2016 Census language data: Federal government must renew its support for official language communities in the territories


GATINEAU, August 4, 2017 - In response to the release of the 2016 Census data about the linguistic characteristics of Canadians, Interim Commissioner of Official Languages Ghislaine Saikaley urged the federal government to put concrete measures in place that take into consideration all of the data released by Statistics Canada on official languages in the territories.

It is important that the Government’s next official languages action plan include concrete courses of action that factor in the most recent data about Canadians’ linguistic realities and what that data means for the vitality of these communities,” said Saikaley.

The Interim Commissioner highlighted recent investments by the federal government for official languages in the territories. “The federal government must continue to work with the territorial governments to increase immigration in Francophone communities and ensure that they are able to act as host communities.”

Language data from the 2016 Census shows that the Canadian provinces and territories with the highest increases in the percentage of people who speak French as their first official language include Nunavut (up from 1.5% to 1.8%), the Northwest Territories (up from 2.6% to 3.0%) and Yukon (up from 4.4% to 4.6%).

The Interim Commissioner also noted the increase in the number of people in Canada who speak an Aboriginal language at home and recognized the importance of Aboriginal languages as a fundamental component of the Canadian social fabric.

Each official language community in these territories, and across the country, has its own vitality and its own unique circumstances. It is important that these communities receive the support they need and that remoteness not become a barrier to promoting the French language,” added Saikaley. “The Office of the Commissioner plans to increase its presence in these communities in the near future.”

The Office of the Commissioner already has a presence in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon through its office in Edmonton and in Nunavut through its office in Montréal.



For more information or to schedule an interview with the Interim Commissioner, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Director, Communications
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 613-220-8396
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368
E-mail: robin.cantin@clo-ocol.gc.ca
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