A recent report shows that, while French is still hanging on in Quebec, it's slipping in the rest of the provinces as more immigrants from Asia enter the country and choose English as their second language.
A report published last week by Statistics Canada shows that the number of people who claim French as their original tongue and the number of people who consider themselves bilingual in both French and English has declined as a proportion of the population from 2006 to 2011. While Quebec continues to hold its own, partly due to immigrants who come from French-speaking countries, Canada’s predominantly-English-speaking provinces are drawing immigrants who claim neither French nor English as their mother tongue. The fastest growing of these languages, Tagalog, jumped ahead by 64% in the five-year period, reflecting the Philippines’ standing as the country supplying the most immigrants to Canada.
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
Because the vast majority of immigrants do not live in Quebec, they learn English as their second tongue, and consequently they are changing what bilingualism means in Canada. For the most part, this finding has been well-received in most of the country, which prides itself on its multiculturalism. However, the Parti Québécois government is expected to introduce tougher pro-French language laws this week, including one that will require more businesses to use French in their workplaces.