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Immigration and encouragement key to stemming decline in French speaking Ontarians, commissioner says

New numbers out last week show that Ontario's Francophone population is shrinking relative to its English counterpart.

New report show numbers of French speaking Ontarians on decline

Francois Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, says the government should do more to encourage immigration from French-speaking countries in Africa to slow the decline of French speakers in Ontario. (Radio-Canada / Claudine Brulé)

New numbers out last week show that Ontario's Francophone population is shrinking.

François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, said in 10 years time, the percentage of people in the province who identify as Francophone could slip to under 4 per cent.

In 1996, that number was 5.2 per cent.

Boileau told CBC News the decline should concern English Ontarians, as French gives us a competitive advantage.  

"French is on the rise in the world," Boileau said. "In 2050 there will be more than eight hundred million French speaking people around the globe."

"85 per cent will on the African continent. We need to have diversification of commerce and trade. The African continent represents potential that is absolutely phenomenal."

Boileau said the province should do more to attract and retain French speaking immigrants, and then encourage them to continue to speak in French as a first language.

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