Are you moving to Canada and wondering how important it is to know English?
English or French language skills are very important to help you settle in Canada. You may choose to focus on learning or improving one or the other. This will likely depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.
English is one of Canada’s two official languages. According to the 2018 Canadian census, English is the mother tongue of approximately 19.5 million people, or 57 per cent of the population, and the first official language of about 26 million people, or 75 per cent of the Canadian population.
English is the majority language in every Canadian province and territory except Quebec (which has a French-speaking majority) and Nunavut (which has an Inuit language majority who speak Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun). In Quebec, English is the mother tongue of 8.1 percent of the population, and the first official language of 13.7 percent of the population.
Even where English is the majority language, it often coexists with other languages. In Toronto and Vancouver, high levels of immigration from non–English-speaking countries have reduced the proportion of native speakers of English to just over half of the metropolitan population. It should also be remembered that not all native speakers of English in Canada are native speakers of Canadian English; some are immigrants who grew up in other English-speaking countries and therefore speak other types of English. In the discussion that follows, Canadian English will be taken to mean the type of English spoken by people who acquired native competence in English while growing up mostly in Canada.
That’s why the lack of English can make it difficult to become an active, happy member of Canadian society. While there are many close-knit groups in cities like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver and plenty of newcomers who thrive within their own communities, these people may not have all the same opportunities as other Canadians.
If you are a foreign national who wishes to come to Canada to study, work, or settle, you may encounter situations where Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada requires you to meet the language requirements for either English or French, which are Canada’s two official languages. English is the most commonly spoken language in most provinces and territories. French is the main language spoken in Quebec and in some areas of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba. That being said, the Canadian government offers all official federal government services, publications and documents in both English and French. In order to allow you to adjust to Canadian life, you must be proficient in either English or French to be able to effectively communicate with people. In this blog, you will learn about the importance of language skills, as well as some ways to improve your language skills.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING LANGUAGE SKILLS
In Canada, there are many benefits that are associated with having strong English or French skills. Being proficient in either language will help you: get a job get accepted by a Canadian school access services meet and talk to people get your Permanent Residency or Canadian Citizenship Since there are so many benefits, it is important for you to take steps to improve your French or English while you are still in your home country and, of course, as soon as you arrive in Canada. If you already speak an official language, you may consider learning the other. In Canada, having strong skills in both English and French is a huge advantage for finding a job and participating in your community.
Language skills for work can be drastically different from language skills for immigration. In other words, the English or French skills you need to be eligible to work may not be strong enough for immigration.
Most regulated jobs and trades require you to:
- be fluent, in terms of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, in English or French
- have a strong knowledge of all work-related terminologies
- understand phrases or expressions used, some of which may be unique to Canada
You may want to consider attending language classes or looking for programs that offer language training for your employment.
HOW DO YOU PROVE YOUR LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
The most straight-forward way to demonstrate your English and/or French skills is to take approved language tests. After you take the language tests, you will receive your test results or a certificate. The certificate is especially useless for school applications or job applications.
There are several language tests that are widely accepted. For English, you may take the following English language tests and certificates:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (universities and colleges usually need this)
For French, you make take the following French language tests and certificates:
- Test d’évaluation de français (TEF)
- Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF)
To find out what the language requirements for admission to Canadian universities or for immigration are, contact our team! We will be happy to assist you!
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