4. Linguistic behavioural outcomes of immigrants

Although the FOLS variable is derived from linguistic behaviours reported in the census and assigns people accordingly, it is important to examine the linguistic differences for immigrants between the three FOLS immigrant categories. In this section, immigrants in the FOLS language categories will be examined in terms of i) the percentage who report a non-official language mother tongue (i.e. Allophone); ii) the language transfer of Allophones to English or French; iii) the percentage who are bilingual in both official languages; and iv) the percentage who speak English or French, or both English and French, at work. Immigrants in the English-French FOLS category will only be included in the analysis of “the percent that speak English or French or English and French at work” since, as discussed above, they reported a non-official language mother tongue, they are bilingual immigrants, and the percentage who report speaking an official language most often at home is small.Footnote 31

4.1. Non-official mother tongue

This section will consider the share of immigrants within the individual FOLS linguistic categories who reported neither English nor French as their mother tongue (i.e. Allophones).Footnote 32

  • Immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category are more likely to report a non-official language mother tongue (68%) than immigrants assigned to the French FOLS category (59%).
    • This proportion is even higher among immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category in Montréal (70%) and Laval (80%). It is lower in the Eastern ERs (23%), Estrie (31%) and Capitale-Nationale (33%).
  • Immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category are mainly Allophones (98%), which push up the percentage of Allophones in the Anglophone (FOLS) (75%) and Francophone (FOLS) (65%) immigrant categories.
    • This is especially the case in the three inner tiers, where the immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category are concentrated.

Map 9: Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to English FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to English FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to English FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of Allo-phone Percentage of
Allo-phone
Montréal 127,665 70%
Montérégie 16,940 59%
Laval 13,760 80%
Capitale-Nationale 585 33%
Outaouais 4,750 64%
Laurentides 2,645 55%
Estrie 725 31%
Lanaudière 730 60%
Eastern ERs 305 23%
Nothern ERs 455 42%

Map 10: Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to French FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to French FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of Allophone (mother tongue single response) immigrants assigned to French FOLS across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of Allo-phone Percentage of
Allo-phone
Montréal 155,665 64%
Montérégie 25,965 49%
Laval 23,295 65%
Capitale-Nationale 9,620 47%
Outaouais 6,360 55%
Laurentides 5,365 41%
Estrie 4,480 48%
Lanaudière 4,910 48%
Eastern ERs 3,625 37%
Nothern ERs 3,315 43%

4.2. Official language bilingualismFootnote 33

Quebec is the most bilingual province in Canada. In Quebec, 41% of people reported that they could speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation,Footnote 34 while 50% of all Quebec immigrants are bilingual. Official language minorities often learn the other official language to participate in the mainstream economy, especially when they are not living in a geographically defined area (e.g. neighbourhood) or isolated community that is institutionally complete.Footnote 35

  • The percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS (40%) and French FOLS (43%) categories is closer to the overall provincial rateFootnote 36
  • Close proximity to centres with large Anglophone populations reduces the rate of bilingualism for immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category, while raising it for immigrants assigned to the French FOLS category.
    • Immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category in Outaouais and Montréal have the lowest rates of official language bilingualism, at 33% and 37% respectively
    • Immigrants assigned French FOLS in Outaouais, Laurentides, Montérégie and Laval have high rates of official language bilingualism, at 53%, 48%, 47% and 47% respectively.
  • For ERs further away from centres with large Anglophone populations, the reverse is true. The rate of bilingualism for immigrants assigned to the English FOLS increases while it decreases for immigrants assigned to the French FOLS category.
    • In the Capitale-Nationale, Eastern ERs and Lanaudiére, the rate of official language bilingualism for immigrants who are assigned to the English FOLS category is 79%, 75% and 69% respectively.
    • In Northern and Eastern ERs, immigrants who were assigned to the French FOLS category have the lowest rate of bilingualism, at 34% and 28%.
  • Immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS are all bilingual, which explains why Anglophone and Francophone immigrants’ rates of official language bilingualism, at 54% and 52% respectively, are higher than the rates for English FOLS and French FOLS immigrants.

Map 11: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of bilingual Percentage of
bilingual
Montréal 68,055 37%
Montérégie 12,685 44%
Laval 7,750 45%
Capitale-Nationale 1,395 79%
Outaouais 2,440 33%
Laurentides 2,825 58%
Estrie 1,415 60%
Lanaudière 845 69%
Eastern ERs 980 75%
Nothern ERs 680 62%

Map 12: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to French FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to French FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to French FOLS with knowledge of English and French (official language bilingualism) across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of Allo-phone Percentage of
Allo-phone
Montréal 103,890 43%
Montérégie 24,590 47%
Laval 17,105 47%
Capitale-Nationale 7,885 39%
Outaouais 6,135 53%
Laurentides 6,375 48%
Estrie 3,770 40%
Lanaudière 4,165 41%
Eastern ERs 2,770 28%
Nothern ERs 2,585 34%

4.3. Language transfer of AllophonesFootnote 37

Language transfer for immigrants refers to the transfer from a non-official language mother tongue towards the use of an official language at home. Here, instead of looking at all immigrants assigned to the English FOLS and French FOLS categories, the focus is on those who reported a single-response non-official language mother tongue (Allophone) within these two FOLS categories. Footnote 38 Language transfer is often considered an indicator of change because transmitting languages from one generation to the next usually requires that a language be spoken at home.Footnote 39The rate of transfer for Allophone immigrants to an English or French home language indicates the strengths of these languages.

  • Language transfer for Allophone immigrants occurs less frequently in Montréal ER than in any other ER in Quebec.
  • Allophone immigrants assigned English FOLS: language transfer rates range from 52% in Montréal to 80% in Lanaudière.
  • Allophone immigrants assigned French FOLS: language transfer rates range from 57% in Montréal to 77% in Lanaudière.
  • The low rate of language transfer for English-French FOLS (6%) immigrants results in a lower rate of language transfer for Anglophone FOLS (39%) immigrants than for English FOLS (54%) immigrants.

Map 13: Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of
Allo-phone FOLS to English
Percentage of
Allo-phone FOLS to English
Montréal 66,265 52%
Montérégie 9,705 57%
Laval 7,820 57%
Capitale-Nationale 445 76%
Outaouais 2,730 57%
Laurentides 2,010 76%
Estrie 550 76%
Lanaudière 585 80%
Eastern ERs 240 79%
Nothern ERs 360 77%

Map 14: Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to French FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to French FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of Allophone immigrants assigned to French FOLS showing language transfer across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Number of
Allo-phone FOLS to French
Percentage of
Allo-phone FOLS to French
Montréal 88,425 57%
Montérégie 17,805 69%
Laval 15,075 65%
Capitale-Nationale 6,415 67%
Outaouais 4,320 67%
Laurentides 3,940 73%
Estrie 2,950 66%
Lanaudière 3,775 77%
Eastern ERs 2,305 64%
Nothern ERs 2,515 76%

4.4. Language spoken most often at workFootnote 40

The language(s) spoken most often at work is an important indicator of an immigrant’s linguistic integration into Quebec society.

  • Of working immigrants who were assigned to the English FOLS category, 76% speak English, 14% speak French and 10% speak both English and French most often at work.
    • English FOLS immigrants speak English most often at work especially in Montréal, Montérégie, Laval, and Outaouais ERs.
  • Although most of the immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category reported speaking a non-official language most often at home, they did not do so at work.
    • Of the working immigrants who were assigned to the English-French FOLS category, 22% reported speaking both English and French at work, 50% reported speaking French at work, and 28% reported speaking English at work.
  • Of working immigrants who were assigned French FOLS, 8% speak English, 83% speak French and 10% speak both English and French most often at work.
    • Outaouais is the only ER where almost a quarter of Francophone immigrants speak English most often at work.

Map 15: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Total English French English and French
Montréal 109,330 78% 11% 11%
Montérégie 17,020 71% 19% 10%
Laval 10,240 64% 21% 15%
Capitale-Nationale 1,055 32% 62% 7%
Outaouais 5,015 91% 5% 4%
Laurentides 2,405 60% 32% 8%
Estrie 1,120 54% 34% 12%
Lanaudière 715 44% 44% 12%
Eastern ERs 805 36% 61% 6%
Nothern ERs 560 53% 46% 0%

Map 16: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to French FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Quebec immigrant population by FOLS category, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to French FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Total English French English and French
Montréal 137,545 8% 80% 11%
Montérégie 31,815 7% 86% 7%
Laval 23,035 7% 81% 13%
Capitale-Nationale 12,255 1% 95% 4%
Outaouais 7,270 23% 66% 11%
Laurentides 8,120 6% 88% 6%
Estrie 5,145 5% 90% 5%
Lanaudière 6,360 5% 89% 6%
Eastern ERs 5,400 2% 95% 3%
Nothern ERs 3,720 4% 93% 3%

Map 17: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS showing the official language spoken most often at work across Quebec economic regions, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Region Total English French English and French
Montréal 65,595 30% 48% 22%
Montérégie 10,955 24% 55% 21%
Laval 12,015 22% 51% 27%
Capitale-Nationale 1,610 6% 86% 8%
Outaouais 2,865 36% 40% 23%
Laurentides 905 19% 56% 24%
Estrie 845 18% 66% 16%
Lanaudière 685 12% 74% 14%
Eastern ERs 460 5% 85% 10%
Nothern ERs 380 20% 78% 3%

Summary

  • Immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category are more likely to report a non-official language mother tongue (68%) than immigrants assigned to the French FOLS category (59%), especially in Montréal, Montérégie, Laval and Outaouais ERs.
  • Immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category are mainly Allophone (98%) which pushes up the percentage of Allophones in the Anglophone (FOLS) category to 75%
  • Close proximity to centres with large Anglophone populations reduces the rate of bilingualism for immigrants assigned to the English FOLS category, while raising it for the immigrants assigned to the French FOLS category.
  • Immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS are all bilingual, which explains why Anglophone and Francophone immigrants` rates of official language bilingualism, at 54% and 52% respectively, are higher than the rates for English FOLS and French FOLS immigrants.
  • Language transfer rate for Allophone immigrants occurs less frequently in Montréal ER than in any other ER in Quebec.
  • The low rate of language transfer for English-French FOLS (6%) immigrants results in a lower rate of language transfer for Anglophone FOLS (39%) immigrants than English FOLS (54%) immigrants.
  • English FOLS immigrants speak English most often at work especially in Montréal, Montérégie, Laval, and Outaouais ERs.
  • Although most of the immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category report speaking a non-official language most often at home, only 4% report speaking only a non-official language at work.

Footnotes

Footnote 31

Please refer to Section 2.2 “Deriving the Number of Immigrants in FOLS Categories” to review the process for assigning immigrants into the different FOLS categories.

Return to footnote 31 referrer

Footnote 32

For data tables referenced in this section, please refer to Appendix – Table 9.

Return to footnote 32 referrer

Footnote 33

For detailed data tables pertaining to immigrants’ knowledge of English and French, please refer to Appendix – Table 10.

Return to footnote 33 referrer

Footnote 34

In this paper, bilingualism is synonymous with being able to speak French and English well enough to conduct a conversation. Knowledge of a non-official language and an official language does not count as being bilingual.

Return to footnote 34 referrer

Footnote 35

For more information on institutional completeness, please refer to Raymond Breton (1964) Institutional Completeness of Ethnic Communities and Personal Relations of Immigrants” American Journal of Sociology 70(2): 193–205.

Return to footnote 35 referrer

Footnote 36

The reason these percentages are lower than the overall immigrant percentage is that the English-French FOLS category is pushing up the overall percentage for immigrants.

Return to footnote 36 referrer

Footnote 37

For detailed data tables pertaining to immigrants’ knowledge of English and French, please refer to Appendix – Table 11.

Return to footnote 37 referrer

Footnote 38

According to Statistics Canada, language transfer calculation is based on the Home Language spoken most often at home (Part A of the Home Language question). The calculation does not include those languages spoken on a regular basis at home (Part B of the Home Language question).

Return to footnote 38 referrer

Footnote 39

As shown on page 22, the distribution of immigrants reporting a non-official language varies by ER and this should be taken into consideration when examining these results.

Return to footnote 39 referrer

Footnote 40

For data tables pertaining to language spoken most often at work, please refer to Appendix – Table 12.

Return to footnote 40 referrer

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