Statistics on official languages in Canada

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The demographic picture varies by province or territory

Table 1: Population by first official language spoken and bilingualism, provinces and territories
Province or territory French-speaking population English-speaking population Bilingual population (English and French)
Newfoundland-and-Labrador 2,428 (0.5%) 512,523 (99.4%) 25,940 (5%)
Prince Edward Island 4,665 (3.3%) 135,130 (95.8%) 17,840 (12.7%)
Nova Scotia 29,368 (3.2%) 880,348 (96.5%) 95,380 (10.5%)
New Brunswick 234,055 (31.8%) 499,970 (67.9%) 249,955 (33.9%)
Quebec 6,890,305 (85.4%) 1,103,475 (13.7%) 3,586,410 (44.5%)
Ontario 550,595 (4.1%) 12,440,795 (93.4%) 1,490,395 (11.2%)
Manitoba 40,978 (3.2%) 1,204,798 (95.5%) 108,455 (8.6%)
Saskatchewan 14,440 (1.3%) 1,061,110 (98%) 51,360 (4.7%)
Alberta 79,838 (2%) 3,888,983 (96.6%) 264,715 (6.6%)
British Columbia 64,323 (1.4%) 4,382,328 (95.3%) 314,925 (6.8%)
Yukon 1,635 (4.6%) 33,785 (95%) 4,900 (13.8%)
Northwest Territories 1,240 (3%) 39,950 (96.5%) 4,275 (10.3%)
Nunavut 630 (1.8%) 33,040 (92.6%) 1,525 (4.3%)
Total 7,914,498 (22.8%) 26,216,233 (75.4%) 6,216,075 (17.9%)

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census

French and English are the languages of inclusion

Table 2: Population by mother tongue, Canada
Mother tongue Percentage
French 21%
English 57%
Other 22%

In 2016, there were over 215 other languages. The most important, Mandarin, was spoken by 610,835 people (1.8%).

Table 3: Population by first official language spoken, Canada
First official language spoken Percentage
French 22.8%
English 75.4%
Neither English nor French 1.8%

French and/or English are spoken by 98.2% of Canadians.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census

Official languages and bilingualism are at the heart of Canadian identity

Table 4: Population by first official language spoken and bilingualism, Canada
Year French English Bilingual (English-French)
1996 7,018,055 (24.6%) 21,048,945 (73.8%) 4,841,320 (17%)
2016 7,914,498 (22.8%) 26,216,243 (75.4%) 6,216,070 (17.9%)

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1996 and 2016 Censuses

Bilingualism varies considerably by group

Table 5: Bilingualism rate by first official language spoken
Year French, Quebec French, rest of Canada English, Quebec English, rest of Canada
1996 34.6% 86.8% 61.2% 6.9%
2001 37.7% 88.3% 64.3% 6.9%
2006 37% 86.8% 66.1% 7%
2011 39.4% 88.2% 66.5% 6.6%
2016 41.5% 89% 66.2% 6.8%

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1996–2006 Censuses

More and more young people study their second language

Table 6: Number of young Canadians enrolled in French immersion programs outside Quebec
Year Number of young Canadians
2003–2004 282,839
2004–2005 288,970
2005–2006 295,197
2006–2007 304,293
2007–2008 311,115
2008–2009 317,662
2009–2010 328,716
2010–2011 341,694
2011–2012 356,580
2012–2013 372,879
2013–2014 392,430
2014–2015 409,893
2015–2016 428,619

French immersion enrolment has increased by 51.5% since 2003–2004.

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2003–2016

The demographic weight of Francophones is declining

Table 7: Evolution of the demographic weight of Francophones by first official language spoken, Canada and Canada outside Quebec
Year Canada Canada outside Quebec
1971 27.5% 6.1%
1981 26.3% 5.1%
1991 25.2% 4.8%
1996 24.6% 4.5%
2001 24.1% 4.4%
2006 23.6% 4.2%
2011 23.2% 4%
2016 22.8% 3.8%

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1971–2016 Censuses

Supporting minority community institutions enhances their vitality

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2015–2016; Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 2018; Canadian Heritage, 2016–2017

The majority of Canadians perceive official languages positively

Source: Ad hoc research for Canadian Heritage, 2016

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2019
Catalogue number: CH14-42/2019E-PDF, ISBN: 978-0-660-32294-0

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