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Look: Tagalog, the Fastest Growing Language in Canada


PhotoCredit: Mark Godilano Photography

When you ask most Filipino immigrants in Canada, they would tell you that they feel at home in Canada. This might surprise you as Canada is far from being like the Philippines. With the weather, culture and economy, the two countries would definitely be worlds apart. However, what makes it feel like home to most Filipinos is the number of fellow Filipinos they see around. The fellow Pinoys who they can speak to in Tagalog make it feel like home more than anything else.

In the 2011 census, Tagalog, being the official language of the Philippines, is the most popular immigrant mother tongue in Canada after Chinese. We have seen a huge growth in the numbers speaking Tagalog if we look at the 2016 census. Canada’s fastest-growing language is Tagalog.

Top languages other than English or French spoken at home. Census 2016

Tagalog is now the top immigrant language in the Prairies and the territories. The growth can be attributed to the fact that British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all signed memorandums of understanding with the Philippines to fill labour shortages in the provinces. These provinces really did recruiting heavily in the Philippines in the recent years.

European languages are seen to be losing dominance. For example, in 2011, German is the top-reported mother tongue in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (other than English or French). In 2016, it has been reported to be Tagalog.

If we look at the major cities though, it may be different. Other than English or French, Cantonese is the top language in Vancouver and Toronto, and Tagalog is the top in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

Nevertheless, the growth in the immigrant languages does not mean that they are replacing English or French. In fact, 70% of people who speak an immigrant language at home also speak English or French.

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