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Canadians who speak both English and French have higher salaries: census data

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Canadians who speak both English and French make more money, according to 2021 Statistics Canada census data published last week.

The average income for people who could speak both English and French in Canada added up to $60,550, almost 10 per cent higher than the average for people who spoke just English at $55,250 and about 40 per cent higher than those who spoke just French at $43,040.

The income gaps, while varying, could be seen in every Canadian province, with the most pronounced difference found in cities in Quebec.

According to the census data, a speaker of both English and French in Montreal earned 40 per cent more on average than a person who spoke only one of these languages.

Regardless if employees spoke only one of the language, both groups in Montreal earned an average of $43,280 annually versus their peers who spoke both languages, who earned an average of $60,650.

In Toronto, employees who spoke just English earned an average of $59,600, while English-and-French-speaking employees earned an average of $78,400, representing an almost 32 per cent difference.

Among other provinces, cities in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Manitoba had the biggest income gaps between those who spoke both English and French and those who spoke only one of them.

Further data shows a decline in French speakers across the country.

A different 2021 StatCan census found that the proportion of Canadians who list French as their mother tongue decreased between 2016 and 2021 in all provinces except Yukon.

There was also an increased linguistic diversity in Canada, with a record set this year for the number of Canadians whose mother tongue was neither English nor French.

Speaking both English and French, despite bringing higher income advancement, is on the decline in all provinces in Canada except Quebec, according to Statistics Canada.

The percentage of people who spoke English and French in Quebec increased from 44.5 to 46.4 per cent in 2016, and the three Canadian cities with the highest rates of people who spoke both English and French were Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec City.

The release of the census data follows Quebec's adoption of a new language law that limits access to bilingual services provided by the provincial government.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault faced backlash in June for raising the alarm about a fall in the proportion of individuals who speak French at home.

With files from Canadian Press

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