Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

December 04, 2007 16:02 ET

Statement From the Commissioner of Official Languages: Language Data From the 2006 Census

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 4, 2007) -

The Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Graham Fraser, made the following comments in response to the publication of data on languages in Canada taken from the 2006 Census:

"I examined the language data released by Statistics Canada this morning. This data is evidence that a certain degree of success has been achieved, but there is also some cause for concern.

First, the vitality of French in Canada should be noted. There are now 110,000 more people who have French as their mother tongue than there were in 2001. Approximately 7 million Francophones throughout the country continue to firmly anchor linguistic duality in the Canadian identity.

I noted the decrease in the proportion of Francophones outside of Quebec, even if their numbers remain for the most part stable.

I also note that the number of Anglophones in Quebec has risen slightly and they continue to be increasingly bilingual. This is proof of the Anglophone community's willingness to continue to fully contribute to Quebec society.

The fact that there are 995,000 Anglophones(i) living in Quebec and 975,000 Francophones living in the other provinces reflects what I have personally witnessed across the country over the past year: dynamic official language communities whose vitality can be found in a thousand different places.

The bilingualism rates of Anglophones and allophones continue to increase. It is encouraging to see that a large number of Canadians want to speak our country's two languages and this also creates a large hiring pool for both the private sector and the federal government. However, the number of bilingual young Anglophone adults outside of Quebec has decreased since 2001. Canadians' interest in learning their official languages must be supported by accessible, high-quality programs from the federal and provincial governments.

Mr. Bernard Lord will have to take these findings into consideration when preparing the follow-up to the Action Plan for Official Languages to foster the promotion and development of Canada's official languages. The federal government must strengthen its support of the various vitality factors of official language communities-culture, health, early childhood education and local economic development. We are eagerly awaiting Mr. Lord's report in mid-January. The Office of the Commissioner will also continue the research it is carrying out on the vitality of official language communities."

(i) In contrast to mother tongue, this number denotes the first official language spoken, which is available in the tables on Statistics Canada's Web site, and allows for a more accurate representation of diverse communities.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
    Robin Cantin
    Manager, Media Relations
    Cellular: 613-324-0999 or Toll free: 1-877-996-6368