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October 24th 2012

Statement by the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick regarding the data from the 2011 Census of Population covering Canada's language diversity

It is with great interest that we started reviewing today Statistics Canada’s census results regarding linguistic characteristics of Canadians. The analysis of this data takes time and it is therefore not possible for me to offer any detailed comments at this time. However, here are my initial observations.

The data from Statistics Canada with respect to language in New Brunswick is a source of concern for me. While there has been a slight increase of persons speaking French in the province, the proportion of Francophones in New Brunswick has diminished.

Statistics Canada has said in fact that “in New Brunswick, the share of French has declined somewhat, regardless of the characteristic.” This statement should retain the attention of the provincial government and our two linguistic communities.

The vitality of the French language in New Brunswick rests on many factors. That is why the provincial government should adopt a global approach to ensure the vitality of our both linguistic communities. I believe that the data from Statistics Canada demonstrates the need to adopt such an approach.

It is worth noting that Statistics Canada says “that international immigration has the strongest effect on the evolution of French in Canada.”

Last year, I recommended that the government adopt clear guidelines to ensure that its immigration practices benefit both linguistic communities equally. The government told me that such a policy was being developed. More than ever, I'm eager to see it.


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Information:
Hugues Beaulieu
Director, Public Affairs and Research
506-444-4229 or 1-888-651-6444
Hugues.Beaulieu@gnb.ca