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© Canadian Heritage


Since 1969 Canada has been an officially bilingual country at the federal level. English and French then became its official languages. This does not necessarily mean that all Canadians speak both languages fluently. Rather, official bilingualism means that the institutions of the federal government offer their services in both English and French, the languages of the two largest linguistic communities of the country. While the majority of Canadians (over 20 million) regarded English as their mother tongue at the last census, 7.3 million Canadians stated that French was their native language. French, therefore, is the most widely spoken minority language of the country. Francophone Canadians make up 78.4 percent of the population of Quebec. 31.9 percent of the inhabitants of New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province, are francophone. There are smaller French-speaking communities throughout the country. Apart from the two official languages, numerous other languages are spoken in Canada, of course, although these do not have the status of official languages. Chinese is the third most-spoken language. Among the Indigenous peoples, Cree, a First Nations language, is the most common, followed by Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.

Excerpt from the text of the same name which can be read in the Marshall McLuhan Salon

Find out more...

… about the origins of Canada's bilingualism including Canadian English and French in videos and essays on the topic in the Marshall McLuhan Salon.