Linguistic duality is an important aspect of Canadian identity, with 17 percent of all Canadians speaking both English and French. Some 84 percent of Francophones outside of the province of Quebec and 12 percent of Anglophones are bilingual. Proficiency in both languages is especially important for public service employees. According to the infographic, 40 percent of all positions in the public service sector require knowledge of English and French. The annual volume of pages translated by the Translation Bureau into both languages totals 1.7 million. Given the importance of linguistic duality, it is not surprising that 2.4 million Canadian students choose to study French or English as their second language.
Canadians embrace linguistic duality, with 81 percent of them favoring bilingualism. Most Canadians (84 percent) believe that proficiency in French and English improves their chances for finding better employment opportunities. Job opportunities for bilingual people abound, with bilingualism extending beyond English and French. Employers are looking for employees bilingual with English and Mandarin or English and Spanish.
In fact, knowledge of two or more languages is particularly important in today’s global economy. Millions of people around the world are global citizens. We live in a world in which 341 million people speak English, and 220 million people are native French speakers. Two thirds of people around the globe are proficient in two or more languages, with 508 million of them learning or speaking English as their second language. Some 111 million are studying French. Second language study is seen as increasingly important in Canada and around the world. Bilingualism and multilingualism promote cultural competency and awareness and improve one’s chances for career development. In an age of multiculturalism and global interdependence, exposure to foreign languages and cultures gives people great opportunities for cultural immersion and unique learning experience.
Infographic courtesy of Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages