ARCHIVED - Spotlight on official languages - Public opinion from coast to coast

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In February 2006, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages asked Decima Research to survey Canadians to find out their opinions on bilingualism in Canada. A survey conducted in October and November 2006 by CROP for the CBC confirms the results obtained. Here is a brief summary.

Attitude towards bilingualism in Canada

  • About 7 in 10 Canadians say that they are personally in favour of bilingualism throughout the country (Decima), and this support is largely confirmed by the CROP/CBC poll.

  • The high level of support for bilingualism throughout Canada is due mainly to the growing support of Anglophones outside Quebec, up 19% from 2003 to 2006. (Decima)

  • Among young people 18 to 34, support for Canadian bilingualism is now at 80%. (Decima)

  • According to 9 out of 10 Canadians, bilingualism is a factor for success in the world. (Decima)

  • For 70% of the population, Canada’s policy on official languages is part of what defines our country.

  • Attitude to bilingualism in the public service

  • More than 9 out of 10 Canadians expect the Prime Minister of Canada to be bilingual. (CROP)

  • The vast majority of Canadians expect political leaders and senior civil servants to be bilingual. (CROP)

  • Attitude to learning the other official language

    • About 8 out of 10 Canadians, including 94% of Francophones, think that getting a job is a good reason for becoming bilingual. (Decima)

    • Most Canadians (57%) think that the bilingualism rate outside Quebec is too low (1 person in 10); 74% of Francophones think so. (CROP)

    • In total, 83% of Canadians think that it is important for their own children or those in their community to learn a language other than English, and almost all Quebecers (98%) think that it is important for children to learn a language other than French. French is the first choice for a second language in all regions (except Quebec, where English is the choice of 88%).

    Attitude to teaching French outside Quebec

    • In total, 77% of Canadians think that both official language groups should receive education of the same quality, even if the language group is in the minority. (Decima)

    • About 7 out of 10 Canadians outside Quebec think that French should be compulsory in all primary schools. (CROP)

    Attitude to bilingualism in Canada - Regional overview

  • The highest support for bilingualism in Canada is in Quebec (91%) and the Atlantic region (77%). The lowest is in Alberta (58%), but even there it is still a majority. (Decima)

  • Support for bilingualism throughout Canada grew by 24% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba between 2003 and 2006. (Decima)

  • British Columbia shows the largest increase in support for provincial bilingualism, up from 41% in 2003 to 59% in 2006. (Decima)

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    REGIONAL SUMMARY OF PUBLIC OPINION

    Regional Summary of Public Opinion

    Quebec

    • 91% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada (up 2% from 2003 to 2006). Quebec is the province with the highest support.

    • 85% are in favour of bilingualism for the province (up 2% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 83% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 98% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than French.

    • 88% think that English is the most important language to learn after French.


    Atlantic

    • 77% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada (up 23% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 79% are in favour of bilingualism for their province (up 16% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 85% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 90% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than English.

    • 90% think that French is the most important language to learn after English.


    Ontario

    • 66% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada (up 21% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 66% are in favour of bilingualism for their province (up 14% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 76% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 84% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than English.

    • 71% think that French is the most important language to learn after English.


    Manitoba / Saskatchewan

    • 66% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada (up 24% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 63% are in favour of bilingualism for their province (up 17% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 73% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 78% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than English.

    • 64% think that French is the most important language to learn after English.


    Alberta

    • 58% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada, the lowest level of support in the country (up 17% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 53% are in favour of bilingualism for their province (up 14% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 69% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 80% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than English.

    • 57% think that French is the most important language to learn after English.


    British Columbia

    • 68% are in favour of bilingualism throughout Canada (up 22% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 59% are in favour of bilingualism for their province (up 18% from 2003 to 2006).

    • 73% agree that more resources should go to minority-language schools to ensure the same quality of education as the majority receives.

    • 88% believe that it is important for children to learn a language other than English.

    • 44% think that French is the most important language to learn after English.