Statistics Canada Data Sources on Official-Language Minorities

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Purpose of document

This document is primarily intended as a reference tool on the different sources of linguistic information available to users of Statistics Canada data. Apart from the census, it covers the main surveys that provide information on official languages and/or surveys that include a sizable sample of respondents belonging to official-language minorities. Users will find a description of the surveys and their target population, a list of the language questions available, the reference year for the data, the final sample size and the size for the available official-language minority sample. A direct internet link to supplementary information on the different surveys is also provided in every survey description.

The information on sample sizes is presented both for the English-language minority in Quebec and for the French-language minority outside Quebec. For each survey, we have chosen to present these figures based on linguistic characteristics available in the survey questionnaire. The preferred approach was to use mother tongue when available. For cases where it was not available, we have chosen to give priority to other questions and/or concepts from the Canadian census.

All questionnaires available on the Statistics Canada website in the summer of 2008 were viewed1. Surveys containing at least one linguistic question were selected and examined on the basis of the questions available and the size of the samples according to the chosen linguistic characteristic, which was generally mother tongue. Some surveys containing linguistic information are nevertheless excluded from this document because of their quite specific area of interest and the limited size of the sample of persons belonging to official-language minorities. On the other hand, some surveys for which the sample size does not necessarily lend itself to very extensive statistical analyses are nevertheless described in the document because of the importance of their subject.

Information on the Statistics Canada website changes frequently. Readers are therefore advised to use the link provided for each survey in order to view the questionnaire as a whole.

The Statistics Canada website, remains the foremost source of information and data for the census and surveys, on which it contains both general and detailed documentation (questionnaires, dictionaries, technical manuals, methodology, coverage, etc.). It also provides access to numerous compilations of statistical data from the census in the form of "topic-based tabulations," "highlight tables," "profiles" and analytical reports concerning census data, including The Evolving Linguistic Portrait, 2006 Census and Using Languages at Work in Canada, 2006 Census. Additionally, many analytical reports and articles on survey data are available on the Statistics Canada website.

Survey data are available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI), which facilitates access to data in participating postsecondary educational institutions. Data files are accessible through the Research Data Centres (RDCs), and customized tables may be obtained through Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre.


  1. Surveys and statistical programs by subject (/imdb-bmdi/indext-eng.htm)
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