Francophone Communities in Canada and the World

Francophone communities are wide spread from one end of Canada to the other. Outside of Québec, Ontario is the province that counts the largest number of residents whose mother tongue is French, followed by New Brunswick. Three quarters (76 per cent) of Francophones outside Quebec live in these two provinces. At the provincial/territorial level, Francophones represent at most 5 per cent of the population, except in New Brunswick where Francophones number a third of the total population.

In many regions, Francophones form a large part of the local population. Approximately 60 per cent of Canadian Francophones live in regions where they form more than 20 per cent of the population.

Despite a continuous increase in native French speakers across the country, their proportion has only recently levelled off after years of decline due to international immigration. Immigration has led to an increase in the number of non-official language speakers. Of the French-speaking immigrants, many decide to settle in Francophone and/or Acadian communities outside of Quebec, adding to the culture of Canada's Francophonie. These immigrants also assist in creating ties with the international Francophonie.

The importance of French surpasses our Canadian borders. French, an Official Language of Canada, is no longer limited to European diplomatic relations. French is a global language. It is a major tool of the international market place and international institutions. The United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Bureau and International Red Cross all use French as a language of communication.

A report on the status of Francophonie [1] in the world discovered:

  • 113 million individuals who speak French fluently and use it on a regular basis
  • 61 million individuals who speak French occasionally
  • 100-110 million students who have learned or are learning French

French is the second most frequently taught language in the world. It is also the second most prevalent language on the Internet.

[1]Rapport sur l'état de la Francophonie dans le monde. Données 1997/98 et six études inédites. Haut Conseil de la Francophonie, Paris, la Documentation française, 1999.

Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie

Canadian Heritage

Last reviewed/revised: February 8, 2017
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