Title

French-Speaking Minorities in Ontario and New Brunswick: Surviving or Thriving?

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Oral Research Presentation

Challenges Theme

Open Challenge

Your Location

University of Windsor

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jamey Essex

Abstract/Description of Original Work

When the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended that both Ontario and New Brunswick become officially bilingual in 1967 to prevent inevitable linguistic assimilation, only the latter did so. My research question focuses on the effects of Ontario’s decision. Was the Commission right in maintaining that official bilingualism was necessary? Has Ontario created a language regime that is able to prevent assimilation without becoming fully bilingual?

I aim to explore whether Ontario’s decision not to adopt bilingualism has led to increased assimilation for Franco-Ontarians as compared to Acadians in New Brunswick. To do so, I examine the Speeches from the Throne and legislation in both provinces from 1967 to 1985 to investigate the level of commitment in each province to preventing assimilation. I use reports from both provinces in 1985 to determine whether there was a disparity in the level of access to French-language services between the two provinces. To study the possible effects of any disparities, I examine census data to measure linguistic assimilation rates in both provinces from 1971 to 2011. I expect to find that Ontario had a lower level of commitment to its French-speaking citizens’ needs than New Brunswick, and that this has translated into higher rates of assimilation for Franco-Ontarians.

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French-Speaking Minorities in Ontario and New Brunswick: Surviving or Thriving?

When the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended that both Ontario and New Brunswick become officially bilingual in 1967 to prevent inevitable linguistic assimilation, only the latter did so. My research question focuses on the effects of Ontario’s decision. Was the Commission right in maintaining that official bilingualism was necessary? Has Ontario created a language regime that is able to prevent assimilation without becoming fully bilingual?

I aim to explore whether Ontario’s decision not to adopt bilingualism has led to increased assimilation for Franco-Ontarians as compared to Acadians in New Brunswick. To do so, I examine the Speeches from the Throne and legislation in both provinces from 1967 to 1985 to investigate the level of commitment in each province to preventing assimilation. I use reports from both provinces in 1985 to determine whether there was a disparity in the level of access to French-language services between the two provinces. To study the possible effects of any disparities, I examine census data to measure linguistic assimilation rates in both provinces from 1971 to 2011. I expect to find that Ontario had a lower level of commitment to its French-speaking citizens’ needs than New Brunswick, and that this has translated into higher rates of assimilation for Franco-Ontarians.