Strong Majority of Canadians Support the Objectives of the Official Languages Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gatineau, August 31, 2016—Canadians remain committed to a vision of the country that includes two official languages, according to a recent Nielson survey commissioned by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages: 88 percent of respondents support the objectives of the Official Languages Act, and 82 percent feel that the 150th anniversary of Confederation next year should serve as an opportunity to promote Canada’s official languages.
Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser will present some of the survey results tomorrow at the Multidisciplinary Approaches in Language Policy and Planning Conference 2016 at the University of Calgary.
Canada’s gradual acceptance of linguistic duality has made us more open, more inclusive, and readier to welcome others in our society. This puts us in a significantly different place than the United States, Britain and much of Europe,” Fraser said.
The Nielson survey results are clear: 88 percent of the respondents support the objectives of the Official Languages Act throughout Canada. These results, obtained via a telephone survey, are above 80% for every part of Canada:
- 92 percent in Quebec
- 91 percent in Atlantic Canada
- 90 percent in Alberta
- 87 percent in Ontario
- 85 percent in British Columbia
- 83 percent in the Prairies
This is probably the first time that such a question has been asked in a national survey. The broad support for the objectives of the Official Languages Act shows the extent to which attitudes have evolved,” Fraser explained. Since taking up the position in 2006, the Commissioner has reiterated on numerous occasions the importance of the place of English and French as Canada’s languages. Similarly, 86 percent of the survey respondents believe that Canada’s prime minister should be bilingual, and 83 percent feel that major national events should be conducted in both languages. The proposal that Ottawa’s bilingual status be officially recognized garnered support from 87 percent of respondents.
This telephone survey using probability sampling was conducted in February and March 2016 by Nielsen among 1,000 Canadians over 18 years of age. The margin of error for national data is +/- 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.