Myths Debunked

Fallacy or Fact?

Below you will find some common sentiments that are presented as facts but have no basis in reality. Click on the myth below to find out why they are not factual:

Lets us put to bed the myth of the wealthy Anglophone. Two key-terms are useful for understanding the plight of the community: missing-middle and the missing-out-middle. The English-speaking community is defined by a declining population, an aging population, and what is described as the “missing-middle” with a low proportion of people aged 15-44 and a “missing-out-middle” having, on average, lower levels of income and employment than their French-speaking counterparts. English-speaking Montrealers earn 5000$ less a year than a Francophone. In the Eastern Townships, English-speaking youth earn 4000$ a year than French-speakers their age with the same education and 51% of English-speaking women are out of the workforce. English-speaking Quebecers are substantially poorer than Francophones, with 38.5% of English-speakers earning under 20,000 dollars annually vs. 31.8% for Francophones. There are fewer high-income Anglophones, with 26.3% earning more than 50,000$ a year vs. 28.6% for Francophones. The portion of the Anglophone population below the low-income cut-off is 17.8% vs. 11.8% French-speakers. In regards to median income, Anglophone men earn 29,405$ to 31,412$ for Francophone males. English-speaking women are slightly advantaged at 20,982$ to 20,351$ for Francophones. The proposed changes will only compound these issues and penalize a population that requires assistance and understanding.

English-speaking Quebecers are at once extremely well-educated, and also have a higher rate of low education. Of Anglophones aged 25-44, 26.4% have a high school degree or less vs. 23.9% for French-speakers. Overall, 40.7% vs. 41.2% English-speakers vs. French-speakers have low educational attainment, slightly less than Francophones. English-speakers are also much more likely to have a high educational attainment, with 29.6% having a university degree or better vs. 19.2% of Francophones. Of those aged 25-44, 42.7% of English-speakers vs. 29.5% of French-speakers have a higher education.

In regards to percentage of Anglophones in the labour force, 65.2% are working vs. 64.3% of Francophones. However, unemployment is greater for Anglophones despite this, with 8.9% of English-speaker unemployed vs. 6.9% of Francophones. The level of bilingualism for English-speakers is high, with 69% of English-speakers being bilingual, and the cohort that is ages 15-24 being 79% bilingual and 24-64 being 74% bilingual.

Another critical aspect are the English-speakers whom have left Quebec. Their presence, or lack thereof, is felt at our dinner tables, social gatherings and workplaces. Over 50% of mother-tongue English have left Quebec compared to only 4% of Francophones. Quebec Anglophones are much more likely to have graduated from university (+46%), to have a Master’s degree (+51%) and are substantially more likely to hold a doctoral degree (+32%) than other Canadians in the ROC. They are also much less likely than other Canadians to be without a high school graduation certificate. “This exodus of Quebec Anglophones during their best working years constitutes a real loss of human capital for the English-speaking communities of Quebec, and also a loss of know-how for Quebec society as a whole.” The unemployment rate for Anglophones who stayed in Quebec was twice that of the Quebec Anglophones now living in other provinces (4.3%).

Let us look at other official linguistic communities in Canada. Comparatively, only Franco-Newfoundlanders have less rate of retention to their home province. Francophones living in PEI, NS, NB, Manitoba have higher retention rates than Anglophones. Socio-economically, Franco-Ontarians earn up to 6,000$ a year more that non-francophones in Ontario and Franco-Albertans incomes are on par with the majority.

Something is seriously wrong. A highly educated, bilingual population that is significantly poorer, more unemployed despite higher workforce participation rates and a majority of them with high skills have left for greener pastures robbing everyone of their talents. What is the reasonable conclusion for this anomaly? Systemic discrimination against English-speakers in Quebec in labour markets, at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of jurisdiction. What factors cause this? Barriers to entry exist to the language of work, workplaces, and overt discrimination to hiring non-francophones.

We need to correct this. The federal and provincial governments needs to commit to progressive employment programs for English-speaking Quebecers to ameliorate a socio-economic situation that exists for not other linguistic group in the country. It is costing us precious human capital and, more importantly, human dignity.

Supporting documentation can be found on our downloads page.

The intellectual, legal and rhetorical underpinnings of restrictive language laws are held together by one unassailable myth: that French is threatened in Quebec. Statistics from Statistics Canada, the Conseil supérieur de la langue française and the Office québécois de la langue française all show the expansion of French and French-speakers. Never, in human history, have more people (95%) spoken French in what is now Quebec. While there are minor declines in the percentage of mother-tongue Francophones in Quebec, these gains are associated with an expanding Allophone population through immigration. Over 75% of these individuals are acculturated into French-language, culture, and educational institutions. Francophones earn more than English-speakers, and occupy technical, business and professional positions across the province. They make up 97.3% of the civil service. The status of francophones is socio-economically superior to that of anglophones and other minority groups, a situation reversed from 50 years ago.
Supporting documentation can be found on our downloads page.

Federal labour jurisdictions are not an anglicizing force in Quebec. The vast majority of these workers work in French, and have the right to do so. There now exists 3 separate legal regimes for these workers. There are 171,000 employees under federal jurisdiction in Quebec, representing 4.4% of all employees in Quebec. These employees fall under three separate regimes, whether public or private workplaces; under OLA regulated ones, ones that are voluntarily regulated by provincial language laws, and ones that that are not regulated by any linguistic legal regime. Employees work in federal jurisdictions of international and inter-provincial transport (air, rail, road, and marine) and pipelines, telecommunications and radio broadcasting, banking, nuclear industries and Crown corporations such as Via Rail and Canada Post. Of these workers, 36,400 are subject to the OLA, under current or former Crown corporations. These workers have their rights to work in English and French respected. The remaining 134,600 employees work at 1,760 companies not under a language law. Of these companies, 38% have chosen to obtain a francization certificate from the OQLF (*shudder*), and they employ 63,411 people, or 55% of employees not subject to the OLA. Some big names have acquiesced to Bill 101: Bell Canada, Rogers, National Bank, RBC, CIBC, TD, and Scotiabank. Recent census reports that 95.8% of all Francophone Quebecers reporting using French at work “most often,” 0.8% never use French and 70% never use English at work. 71% of employees in federally regulated businesses in the Montreal area work mainly in French, with 20% working in English. For the completely unregulated businesses, information is imperfect, but the survey and study show that, “French seems to be the language of work and of internal communications in federal jurisdiction private-sector companies in Quebec, and that employees in these businesses can generally work in French and have access to work tools in French.”  

So, definitively the language of work in Quebec is French. Changes to the current ‘triple entente’ will actually work to diminish the language of work in exclusively French and the right to work in either language, if the OLA or a commensurate regime is imposed. 

A critical question for the federal government, Quebecers and Canadians is: Are we going to fire, or not hire people, for not speaking French?

Supporting documentation can be found on our downloads page.