Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Did you know that Canada is one of only six countries in the world whose official languages are French and English? Alongside Cameroon, Mauritania, Mauritius, South Africa and Vanuatu, Canada boasts an enriching bilingual environment in which you may allow your language skills to flourish! According to the statistics released in the 2016 Census, French is the mother tongue of 22.8% of Canadians. Approximately 19.1% of working Canadians speak French exclusively in the workplace, while 15.4% speak both French and English at work. From potentially earning bonuses at work to being able to explore lively festivals across the country, learning French offers an array of both financially favourable and mentally stimulating benefits!
The Canadian government requires that federal public services be offered in either official language. Prior to this, most governmental services were only available in English. Following Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, protection of the French language received more attention. In 1969, the first Official Languages Act made French and English the two official languages of Canada. This decision was followed by the adoption of 1982’s Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which served to further reinforce language rights. In terms of provincial legislation, most of the Canadian provinces and territories remain largely Anglophone. Quebec is the only province wherein French has been legislated as the official language. New Brunswick, on the other hand, is the only officially bilingual province in the country, with provincial services offered in both French and English!
One of the most valuable aspects of becoming bilingual is improved memory, cognitive flexibility and creativity. Speaking more than one language allows you to become proficient in a variety of skills, such as task-switching and critical thinking. Studies have shown that bilingualism works to delay Alzheimer’s disease as well as quicken recovery from strokes. Furthermore, learning a second language makes it easier to learn additional languages. More specifically, learning a language within the same linguistic classification of a language you already know will involve a familiar set of sounds, stressed vowels and writing systems. French, for example, falls under the category of the Romance languages. French speakers will therefore have a smoother time learning other Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Romanian.
Learning another language is an adaptable and valuable skill which enhances cognitive abilities and thus allows for career advancement. In Canada, learning French allows you to get ahead within the job market by pursuing further job opportunities. There remains an ever-growing need for bilingual employees across the country. Being proficient in French provides higher access to remote work, allowing you more flexibility, comfort and control over your career.
Oftentimes, scholarships, grants, and internships will be offered to those with a knowledge of both official languages. Programs such as Young Canada Works offer positions to Canadian job seekers who are interested in bolstering their language skills: measures are put in place to match potential employees with programs in which they will be able to work in both English and French.
In terms of income, jobs with a bilingual language requirement are usually accompanied by a higher salary and insurance benefits. Additionally, if you work in a government position where bilingualism is required, you are eligible to receive a bilingual bonus each year. To receive the bonus, you must have Second Language Evaluation (SLE) results showing that you meet the language requirements of the job. In Canada, you are considered bilingual if you hold a CBC profile. Within this language proficiency evaluation, the candidate must receive a C (advanced) in reading, a B (intermediate) in writing, and a C (advanced) in oral interaction.
Speaking French in Canada invites an abundance of opportunity and connection. While you bolster your language skills, you simultaneously strengthen your communication skills. This makes it easier to meet new people and make new friends as you break down language barriers, meet like-minded people and explore different methods of conversation. There are many ways to interact with both Francophones and aspiring French speakers throughout Canada. You can find French get-togethers through websites like Meetup or you can set aside some time to travel to a French-speaking region near you!
Travelling becomes easier and more rewarding when you speak another language. With an understanding of French, you will be better able to explore Francophone pockets of the country. French-speaking communities exist within regions of the Yukon, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. Each community offers unique niches of French-Canadian culture, from Manitoba’s Festival du Voyageur to Ontario’s Festival Franco-Ontarien. Most distinctly, the province of Québec boasts a collection of riveting spectacles. Vibrant events such as the Carnaval de Québec, Montréal en lumière, or the ever-popular Cirque du Soleil become more accessible and engaging with an understanding of the linguistic culture of Québec. From being able to navigate regions with ease to participating in francophone festivals across the country, your language skills will definitely enhance your connection with the world!
In Canada, lots of media is offered in French. Québecois music is frequently broadcasted on Radio-Canada’s programming, while TV5 Quebec Canada focuses on the dissemination of televised French content. The Canadian film and TV industry wields award-winning original works as well as adaptations of popular movies and shows. Shows such as La Job and Escouade 99, for example, are French-Canadian re-articulations of the well-known sitcoms, The Office and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Moreover, a vast collection of Francophone poetry and prose is readily available within bookshops and libraries across the country. Notably, Montréal is known for the formation of Drawn & Quarterly, a bilingual publishing company which specializes in the production of graphic novels. Ultimately, speaking both English and French will provide a richer experience of Canadian media, arts, and literature. In this way, engaging with French content will boost your understanding of both language and culture.
Within this linguistically stimulating and culturally rich country, learning French has a myriad of benefits. Language skills improve memory and cognitive agility. They help you to navigate the workforce and advance your career, all the while increasing your eligibility for bonuses and benefits. They invite abundant opportunities for interpersonal connection, travel and artistic appreciation.
Here at Lingobility, we would love to help you reach your French goals. We have plenty of enthusiastic tutors and teachers who can aid you in your journey! We’d be glad to match you with an instructor who suits your precise needs and linguistic goals.