The fastest growing language in Canada is Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. The 2016 census shows the number of people speaking Tagalog in Canada grew 35% since the last census in 2011. Canadians still speak mostly English and French but now nearly one in four people report having another mother tongue and that’s not surprising considering immigration makes up most of Canada’s population growth. Mandarin is the top mother tongue after our two official languages followed by Cantonese and then Punjabi.
In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia the language most spoken at home other than English or French is Arabic, which is also the top unofficial language spoken in Quebec. In Ontario it’s Mandarin, in B.C. it’s Punjabi and here on the Prairies it’s Tagalog. There were 213 languages other than French and English reported in last year’s census with seven major ones including the ones already mentioned plus Spanish and Italian. What are noticeably missing are some European languages that are slowly losing their dominance. You didn’t hear me mention German or Ukrainian for example, or any of the Scandinavian languages. And all this doesn’t mean English and French are losing ground. 70% of immigrants who report a different mother tongue also speak one of our two official languages which will remain the dominant forms of language communication in Canada.