What Languages do People Speak in Canada?

While most Canadians speak one of two official languages, English and French, there are nearly 200 languages spoken in the country including Aboriginal or Indigenous languages, official languages, and "immigrant" languages.

How Many Languages Are Spoken in Canada?

There are 196 languages reported as being used in Canada. This includes the two official languages, English and French, as well as 128 "immigrant" or imported languages like German and Italy and about 66 Indigenous languages. All but three Indigenous languages in Canada are no longer considered viable with a low number of native speakers. 

## Official Languages of Canada Canada has two official languages: English and French. Canada has an "official bilingualism" policy in terms of policies, constitutional protections, and provisions which means all government business is conducted in both languages and access to goods and services must be provided in both languages.

English is the most commonly spoken language in the country but French isn't far behind. The rate of English-French bilingualism in Canada has also reached an all-time high with almost 18% of Canadians able to speak English or French. About 86% of Canadians can speak English while 30% can speak French.

Most native French speakers in Canada live in Quebec, a province in which French is the only official language. In Quebec, about 77% of people are native French speakers or francophones and 95% speak French as a first or second language.

Other Languages of Canada

Canada is home to many languages. In addition to English and French, there are many non-official languages in use as well as Indigenous languages.

About 15% of Canadians speak a language at home other than English or French and 23% have a mother tongue other than an official language. The most frequently spoken languages (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/census-wednesday-language-1.4231213) at home other than French or English are: -- Mandarin (640,000 Canadians) -- Cantonese (595,000) -- Punjabi (568,000) -- Spanish (554,000) -- Tagalog (525,000) -- Arabic (514,000) -- Italian (51,000)

Tagalog is the fastest growing of these non-official languages, growing 35% between 2011 and 2018, followed by Arabic. 
Two-thirds of people who speak non-official languages live in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. In Vancouver, about 18% of people speak Mandarin, Punjabi, or Cantonese alone. Vancouver is notable as the four leading immigrant home languages account for 58% of the total population speaking an immigrant language at home.

There are also many Indigenous languages spoken in Canada. Combined, about 0.6% of Canadians speak an Indigenous language as their mother tongue. The most recent census shows that the number of Indigenous Canadians learning their native tongue is on the rise, however, suggesting many younger Indigenous people are learning it as a second language.

The most commonly spoken Indigenous languages are: 
Cree (84,000 Canadians) Inuktitut (39,000) Ojibway (22,000)

There are 12 Indigenous language families covering 65 languages and dialects. Some of these languages are sign languages. Only the three Indigenous languages above have enough native speakers to be considered likely to survive long-term. Some of these languages are spoken by less than 1,000 people.

Two territories of Canada give official status to native languages. The Northwest Territories grants official status to 11 languages including English, French, Cree, Chipewyan, and Inuktitut. Nunavut grants official status to Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.

In addition to dozens or more languages introduced by immigrants to Canada over the last two hundred years, there are also many unique Canadian dialects of common European languages. The following are some examples: -- Canadian Gaelic spoken fluently by about 1,000 people in northwest Cape Breton, Nova Scotia that came from immigrants who spoke Scottish Gaelic. -- Newfoundland English, a West Country dialect introduced by the first European settlers in the area. -- Canadian Ukrainian, a distinct Ukrainian dialect of Western Canada spoken by descendants of separate Ukrainian immigrant waves.

Primary Languages

Name
English
Pop. Speaking
26,400,000
Dialects
Newfoundland English
Name
French
Pop. Speaking
10,070,000
Dialects
Acadian (Acadien), Franco-Ontarien, Québécois, Shippagan, Franco-Terreneuvien, Franco-Manitoban

Other Languages

Afrikaans
10,300
Akan
13,500
Amharic
22,500
Arabic
420,000
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
16,100
Bamanankan
1,540
Bengali
73,100
Bosnian
12,200
Bulgarian
20,000
Burmese
3,590
Cebuano
19,900
Central Tibetan
6,170
Chaldean Neo-Aramaic
5,550
Croatian
48,200
Czech
22,300
Danish
12,600
Dutch
103,000
Eastern Punjabi
502,000
Edo
1,670
Éwé
1,760
Finnish
15,300
Frisian
2,100
Ganda
1,300
Georgian
1,720
Greek
107,000
Gujarati
109,000
Haitian Creole
3,040
Hakka Chinese
10,900
Halh Mongolian
1,580
Harari
1,320
Hebrew
19,500
Hiligaynon
6,880
Hindi
111,000
Hungarian
61,200
Icelandic
1,290
Igbo
4,240
Ilocano
26,300
Iranian Persian
214,000
Italian
376,000
Japanese
43,600
Kabyle
13,200
Kannada
3,970
Khmer
20,100
Kinyarwanda
5,250
Konkani
3,330
Korean
153,000
Lao
12,700
Lingala
3,810
Lithuanian
7,080
Macedonian
16,800
Malay
12,300
Malayalam
28,600
Maltese
5,570
Mandarin Chinese
592,000
Marathi
8,300
Min Dong Chinese
1,240
Min Nan Chinese
31,800
Nepali
18,300
Northern Kurdish
11,700
Northern Pashto
16,900
Northern Uzbek
1,720
Norwegian
4,620
Odia
1,050
Pampangan
4,050
Pangasinan
1,390
Polish
182,000
Portuguese
222,000
Romanian
96,700
Rundi
5,850
Russian
188,000
Serbian
57,400
Shona
3,190
Sindhi
11,900
Sinhala
16,300
Slovak
17,600
Slovene
9,790
Somali
36,800
South Azerbaijani
3,260
Southeastern Dinka
2,120
Spanish
459,000
Standard Estonian
5,450
Standard Latvian
5,460
Swahili
13,400
Swedish
6,840
Tamil
141,000
Telugu
15,700
Thai
9,260
Tigrigna
16,600
Turkish
32,800
Ukrainian
102,000
Urdu
211,000
Uyghur
1,040
Vietnamese
156,000
Waray-Waray
1,110
Welsh
1,080
Wolof
3,990
Wu Chinese
12,900
Yoruba
9,090