Canada’s two official languages, English and French, are known by more Canadians now than ever before, according to data recently published by Statistics Canada.
As of 2016, when the last national census was conducted, the national rate of bilingualism in Canada jumped to 18.0%, the highest it has ever been. And StatsCan has been tracking Canadian bilingualism in some form since 1901, so we can trust them when they say the bilingualism rate in Canada has “reached the highest proportion ever.”
What’s arguably more interesting is how this recent uptick in Canadian bilingualism is somewhat unprecedented. Canada’s national bilingualism rate has barely moved in the past 15 years, staying roughly at 17.7%. And outside of Quebec, most provinces and territories experienced a decline in bilingualism from 2006 and 2011.
That isn’t the case anymore, with bilingualism on-the-rise in a every single province and territory, excluding British Columbia and Manitoba. According to the new data, the areas that experienced the sharpest rise in French-and-English speakers were the Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, Yukon, and Quebec, of course.
To no one's surprise, Quebec boasts the highest rate of bilingualism within its population, at an impressive 44.9%. New Brunswick is a far second at 34.0%, with Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and the Northwest Territories all boasting bilingualism rates above 10%, too.
Quebec is becoming more bilingual, too. In 2016, there were a little over 3.6 million bilingual people living in Quebec, an increase of around 300,000 people from 2011. This increase in Quebec’s bilingual population accounted for 64.0% of Canada’s total growth of the bilingual population.
One of the more interesting findings included in the StatsCan census brief, titled “English–French bilingualism reaches new heights,” is the age at which Anglophone Canadians outside of Quebec learn to speak French, and how they do it.
According to the 2016 data, most native English-speakers outside of Quebec achieve bilingualism in school between the ages of 5 and 19 years of age.
It’s no big surprise that students in the younger end of that age bracket pick up French in school, since it’s far easier to pick up a new language when you’re around 5 to 9 years old. But for the first time, bilingualism increased for all student age groups, particularly students in the 10-to-14-years-old group.
So if you're in Ontario and hate being forced to take French class, just tough it out, because you can actually learn the language if you try.
In a viral TikTok, Shina Nova shared photos of food prices in Indigenous communities in the country. We see things like a pack of grapes being sold for $28.19 and ketchup costing $16.79.
In the most recent Statistics Canada food price survey for Nunavut, from 2018, we can see the price difference between food products in Nunavut vs. Ottawa.
A 0-2 kilogram pack of grapes like the one we see in Shina Nova's video cost $6.59 in Ottawa but $14.21 in Nunavut.
Some other stark points of contrast in the 2018 survey were cheddar cheese ($18.30 in Ottawa, $28.67 in Nunavut), soda crackers ($8.87 in Ottawa, $17.69 in Nunavut), and 50-54 grams of chocolate bars ($27.09 in Ottawa, $53.06 in Nunavut).
Videos by Ky Flaherty (@arcticmakeup) on TikTok go even further to show that it's not just food prices that are noticeably higher in Nunavut, but household products too.
Reply to @jaclynalexisss #greenscreenvideo #greenscreen the last one 😢 #nunavut #inuit #nativetiktok #arcticmakeup #fyp
Flaherty shows a photo of Kirkland diapers costing $53.79 in Iqaluit and $37.99 on Costco's website.
In an interview with MacLean's, Flaherty explained that she creates these TikTok videos to bring to light the need for affordable food in Canada's North, which she referred to as "suicide prevention."
"There's no possible way for anyone to thrive in life when they can't even get their next meal. Food is a basic necessity and if you can't get that, there's no way for you to truly be okay," Flaherty said.
Both Shina Nova and Ky Flaherty have been able to spread awareness of the food disparities that exist in Canada by reaching millions on TikTok.
While there's a myriad of possible reasons as to why Trudeau is ahead in the province, his handling of the pandemic could be the biggest. Among the Quebecers polled, 46% believed that health care is the most pressing issue in the upcoming election and 53% said the current prime minister "has performed well on pandemic management."
Politics and the Fourth Wave: As concern over COVID rises, are the Liberals poised to benefit?… https://t.co/znhujEMXZU
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.
Mary Simon's approval rating is lower in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada, a poll released Wednesday showed, because the new governor general can't speak French.
An Angus Reid Institute poll of 2,049 Canadians found only 49% of Quebecers approve of her appointment compared to 74% of respondents in the rest of the country.
"Despite being from Nunavik (the Inuit homeland in Northern Quebec), and having been awarded the [province's] highest distinction, many Quebecers remain unconvinced Mary Simon is the best choice for governor general due to her lack of fluency in French," stated the Angus Reid Institute.
"Support is cleaved along linguistic divides in the only majority Francophone province in Canada," it continued, as only 40% of Quebecers whose first language is French approve of her appointment compared to 81% of English speakers.
Though Simon, the country's first Indigenous governor general, is not currently fluent in French, she has promised to learn, Angus Reid stated.