Statistics Canada has just released the final batch of data from the 2011 census. The data provides a linguistic portrait of Canada
Data is given on almost 200 languages in Canada. 17.5% of Canadians, 5.8 million people, speak at least two languages at home. This is up considerably from the 2006 census when only 14.2% were bilingual. The increase represents 1.5 million people.
Of the 5.8 million who are bilingual most speak English plus languages such as Punjabi or Mandarin. Only 25% of those who are bilingual speak both French and English at home, even though those are the two official languages of Canada.
Although there have been attempts to encourage the use of aboriginal languages, their use is in decline. 3,620 less people now speak an aboriginal language.
The most common immigrant language spoken in Canada was Punjabi. When those who speak Punjabi are grouped together with those who speak closely related languages, such as Urdu, they number 1,180,000. Chinese language speakers are not far behind at 1,113,000. The largest increase was in Tagalog, spoken in the Philippines. The number of Canadians speaking Tagalog grew by 64% since 2006.
Canada has 6.6 million people who speak a language other than French or English, but two thirds of them have adopted French or English as a second lanugage at home.
Official bilingualism is hardly growing at all. In 2006, 17.4% of Canadians spoke both English and French and in the recent census it is 17.5%. English remains the dominant language with about 28.4 million people having a working knowledge of the language. 7 million people said they spoke French most often at home and almost 10 million have a working knowledge of French. In Quebec, however, 94.4% of Quebecers can speak French. Most immigrants to Quebec are adopting French rather than English as their second language. Each census, the data shows that Canada is becoming more linguistically diverse.