The Official Languages Act of 1969 is a law that gives both French and English equal status in the eyes of the Canadian government. French, however, is still largely underrepresented throughout commerce, business, media, education and most other segments of Canadian society. Unequal population distribution in favor of native Anglophones is a crucial contributing factor.
The Department of Canadian Heritage has found that in 2001, 17.5 million or 59.3 % of Canadians spoke English as their first language. Only 6.7 million or 22.7 of Canada’s population considered French to be their first language-this is not to mention all other languages that Canada’s multicultural, and largely immigrant, people speak as their mother tongue.
Most (85.3%) of Canada’s Francophones reside in Quebec; along with sizeable communities of them in Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
These findings also show that only 17.7% of Canada’s population could count as bilingual. This means that less than a fifth of Canadians can speak both English and French fluently. Public opinion among British Columbians demonstrates that 59% were in favor of Bilingualism in their province. More emphasis should be placed on the French language throughout BC’s schools and public institutions. So why not start now?
With the Explore Program, live the Canadian experiences and discover a whole different side to Canada: The French side. Not only are Explore Summer programs free of charge for postsecondary students who are Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents, participants could also receive a $2,000 bursary during your five-week stay in Quebec that covers tuition, accommodation and meals. Some schools also give you credits for having taken the Explore summer program.
Hurry up and apply before the deadline approaches (on February 28th, 2011) by visiting www.myexplore.ca/en or by calling 1-877-866-4242 to inquire about important dates and eligibility requirements.
By signing up for Explore, you could spend a fun summer among youths from all across Canada, get extra University credits and overall become a better Canadian!
By Jamal Saad