Rate of bilingual English-French Canadians declines as immigration grows

Canada's statistics reporting agency says the bilingual English-French portion of Canada's population is on the decline as immigration increases.

Statistics Canada reported this week that English-French bilingualism declined over the past decade to 17.5 percent of Canada's population, down from 17.7 percent. It was the first drop in the five decades that the government has tracked the statistic.

English and French are Canada's official languages.

The agency noted that outside of French-speaking Quebec, the proportion of primary and secondary school students enrolled in French courses has declined. The number of immigrants whose mother tongue was neither English nor French has increased.

But in Quebec, unlike in the rest of Canada, more immigrants are speaking both French and English than native-born Canadians.

Quebec recorded the largest increase in bilingual French-English speakers.