Census shows more anglo, allophones living in Quebec
UPDATE: There was an error with the initial data reported by Statistics Canada. Read the latest article here.
The number of bilingual Canadians is at an all-time high, and some people are worried about that.
The 2016 Statistics Canada census shows 18 percent of Canadians speak both official languages--with the lion's share of those bilingual citizens living in Quebec.
This province is home to 45 percent of the country's bilingual residents--a three percentage point increase since 2011.
Not everyone is happy about that news, since increased bilingualism is going hand-in-hand with less French being spoken at home in Quebec.
"What we've noticed over the last five years is that there's been an increase of about 14,000 people with English as first language on the island of Montreal but 25,000 in the suburbs mainly on the South Shore and in Laval," said Statistics Canada Assistant Director Jean-Pierre Corbeil.
That's a trend that will likely continue as francophone birth rates continue to drop compared to allophones.
"We're likely to see probably a decrease of three to four percentage points of the French-speaking population overall in Quebec, you know over the next 20 years, but on the island of Montreal it should remain very stable," said Corbeil.
Those dedicated to protecting the French language see the decline registered in the census as a threat equivalent to climate change.
Maxime Laporte of the Societé Saint Jean Baptiste called on political leaders to end institutional bilingualism.
"We can react, we can vote, we can mobilize and we will do it because we don't have a choice," said Laporte.
The Quebec Community Groups Network says while more people may be speaking English at home, it doesn't mean Quebec has made progress in dealing with minority-language concerns.
"I would like to think that the English-speaking community would have access to more jobs and more opportunities in Quebec," said Sylvia Martin-Laforge.
In particular, Martin-Laforge noted the near nonexistence of anglophones working for the province.
"In Quebec, mother-tongue anglophones do not have access to jobs in the civil service. We are still less than one percent in any of the categories in the civil service," she said.
As to why the number of anglophones in Quebec is increasing, Statistics Canada believes it is due to immigration.
QCGN is more specific, saying it believes some of the half-million anglophones who left in the '70s, '80s, and '90s are now returning to their home province.