Characterizing The Francophone Population in Greater Saint John (2015-2020)

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


Bilingualism makes the province of New Brunswick (NB) unique within Canada, bringing with it a high level of linguistic diversity and cultural enrichment. However, as Canada’s only officially bilingual province, NB also faces issues of language barriers affecting segments of its population. For instance, there is limited information about the size of the Francophone community that would prefer service in French in majority Anglophone areas. Without this information, it is impossible to accurately represent the potential demand for French-language health and social services and how to meet that demand most efficiently. In this report, we attempt to address language barriers specifically in the Greater Saint John (GSJ) region by constructing a population profile of the Francophone population of GSJ. To fill this knowledge gap and to inform discussions of language barriers in NB, this report supports an analysis of the extent to which health and other support services might be provided in French in majority-Anglophone areas of the province. Measures of interest include residents’ health status, health service use, social services receipt, household composition, and neighbourhood socioeconomic profile. We consider how these measures have changed over time and how they compare for Francophone and Anglophone New Brunswickers living in urban majority-French communities, as well as Anglophone residents living GSJ, Moncton, and the Rest of NB. To date, the only information on language preference in NB administrative data is based on records in the province’s Medicare system, and there is reason to believe this might underestimate actual language preference for health services. As such, we consider adjustments based on measures of area-level language fluency as reported in the 2016 Canadian Census.