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Socioeconomic Analysis of Official Languages Communities Based on 2001 Census Data at the Dissemination Area (DA) Scale

Table of contents


Introduction

The purpose of this report on national findings is to summarize and group together differences in the variables studied for majority and minority linguistic communities in the five Canadian regions identified by Industry Canada: the Atlantic Region, the Quebec Region, the Ontario Region, the Prairies and Northern Region, and the Pacific and Yukon Region. Readers wanting to learn more about a given region may refer to the regional reports, which are more exhaustive and detailed. Each regional report contains its own exhaustive analyses and recommendations specific to each region. First and foremost, this national report is a comparison of regions intended to establish a more comprehensive portrait of the similarities and differences in the socioeconomic status of linguistic minorities in Canada.

Linguistic duality and the enhanced vitality of official language minorities remain central to Canada’s national identity. This identity is embodied in the presence of minority linguistic and cultural communities, some of which were established generations ago, while in other instances, the minority’s presence is harder to discern (as is the case with those living in urban agglomerations). Our representation of the socioeconomic situation of the "minority" often arises from premises or piecemeal studies that examine variables in isolation. Other fields of research have built up a more complete body of knowledge, and much progress has been made in research areas related to minority education, language and cultural identity in Canada. However, there are still many gaps in our understanding of the socioeconomic situation of linguistic minorities and this is the starting point of this research work.

As a department with an economic vocation, Industry Canada wants to be a leader in the Government of Canada’s efforts to contribute to the economic development of official language minority communities (OLMCs). Industry Canada’s strategic planning and its policy and program development factor in the specific needs of OLMCs. Favourable reactions to the Department’s many initiatives by regional partners and the communities confirm that the Department is working in the right direction.

One major achievement in the past year is the production of a DVD with interactive maps showing the location of OLMCs across Canada. This tool will provide a more complete statistical picture of these communities to help the Department direct its future initiatives. To act effectively and to implement section 41 of the Official Languages Act, Industry Canada chose to continue creating knowledge with respect to minority linguistic communities by more clearly examining the socioeconomic status illustrated in the DVD through the comparison of majority and minority linguistic communities at the local level.

Mandate

The Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration (hereinafter the Institute) was mandated by Industry Canada to analyze 2001 Census data from Statistics Canada on official language minority communities (OLMCs) in Canada at the dissemination area scale. The main objective of this analysis was to determine whether there are differences in the socioeconomic situation of OLMCs and their neighbouring majority linguistic communities. Industry Canada wanted to further specify the research efforts it had made when developing the parameters of the Government of Canada’s first Action Plan for Official Languages in 2004. The research results must therefore fuel the Department’s reflection in its positioning with regard to the Government of Canada’s future strategy for official languages and OLMCs.

In an effort to further the Department’s 2004 processes undertaken to establish the Canadian government’s first action plan, Industry Canada chose this time to use the smallest census unit, that is, the dissemination area (DA), where there are significant differences between Francophones and Anglophones with respect to certain variables of the 2001 Census. Motivated by the desire to conduct a more in-depth analysis than that of Industry Canada at the larger census subdivision scale in 2004, the research team chose as an underlying assumption that differences would certainly be recognizable at the smaller DA scale. Therefore, using databanks provided by Industry Canada, we performed the statistical analyses that led to the results presented in the following pages.


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Data

The information and data on the socioeconomic profile of official language minority communities (OLMCs) used in this research are drawn from Statistics Canada’s 2001 Census. To analyze the economic profile and vitality of OLMCs compared with the majority population, we extracted Statistics Canada data on Francophones and Anglophones (mother tongue and first official language) in OLMCs and in the overall population for the following areas:

  1. age
  2. unemployment
  3. citizenship
  4. education and main areas of study
  5. jobs and industries
  6. marital status
  7. average income
  8. immigration and mobility
  9. language
  10. place of birth
  11. place of residence and work (commuting)
  12. ethnic origin
  13. occupation
  14. religion
  15. distribution of income
  16. self-employment
  17. unpaid work

Since some of the areas above are not part of the Canadian government’s scope of intervention, or are not deemed to have a direct impact on socioeconomic development (marital status, language, place of birth, ethnic origin, religion and unpaid work), they were not retained as part of this research. Statistical data on the above areas, other than those not selected, were examined for the minority population based on first official language spoken, i.e., the official language currently spoken that, in most cases, the respondent learned first. For the purposes of statistical representativeness, the socioeconomic variables for the official language minority population were analyzed based on mother tongue. A comparison of the statistical results obtained based on first official language spoken and mother tongue did not show any significant differences. Therefore, from the perspective of first official language spoken and mother tongue, the socioeconomic profile of the minority population does not differ enough to change the research conclusions. To avoid redundancy in our analyses, we will therefore present only those for mother tongue. Readers are advised that these analyses are similar for the other category.

Methodology

To analyze the socioeconomic profile of OLMCs and highlight the differences between Francophone and Anglophone communities, it is important to specify three aspects of the work method. The first is the scale of analysis. The purpose of this research is to analyze OLMCs at the dissemination area (DA) scale, which is the smallest scale of spatial analysis used by Statistics Canada. A DA is a neighbourhood in a small city, or a few blocks in a big city. This scale of analysis allows for greater precision or as much detail as possible in terms of the economic vitality of OLMCs. The DAs selected to make up the OLMCs studied here are those with a population that consisted of at least 5% of the official language minority. These DAs represent about one-quarter of the 44,000 DAs in Canada. The DAs that meet this criterion were amalgamated to form the OLMC DAs examined in our study.

It should be noted that many DAs were not selected because the minority did not make up 5% of the population. However, in exact figures, these excluded DAs may have represented several hundred people. This methodological limitation means that our results may not accurately reflect the entire minority population in OLMCs. Nevertheless, in total, about 90% of all linguistic minorities across Canada live in the 11,000 DAs that meet our 5% criterion. As such, the sample is very reliable and representative.

A second limitation with regard to the source of data stems from the fact that the variables for which we compiled 2001 Census data from Statistics Canada are from the “long” census form. The long census form was distributed to a sample that corresponds to 20% of the total Canadian population. By definition, a census concerns the entire population, whereas a sample represents only a portion of the population. As such, even if the conclusions stemming from this sample can be generalized for the entire population, because the sample is representative, this generalization can sometimes lead to certain distortions between the reality expressed by our statistical analyses and that found for the country as a whole. In any case, the fact that over 90% of all minorities live in the studied OLMC DAs considerably reduces the error margin. Nevertheless, the census responses are those obtained by only 20% of this 90%.

The third aspect that must be specified with regard to the work method concerns the types of analyses produced to process statistical data to compare Francophones in the studied DAs with Anglophones in the same DAs, as well as to compare Francophones and Anglophones throughout the region. There are two such analyses. The first consists of comparing the weight of the official language minority population—that is, the number they represent in the population of the studied DAs, but also in the population of the regions—and the weight of the majority population in these same geographical regions in terms of their respective weight in the various socioeconomic variables studied. Any positive or negative deviation in the representativeness of the minority in the various categories of the socioeconomic variables studied in this document help highlight the differences that characterize the socioeconomic profile of the official language minority in OLMCs and the region in comparison with the majority.


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Analysis of differences

This section presents a national portrait of statistically significant differences between the linguistic minority and majority in the official language minority communities (OLMCs) of Canada’s five major regions. The tables in this section allow us to identify observations at the national level, that is, observations that characterize the socioeconomic development of official language minorities in Canada’s five major regions in the study at the dissemination area scale selected for this research. To this end, of the eight major socioeconomic variables analyzed, six help define the national portrait of official language minorities. To facilitate comparing and reading national comparisons, the symbols in the tables are explained below:Footnote 1

+: The linguistic minority is over-represented compared with the majority for the variable studied.

-: The linguistic minority is under-represented compared with the majority for the variable studied.

‡ : There is no significant difference between the two linguistic communities for the variable studied.

Age structure

Age Structure
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Age Structure
Age 0-14
Age 15-29 +
Age 30-39 +
Age 40-49 + + +
Age 50-64 + + + +
Age 65-74 + + + +
Age 75-84 + + + +
Age 85 and Over + + + +

The second variable, education, shows that across the country, proportionately more minority Francophones than Anglophones have not finished Grade 9. At the upper end of the education scale (university level), Canada’s minority Francophones are under-represented: proportionately fewer have earned a university degree or certificate. These data show that Canada’s minority Francophones are less educated than majority Anglophone populations.

Education

Education
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Education
Less than Grade 9 + + + +
High School +
Trade +
CollegeFootnote 2 +
UniversityFootnote 3 +

The second variable, education, shows that across the country, proportionately more minority Francophones than Anglophones have not finished Grade 9. At the upper end of the education scale (university level), Canada’s minority Francophones are under-represented: proportionately fewer have earned a university degree or certificate. These data show that Canada’s minority Francophones are less educated than majority Anglophone populations.

Industry

Industry
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Industry
Primary
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting + + + + +
Mines, petroleum and gas + +
Secondary
Manufacturing + + - - -
Tertiary (service)Footnote 4 +
Tertiary (motor)Footnote 5 +
Unemployment rateFootnote 6 + + -
Self-employment rate/
Entrepreneurship
Footnote 7
+

Industry, the third variable, shows that Canada’s minority Francophones are systematically over-represented, or that proportionately more minority Francophones than majority Anglophones confine themselves to the agriculture, forestry or fishing sector. This reality may be of concern to Canada’s minority Francophones, particularly in the Atlantic Region, since they are more represented than majority Anglophones in industrial sectors with little focus on value-added or sectors in crisis (forestry and softwood crisis and overfished stocks in the fishing sector, for example). Other than the Pacific and Yukon Region, where Francophone representation is equal to that of the Anglophone majority, Canada’s minority Francophones are under-represented in the pivotal tertiary (motor) economic sector, which has a steadfast focus on strong value-added. This is another potentially worrisome finding for the socioeconomic development of Canada’s Francophone minorities - a finding that, as with education, demands intervention by public authorities. The industrial sectors in which linguistic minorities are over- or under-represented condition, to a fair extent, the occupational directions of these minorities, depending on the industrial sectors in which they are concentrated, hence the interest of studying the career fields of the minority.

Occupations

Occupations
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Occupations
Management +
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations +
Occupations specific to the primary sector + + + + +
Processing, manufacturing and utilities + +

Given the above findings, it is no surprise that Canada’s minority Francophones are more represented in occupations specific to the primary sector and under-represented in occupations specific to the tertiary (motor) sector (Management and Natural and applied sciences and related occupations). In the latter case, the Pacific and Yukon Region is again an exception, since its Francophone minority is represented in these two career fields equally with the Anglophone majority.

Immigration

Immigration
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Immigration +

Immigration, another variable that shapes the socioeconomic development of Canadian linguistic minorities, shows a lower proportion of Francophone immigration in all Canadian regions outside Quebec. In other words, Francophone immigration does not enable the minority Francophone population to increase its numbers, all proportions considered, compared with the Anglophone population. As such, Francophone populations outside Quebec tend to become diluted or assimilated by the majority Anglophone population. Francophone immigration in Canadian regions outside Quebec is another important area of intervention for public authorities.

Income

Income
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
Income
Low income ($2,000–$24,999) + + + 0
Middle income ($30,000–$74,999)   - + 0
High income ($75,000 and over) - + - - -

Income is the last variable that enables us to create a national portrait of OLMCs. Our data illustrate that there are proportionately more minority Francophones in Canada than majority Anglophones in the low-income group ($2,000–$24,999). The Ontario Region and the Pacific and Yukon Region are exceptions, since Francophones are represented equally with Anglophones in this income group. Conversely, Canada’s minority Francophones are systematically under-represented in the high-income group ($75,000 and over). Since income is closely tied to occupation and the economic or industrial sector in which the studied populations are active, public interventions in the industrial sector (ex. assisting with the shift toward value-added in natural resource industries like forestry, fishing and agriculture) should lead to changes in occupational conditions and, ultimately, to the income of Canada’s Francophone minorities.

Overview of significant differences by region

Overview of significant differences by region
Variables / Regional DAs Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairies and
North
Pacfic and
Yukon
1. Age Structure
Age 0-14
Age 15-29 +
Age 30-39 +
Age 40-49 + + +
Age 50-64 + + + +
Age 65-74 + + + +
Age 75-84 + + + +
Age 85 and Over + + + +
2. Education
Less than Grade 9 + + + +
High School +
Trade +
CollegeFootnote 2 +
UniversityFootnote 3 +
Industry
Primary
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting + + + + +
Mines, petroleum and gas + +
Secondary
Manufacturing + + - - -
Tertiary (service)Footnote 4 +
Tertiary (motor)Footnote 5 +
4. Occupations
Management +
Natural and applied sciences and related occupations +
Occupations specific to the primary sector + + + + +
Processing, manufacturing and utilities + +
5. Unemployment rateFootnote 6 + + -
6. Self-employment rate/
Entrepreneurship
Footnote 7
+
7. Immigration +
8. Income
Low income ($2,000–$24,999) + + + 0
Middle income ($30,000–$74,999)   - + 0
High income ($75,000 and over) - + - - -

At a more regional scale of analysis, all the data in this report’s tables show that Quebec’s Anglophone minority is quite singular. Unlike Francophone minorities in the country’s various regions, Anglophones in Quebec fare better overall than Francophone minorities in terms of the socioeconomic variables studied. With regard to age structure, Anglophones are represented equally with Francophones in Quebec in the youngest age groups (age 0–29) and under-represented or equally represented with respect to the majority in the 40-74 age groups. This under-representation in the baby boom generation stems from a significant migration of Anglophones in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, Anglophones are over-represented in the 75-and-over age groups.

As for education, proportionately fewer minority Anglophones than majority Francophones in Quebec have less than a Grade 9 education. Also, Quebec Anglophones are over-represented at the university level (having earned a university degree or certificate). In industry, although Anglophones are over-represented compared with Quebec Francophones in agriculture, the Anglophone minority is over-represented in the manufacturing and tertiary (motor) sectors, two key sectors for economic development. It is logical, then, for Anglophones in Quebec to be over-represented in occupations related to these major economic activity sectors (Processing, manufacturing and utilities; Management; Natural and applied sciences and related occupations).

Immigration is another variable in which Quebec Anglophones perform better than minority Francophones. In fact, the high proportion of Anglophone immigrants increases the minority population with respect to the province’s majority, which is not the case in any other Canadian region where Francophones are a minority. Finally, in terms of income, Quebec Anglophones are over-represented compared with Francophones in the low-income group ($2,000–$24,999) and under-represented in the middle-income group ($25,000–$74,999). On the other hand, the minority is over-represented in the high-income group ($75,000 and over). The unemployment rate is another discordant note that must be factored into the socioeconomic development of Quebec’s Anglophone minority: their unemployment rate is higher than that of Francophones in Quebec and elsewhere.

As such, Quebec Anglophones are the official language minority with the best performance overall in terms of the socioeconomic variables studied at the national level. At the other extreme, the linguistic minority in the Atlantic Region presents the least optimistic picture.

As illustrated in Table 1, Francophones in this region are under-represented compared with Anglophones in the youngest age groups (age 0–29) and systematically over-represented in the 39–and-over age groups. For education, proportionately more Atlantic Francophones than Anglophones have less than a Grade 9 education. Francophones are also under-represented at all other levels of education (high school, trade school, college and university). It is therefore not surprising to findagain, based on the tables presented earlier that Atlantic Francophones are segregated in industries with low value-added (agriculture, forestry, fishing) and in manufacturing sectors that are in crisis (softwood, pulp and paper, fishing). Given this situation, it is not surprising to find them over-represented in occupations specific to the primary sector, as well as in processing and manufacturing jobs. To the extent that Francophones are concentrated in low value-added industrial sectors and/or industrial sectors in crisis, it is no surprise that the unemployment rate is higher among Francophones than Anglophones. Finally, the outcome of this economic situation characteristic of Atlantic Francophones is that they are more concentrated than Anglophones in the low-income group ($2,000–$24,999) and are under-represented in the middle-income group ($25,000–$74,999) and high-income group ($75,000 and over).


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Conclusion

The purpose of this research was to determine how the socioeconomic performance of official language minority communities (OLMCs) compares with that of majority communities in regions where the two live side by side. The data exclude regions where the majority is relatively alone or where the minority is negligible, i.e., where it represents less than 5% of the region’s population. The data clearly show that the socioeconomic performance of minority Francophones is lower than that of their Anglophone neighbours, whereas the socioeconomic performance of Quebec Anglophones is higher than that of their Francophone neighbours. However, it should be specified that the data do not allow for comparison of urban and rural areas or age groups. The first variable could have specified whether Anglophones in Quebec, for example, fare better than Francophones in Montreal and whether their performance is equal to or lower than that of Quebec Francophones in regions where Anglophones are concentrated (for example, the North Shore or the Eastern Townships). The second could have specified whether the differences fade with age or whether the difference in our analyses narrows with the younger generations. In both cases, the data might suggest other analyses and more precise, or nuanced, recommendations.

The research also had a second purpose: where there are significant differences between the two official language communities at the socioeconomic level, identify the positive measures that Industry Canada can take to reduce the gaps. The socioeconomic variables studied using 2001 Census data sketch an accurate portrait of the differences between official language minority and majority communities across the country, in regions and dissemination areas where minorities represent at least 5% of residents. However, some of these variables are not easily manageable by the State. Macroscopically, world competition and certain economic fluctuations have contributed to the decline of certain primary sectors, notably the forestry and fishing industries. These are the sectors in which Francophones outside Quebec (except Ontario) are over-represented. Amplified by a stronger concentration in less attractive occupations in these more vulnerable sectors, and less schooling, this over-representation translates into lower income. Unfortunately, there is no “magic button” the Canadian government can push to remedy the situation. Another example: government transfer revenues reduce the gaps in the incomes of Francophones and Anglophones. One logic would dictate that the federal government should increase these transfers to minorities, but such an approach seems discriminatory and contrary to minority self-sufficiency. As such, the following recommendations were formulated with realism in mind and are intended to foster reflection by Industry Canada.

Recommendation 1:

Since Francophone OLMCs (except in Ontario) are over-represented in primary industries, which are in decline and more vulnerable to the ups and downs of the world market, Industry Canada should, (a) in partnership with Francophone entrepreneurs and Francophone community economic development organizations (chambers of commerce, Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité/RDÉEs), establish or support businesses that aim to transform these resources into finished (value-added) products, and (b) in partnership with Francophone educational and post-secondary institutions in each region, and provincial and federal partners, develop strategies for basic education (high school diploma) and specialized training (certificates, diplomas) in entrepreneurship and secondary occupations.

Recommendation 2:

Since young members of OLMCs in Quebec and elsewhere earn less and are at a slight disadvantage in many regards in comparison to their majority colleagues, and since these young people tend to leave their community more than do members of the majority, Industry Canada should invest more in entrepreneurship among minority young people, especially in the knowledge economy. A partnership with the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDÉE) and the Comités d'employabilité et de développement économique communautaire (CÉDEC), which target these two niches, is therefore necessary. Since RDÉEs and CÉDECs do not have funds for business start-up, for example, Industry Canada should create and administer a special fund to help minority young people start businesses. This should be a 10-year initiative.

Recommendation 3:

Since important questions remain unanswered because of the structure of databanks and the scale of dissemination areas (DAs), which is often too small, Industry Canada should continue its research initiatives, notably by repeating the research but modifying it as follows:

  1. Update the analyses conducted by the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration with the new 2006 data on OLMCs recently produced by Statistics Canada.
  2. Conduct the analysis by province rather than by region. Community organizations have proposed this and we find it perfectly appropriate. Although the five regions analyzed serve Industry Canada’s administrative needs, they are too large and encompass too many differences for a meaningful analysis
  3. Add an historical perspective to determine whether the gaps are narrowing, widening or alternating between the two. Therefore, compare the 2006 data with earlier census data, particularly those following the federal government’s intervention with OLMCs further to the recommendations made by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. We suggest comparing the data of 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2006. We also suggest repeating the analysis after each quinquennial census. This is the best source of data for measuring the socioeconomic growth of minority and majority official language communities.
  4. Add important variables to the multivariate analysis—notably differences between rural and urban areas and age groups—that cannot be processed with data at the DAs level. These additions would allow us to determine whether these variables affect differences in socioeconomic variables such as education, income, education and occupation. Industry Canada’s regional committees strongly suggested a comparison of rural and urban regions and of age groups.
  5. Conduct a document review and a synthesis of comparable socioeconomic data from other departments (Canadian Heritage, HRSDC) and organizations (RDÉE, Fédération canadienne d’alphabétisation) for a more comprehensive, less "static" picture.
  6. Use census subdivisions as a unit of analysis instead of DAs. This unit appears to be more useful. First, census subdivisions bring together all members of a community’s minority (and majority) who are not in the specific DAs analyzed but are part of the same municipality. Thus, the minority sample will be more reliable and representative. Second, census subdivisions allow for comparisons with other work carried out at this scale without hiding the significant differences we have identified. Finally, census subdivisions correspond to municipalities whereas DAs have no reality other than for census purposes. The federal government’s positive measures are therefore easier to apply if a municipal institution is involved, with or without the collaboration of the province or territory in question.

Recommendation 4:

Industry Canada should collaborate with other federal departments with a socioeconomic mandate that are active with respect to the important variables discussed in this report. Industry Canada is the federal leader in economic matters, but this department is not alone. Immigration and post-secondary training, for example, fall to other federal institutions. Regional economic development agencies (ACOA, WD, FedNor) are other essential partners. Industry Canada should therefore initiate a co-development process with all federal institutions whose mandate requires them to take positive measures in favour of OLMCs at the socioeconomic level to harmonize and build upon their respective interventions. We believe this collaborative effort within the federal administration should precede an external effort in which provincial and territorial governments and community organizations are invited to the table. In June 2005, the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones organized a summit on French-language education in Canada’s OLMCs. Industry Canada, in partnership with other federal institutions, could organize a summit on the economy in Canadian OLMCs.


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