Some facts on the Canadian Francophonie
Learn more about the Canadian Francophonie.
On this page
- The Canadian Francophonie by the numbers
- The status of French
- Education, media and culture
- More information
- Related links
The Canadian Francophonie by the numbers
- Canada has a population of nearly 35 million people. French is the first official language spoken for 22.8% of the population.
- The majority of Francophones (85.4%) live in Quebec and over 1 million live in other regions of the country.
- Almost 10.4 million Canadians can carry on a conversation in French.
|Province or territory||French-speaking population|
|Prince Edward Island||4,665 (3.3%)|
|Nova Scotia||29,368 (3.2%)|
|New Brunswick||234,055 (31.8%)|
|British Columbia||64,323 (1.4%)|
|Northwest Territories||1,240 (3%)|
|Total Canadian population||34,767,250|
Note: French-speaking populations have been calculated using the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations (SOR/92-48) definition of "first official language spoken" (FOLS).
The first official language spoken is a derived variable based on the responses to language questions in the Census of Canada.
Source: Official Languages Branch of Canadian Heritage, February 2018, based on data from the 2016 Census of Canada, Statistics Canada, 100% sample
The status of French
- Canada is a federal state with 10 provinces and 3 territories. French, like English, is one of Canada's 2 official languages.
- Federal institutions are bilingual. They operate and provide services in both official languages. The Government of Canada also actively promotes both official languages in Canadian society (Official Languages Act).
- In every province and territory, French‐ or English‐speaking minorities have a right to primary and secondary school instruction in their language (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
- Quebec, the only province that is primarily Francophone, adopted the Charter of the French Language, which provides for the predominant use of French within provincial government institutions and in Quebec society.
- The province of New Brunswick is, under the Canadian Constitution, officially bilingual.
- In all provinces and territories, except for British Columbia, French benefits from legal protections or government policies as to its use in public institutions.
- Canada, as well as the governments of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, are members of the International Organisation of La Francophonie.
Education, media and culture
- Canada has more than 3,000 French‐language primary and secondary schools, around 75 French‐language colleges and nearly 30 French-language universities, a majority of which are located in Quebec.
- Outside Quebec, more than 160,000 Francophones study in their language at 624 primary and secondary institutions, managed by the communities.
- Francophones outside Quebec also have access to over 20 colleges and universities.
- Nearly 1.7 million young Canadians are studying French as a second language, of which around 430,000 students are in French immersion classes outside Quebec.
- Canadian French‐language media include:
- one national public broadcaster (Radio-Canada)
- around 220 community, regional and national radio stations, of which 27% are located outside Quebec
- nearly 50 community, private and public television stations, of which 33% are located outside Quebec
- over 10 daily newspapers
- and around 30 newspapers outside Quebec
- Major national institutions, present in all arts and culture sectors, are dedicated to strengthening and promoting the French language's cultural expression.
- Quebec has many creative spaces, broadcasting networks and government institutions that support cultural and artistic production in French, while providing access to these products and creations.
- Francophone minority communities also have around 100 centres for artistic and cultural creation, production and distribution.
- Publications – Official language communities and linguistic duality: Demography and statistics
- Publications – Official language minorities and linguistic duality: Research reports and studies
- 2016 Census topic: Language
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2019
Catalogue number: CH14-43/2019E-PDF, ISBN: 978-0-660-32297-1
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