French losing ground in Ontario, despite boost from immigrants
By Yanik Dumont Baron, September 27, 2005:
Officials from the Office of Francophone Affairs spent more than a year studying responses on the 2001 census form. They conclude that the assimilation of Franco-Ontarians continues in Canada's largest province. There may be more of them in absolute numbers, but their proportion of the overall population is diminishing.
In addition, the rate of "conserving the French language" continues to slip. In 2001, the language of Molière was spoken in 56.5 per cent of homes in which at least one of the adults spoke French as a mother tongue. The rate was 59 per cent five years earlier, in 1996.
The study reveals that French skills transfer less well to children if their father is the only one speaking the language at home. If their mother's native language is French, one-third of children will learn the language -- that is to say, twice as many as those with a father who speaks to them in French.
"It is perhaps that young people don't see the added value of studying French in school," Meilleur told CBC Unlocked. (...)
The data analysis shows that French is losing influence in the more remote areas, notably in Northern Ontario, to the benefit of large urban areas, like Toronto and regions hugging the Quebec border.
In multilingual cities, the French-speaking population is geographically diluted, another factor contributing to the erosion of the number of French speakers. The study pinpoints areas in which services to the French-speaking population need to be strengthened.
The number of Franco-Ontarians originally from Africa increased by 40 per cent in five years, to more than 58,000. These new Canadians are twice as likely as non-African francophones to have a university diploma. Despite this, their wages are typically lower by $6,000 a year.
The Statistics Canada census also shows that:
Two thirds of Franco-Ontarians were born in the province.
Among the 40,000 born elsewhere, 3/5 came from Quebec.
Half of the 549,000 Franco-Ontarians live in Eastern Ontario.
One-third of French-speaking people in the Toronto area are from racial minorities.
Elderly Franco-Ontarians are poorly served by governments compared to the general population.
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