, the practice was eventually discontinued.

In addition to being carried throughout Ontario on cable and via over-the-air transmitters in some communities, in October 1997 TFO began broadcasting in New Brunswick via select cable companies in that province. New Brunswick, with a large Francophone population and the only officially bilingual province in the country, was the first jurisdiction other than Ontario to begin receiving TFO. Consequently, all program announcements on TFO provide airtimes in both Eastern and Atlantic Time for viewers in both Ontario and New Brunswick. In 1998, the station began broadcasting nationally via both national satellite companies, Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice, now known as Bell TV and Shaw Direct, respectively. In August 2008, Star Choice removed TFO from its lineup.[1] In 1999, TFO's parent company at the time, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority, applied to the CRTC for mandatory carriage of TFO in the province of Quebec, in addition to a carriage fee, which other over-the-air services do not receive. However, the CRTC denied its application in March 2000.[2] Since the stations' denial by the CRTC for mandatory carriage in Quebec, the station has since been added to cable and IPTV distributors lineups in that province. For example, Vidéotron, the province's largest cable television provider, added TFO to their lineup in September 2004.

TFO logo 2002-2012

As part of a restructuring of TVOntario announced by the McGuinty government on June 29, 2006,[3] TFO was taken over by a new, separate provincial Crown corporation, the Ontario French-Language Educational Communications Authority (Office des télécommunications éducatives de langue française de l’Ontario or OTÉLFO)[4] in 2007, with separate management and its own budget.[5]

Although the licence transfer was not officially approved by the CRTC until June 28, 2007, TFO nonetheless announced its autonomy from TVOntario effective April 1.[6]

TFO HD[edit]

Former HD logo

On March 31, 2009, TFO launched an HD simulcast of TFO called TFO HD. TFO HD currently only broadcasts as a cable and satellite only feed and does not broadcast over-the-air.[citation needed]


GroupeMédia TFO is funded mainly by the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Education, with an annual budget of $31 million.[7] Additional contributions are made by the Government of Manitoba.[8]

Organization and management[edit]

The members of the GroupeMédia TFO management team are as follows:

Glenn O’Farrell, President and Chief Executive Officer
Christiane Scher, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer
Pascal Arseneau, Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing
Éric Minoli, Managing Director, Information and Technology Systems
Johanne Joly, Chief Financial Officer, Financial and Legal Services


TFO is distributed by cable throughout Ontario as well as over the air in eastern and northern Ontario, where the province’s largest French-speaking communities are located. All cable distributors in Ontario are required to carry TFO.

Throughout Canada, TFO is carried by the Bell TV and Shaw Direct satellite services. In Quebec, TFO is distributed by Videotron’s cable service and by some 50 independent cable distributors. TFO is also distributed by cable in Manitoba and New Brunswick, since these provinces don't have the resources for a francophone educational network.

Web/TV Programming[edit]

GroupeMédia TFO broadcasts educational and cultural content for all of its audiences (children, youth, and adults). Programs that TFO produces include Mini TFO (for pre-school children), Mégallô (for children ages 9 to 12), Relief (a political, social, and cultural program aired live Monday through Thursday), and Ruby TFO, a Web/TV magazine for women. All TFO programs are supported by interactive Web sites that extend the reach of TFO’s products (the Web sites for children’s programs include educational games). TFO’s prime-time programming includes documentaries and dramatic series, along with unique French-language film programming, including feature-length art films and films from around the world.

Children's programming[edit]

A partial list of the children's programs includes:

  • Children’s television series, including Arthur, Little Bill, The Paz Show, Franklin the Turtle (as Benjamin), Timothy Goes to School, Thomas and Friends, Pinky Dinky Doo, and more. as Will and Dewitt Engie Benjy Jakers and Boo! (TV Series)
  • Bon appétit les enfants (the title means “Have a good meal, kids”) is a show about food and eating customs around the world.
  • C’est pas sorcier (the title means “It’s not magic”) is a series about two children who travel the world to learn about science. Each show depicts simple activities and observations that enable children to learn about a major scientific theory.
  • École est finie (L’) (the title means “School's Out”) shows what activities children around the world do after school, such as games, sports, chores, family activities, and individual activities.
  • Coups de génies (the title means “Genius’ Ideas”) is about two students that have special superpowers that allow them to become scientific geniuses.
  • Montre-moi ton école (the title means “Show me your school”) is a series that takes a world tour of different schools, with 26 children leading a tour of their local schools.

Documentary series[edit]

Documentary programs and series include:

  • Sciences et nature (“Science and Nature”) is a documentary series that demystifies the world around us and presents new discoveries. Specific documentaries have featured topics such as wolves and bison.
  • Sciences humaines (“Life sciences”) is a documentary series that looks at various aspects of human life and experience, such as laughter, pain, crying, sleep, breathing, death, etc.

Other programming[edit]

Other programs that have aired on TFO include:

TFO Education[edit]

TFO Education produces and distributes multimedia teaching resources in accordance with the curriculum documents of the Ontario Ministry of Education. Over 5 000 TFO multimedia teaching resources for kindergarten through Grade 12 are available for free to the schools of Ontario’s French-language boards and on a subscription basis to other schools.

GroupeMédia TFO also designs, produces, implements, and markets several web-based products that support the initiatives of the Ontario Ministry of Education.

TFO transmitters[edit]

From 1989 to 2012, TFO operated several over-the-air transmitters in predominantly francophone areas of Ontario. These transmitters had the callsign CHLF, followed by a number to denote their status as rebroadcasters. The network's first transmitter was added in Sudbury in 1989. The Sudbury transmitter was the network's most powerful, and was numbered as the primary transmitter, although the CRTC recognised the transmitter CHLF-2 in Hawkesbury as the primary station. This is presumably because this transmitter was located halfway between Montreal, Canada's primary francophone television market, and Ottawa, the national capital and also home to a large francophone population. However, the transmitter's signal was marginal at best in both of these cities.

Besides Sudbury, Hawkesbury, Temiskaming Shores and Pembroke, all other communities that received TFO on the regular airwaves were isolated communities in Northern Ontario, many of which also receive the Ontario Parliament Network over the regular airwaves as well.

As part of the transfer of TFO to its own management in 2007, the transmitters in Sultan, Oba and Jogues were taken out of service.[9]

Staff shuttering TVO/TFO tower in Sudbury July 12, 2012

On July 31, 2012, TFO shut down its transmitters in Sudbury, Hawkesbury, Pembroke and Lac-Sainte-Thérèse, as TVOntario, which owned the towers, was shutting down and decommissioning all its analog transmitters on that day.[10] As of December 2012, the station no longer has any over-the-air transmitters as evidenced by the disappearance from Industry Canada's TV spectrum database of TFO's over-the-air transmitters, which all had call signs containing CHLF.[11]

In addition to local cable services, TFO is available across Canada on Bell TV.


External links[edit]