Canada has two official languages – English and French. If you are planning to live in Canada for long-term, you would need to know either French or English, as it is one of the requirements to gain permanent residence and also if you plan to naturalize as a Canadian Citizen.
Does an English speaker need to learn French to live in Canada?
While it’s not a requirement for English speakers to learn French, it can be very beneficial for you to be able to speak French if you plan to live in Canada for long-term. Also, certain regions in Canada only speak French so you life is going to be a lot easier if you are able to converse in French.
Under following scenarios it is recommended to learn French
- Pathway to Permanent Residence in Canada – Canada follows a points based immigration system and being able to speak both French and English can help you get more points, making you eligible to be invited to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.
- You want to live in Quebec or New Brunswick – While a lot of folks in Quebec and New Brunswick are bilingual in French and English, there is still a significant number of people who do not speak English and it can be really hard for you to have any conversation.
- You plan to travel to Quebec / New Brunswick – It will be much easier for you to get by if you speak French in Quebec and New Brunswick.
- You want to work for the Federal Government – If you can speak both English and French, you will have to access to more opportunities to work in the Federal Government.
- You want to work for Provincial Government (Quebec/New Brunswick) – To be eligible for Provincial Government jobs in Quebec, you must be able to speak French (some exceptions apply)
- Access to bilingual opportunities in Private sector – There is a huge demand for bilingual speakers (French and English) and if you speak both languages, Canadian employers would be more willing to hire you.
Learning French in Canada
There are a ton of programs offered by provincial governments in Canada to help you learn French. These programs are usually FREE or are heavily subsidized! You may also choose to self-study French by watching YouTube videos or using French learning apps.