Portrait of Official-Language Minorities in Canada: Francophones in Ontario

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Introduction

This demolinguistic portrait of the French-speaking population in Ontario was undertaken with the financial support of Canadian Heritage's Official Languages Secretariat. It is the first of a series of portraits of official-language minorities in Canada, prepared by Statistics Canada's Language Statistics Section.

This study paints a general statistical portrait of the official-language minority in Ontario based on data from the Census of Population and the Survey on the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities in Canada, conducted in 2006. The purpose of such a portrait is to present a set of characteristics, behaviours and perceptions of the official-language minority population, exploiting the analytical opportunities contained in the data.

This document is intended to be neither a mere collection of tables nor an in-depth study of the demolinguistic dynamics of the French-speaking population in Ontario. It presents a range of information on a set of themes and issues that are of interest to official-language minorities and anyone interested in the past, present and future of official-language minority populations in Canada.

Section 1 of this demolinguistic portrait concerns the choice of criteria for defining the French-speaking population in Ontario, to be used for the purposes of this study. It also provides a brief description of the data sources used.

Section 2 presents varied information on how the French-speaking population has evolved and its geographic distribution and concentration in Ontario. This information is accompanied by a series of maps, appendices, and a detailed table on the number, relative weight and distribution of the French-speaking population in Ontario.

Section 3 concerns the main factors that affect or are affected by changes over time in this province's French-speaking population: fertility; the transmission of mother tongue and the effect of exogamy; the age structure; intragenerational linguistic mobility; and interprovincial and international migration. It also provides information on the use of French in the public sphere and on how the ability to conduct a conversation in that language has evolved in groups with a mother tongue other than French or English.

Section 4 of this portrait looks at a few sectors essential to the vitality of official-language minority communities, as identified in the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: health; justice; education; and the media, the arts and culture. It also provides statistics on community participation, employment and income characteristics, and the use of French at work.

The last section of this portrait presents statistics on Francophones' identity, their perceptions regarding the presence of French in their community, the provision of services in French by the federal government, the respect for linguistic rights, and the perceived importance that people work on developing the Francophone community.

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