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Census data show the number of predominantly French-speaking households in Ottawa is declining

File photo: The Franco-Ontarian flag flies alongside the Canadian flag.
File photo: Franco - Ontario's flag is side by side with Canada's flag. Photo by Ashley Taylor

New Statistics Canada Census data released Wednesday showed showed a decrease in the use of French in

The proportion of Canadians who primarily speak French at home has fallen from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021. Statistics Canada.

However, Ottawa has experienced a sharp recession over the past five years. In 2016, 10% of his census respondents said he primarily speaks French at home. In 2021, that number has dropped to 8.4% she.

Canada as a whole did increase the total number of people who speak French at home, but it did not keep up with population growth, while in Ottawa that number decreased.

In 2016, he had 85,910 predominantly French-speaking households in the city. In 2021, 82,795 people say they will primarily speak French at home, despite Ottawa's population growth.

Louis-Alexandre Penn, Executive Director of the Association of French-Speaking Communities of Ottawa (AFCO) , greeted the Statistics Canada data with dismay.

"It's always a little sad to see these kinds of statistics," he said, but said the data weren't surprising. It seemed even worse in other cities.

"Every survey shows that French is in decline," he said. "As far as I understand, this is not the city in Ontario where French is the most declining. …But it remains a concern for the French-speaking community."

"In Ottawa, health, leisure, work, French services are really lacking, such as the private sector, and I think that's what drives Francophones to other cities, ”he said.

``We have to give people a desire to speak French and get French-speaking people to come and work in Ottawa.''

Ottawa's population In the five years since the census, it has grown by more than 83,000, with most of that population growth coming from immigration, said Gilles Grenier, a professor at the University of Ottawa. Economic links between language and immigration. In an email, Mr. Grenier said the influx of new Canadians was the main cause of the decline in the proportion of French speakers. 9 people will eventually assimilate to English (and 1 in 10 will assimilate to French), resulting in a lower ratio of French to English. This result was predictable,” he said. said. "Federal mass immigration policies will contribute to the decline of the French. By the end of the century, less than 15% of the population may be French-speaking."

Statistics Canada His own analysis is consistent with Grenier's assessment that Statistics Canada has reported that since 1971, the first year the Census collected information on the topic, the number and percentage of Canadians who speak English as their mother tongue We have noticed that there is an increase in

"Immigration contributed to this trend, given that, as in the past, most immigrants begin using English after arriving in Canada."

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