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7 April 2018 at 10:00am-4:00pm more

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Canada has two official languages: English and French. English is the most commonly spoken language in the majority of provinces and territories. Outside Quebec, 82 percent of Canadians speak English.

French is the main language spoken in Quebec and in some areas in Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba. In addition, there are French-speaking communities in most other parts of Canada. Quebec also has a large minority of English-speaking residents.

All official federal government services, publications and documents are available in both English and French.

The importance of language skills

Good English or French language skills are very important to help you settle in Canada. You may choose to focus on learning or improving either English or French. This will likely depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.

Strong English or French language skills are important for many reasons, such as:

  • Obtaining a job that matches your skills and experience;
  • Obtaining post-secondary education or training;
  • Accessing services;  
  • Helping your children with school work;
  • Meeting and interacting with people; and
  • Passing the language requirement for citizenship.

Language proficiency tests and certificates

There are some cases in which you may need (or want) to provide proof of your level of proficiency in either English or French (for example, when you apply for a visa, a job or entry into a university or college). In such cases, you should always check what type of proof is required. However, several language tests are widely recognized. They provide a certificate of language proficiency that can be used in a variety of situations. These tests and certificates are offered by independent organizations, not the Government of Canada. You can take these tests at locations across the country.

These are some of the most widely recognized English language tests and certificates:

These are some of the most widely recognized French language tests and certificates:

You can also get information on these tests and the certificates they provide from some government language assessment centres or from private language schools.

Source: Welcome to Canada: What you should know

www.cic.gc.caCitizenship and Immigration Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013.