English and French Proficiency Indicate Greater Potential for Success in Canada
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English and French Proficiency Indicate Greater Potential for Success in Canada

Ashley Shelton



English and French Proficiency

The 2021 Canadian census, published in Q4 2022, stated that nearly 90% of immigrants who came to Canada between 2016 and 2021 could communicate in either English or French. Even though 69.4% of this population claimed non-official languages as their mother tongue, 92.7% of them claimed to be able to communicate in one of Canada’s two official languages.

Additionally, according to census data, 62.3% of recent immigrants whose mother tongue is a non-official language reported speaking either English or French at home, either by themselves or in combination with another language.

Significance of Official Language in Canada

The ability to communicate in at least one official language has traditionally been an indicator that immigrants to Canada are more likely to succeed there. This is demonstrated by the Comprehensive Ranking System’s (CRS) emphasis on candidates’ fluency in official languages while evaluating their Express Entry applications.

Canada gives priority to candidates for Express Entry who can converse, speak, read, and write in either English or French as both languages are one of the main immigration routes to this nation. In actuality, CRS scoring awards Express Entry applicants a maximum of 320 (with spouse/partner) or 310 (without spouse/partner) points for first official language competency. This means that a person’s CRS score can be considerably impacted by their proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages.

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Language Proficiency – Key Factor for recent newcomers to Canada

According to the above-mentioned news that Canadian immigrants are more qualified than ever to prosper in Canada given their increased proficiency in both English and French. According to a Statistics Canada analysis from March 2020, language proficiency is a key component in enhancing immigrants’ short-, medium-, and long-term incomes.


According to StatsCan data, persons who spoke English as their first language but were native speakers of a non-official language earned 29% less than those who spoke native English or French within the first one to two years after arriving in Canada. This would imply that between 2016 and 2021, new immigrants are more likely to make more money if they speak English or French more fluently than those who cannot do so. Also, the same holds true throughout the long run and medium term. In the medium-term window, research participants who were native speakers of either of Canada’s official languages earned 42% more money than non-native speakers, and their earnings over the long run increased by 35%. Again, it stands to reason that the 92.7% of recent immigrants who fall into this category have a higher likelihood of success in Canada as a result of their ability to have a conversation in either English or French.

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