In 1989, HEC Montréal adopted a Communication Quality Policy to encourage students to take charge of their language skills and motivate them to work toward becoming proficient in business French, English and Spanish in pursuit of their professional goals.
The following year, the CFLA, called the Quality of Communication Centre at the time, was created with the mission to support HEC Montréal graduates in developing full proficiency in French and strong proficiency in Business English and Spanish to give them an edge in the job market.
In the Centre’s early days, it relied on external resources for most of its activities. Gradually, it began bringing seasoned professionals on board. In 1991, the Centre began coordinating business English courses, and in 1992, it adopted a written French test as a requirement for students graduating with a BBA or the new Bachelor of Management (BMgt).
In 1993, the CLFA was awarded the Mérite du français en éducation for universities.
In 1996, the Centre began coordinating business Spanish courses. It also developed a test to assess BBA students’ business and general English language skills, immediately followed by a business English assessment for MSc students. When the trilingual BBA was created, the Centre developed a test to assess the business English and Spanish skills of students enrolled in the stream.
The CFLA has also published a number of documents to assist students in writing, presenting and properly citing their work in French.
In 2008, the CFLA began offering an introductory course to business Chinese and Chinese business culture. In 2011, it created a business French course for students whose first language is not French.
In 2014, the Centre created the École d’été en français des affaires, a summer school program focusing on language instruction and culture, offering students a unique immersion experience through intensive, for-credit courses, interactive speaking workshops, marketing and management seminars and conferences, and visits to businesses. That same year, the CFLA developed a lexicon of terminology specific to HEC Montréal, which is now available online to the public, and established a single point of contact for the HEC Montréal community’s translation requests.
In 2018, the CLFA obtained a two-year grant of nearly $156,000 from the Office de la langue française for the School’s Projet de valorisation du français, a project to help students improve their business French language skills. The CFLA has developed around thirty speaking and writing workshops for HEC Montréal students and the general public.