A national survey suggests the vast majority of Canadians support bilingualism and the objectives of the Official Languages Act.

According to the Nielsen survey, more than 80 per cent of Canadians support the law, which protects English and French as the official languages of Canada, stating that they have equal status.

The act also supports the development of English and French linguistic minority communities.

"Canada's gradual acceptance of linguistic duality has made us more open, more inclusive, and readier to welcome others in our society," Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser said in a news release.

Support for the act's objectives was relatively high across the country despite what the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages called "predictable regional differences." The survey results were broken down by region:

  • 92 per cent in Quebec.
  • 91 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
  • 90 per cent in Alberta.
  • 87 per cent in Ontario.
  • 85 per cent in British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
  • 83 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The office's director of communications, Robin Cantin, explained a new commissioner will be starting in October and Fraser wanted to leave this survey for his successor.

"He wants him to have the lay of the land," Cantin said.

He added that support for bilingualism is higher now than it was 10 years ago, the last time a survey of this kind was conducted.

language support map

More than 80 per cent of Canadians across the country support the Official Languages Act. (Commissioner of Official Languages/languesofficielles.gc.ca)

The survey was ordered by the Commissioner of Official Languages and was conducted in February and March among 1,000 Canadians over 18 years of age.

The telephone survey results have a margin of error at the national level of +/-3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.