FREDERICTON — Statistics Canada data shows that the percentage of people in New Brunswick who can hold a conversation in French is up from 2016 but down from historic highs.
The province's 320,300 French speakers made up 41.9 per cent of the province’s population in 2021, nearly identical to the numbers seen in 1991 — 42 per cent — but lower than the all-time high recorded in 2006 of 43.6 per cent.
Statistics Canada says fewer than one in four immigrants in New Brunswick could have a conversation in French in 2021.
The federal agency says 32 per cent of New Brunswick workers used French regularly at work.
Statistics show that almost nine in 10 New Brunswick residents in 2021 whose first official language was French were born in the province.
The data shows that between 2016 and 2021, about 7,840 people with French as their first official language settled in New Brunswick from another province or territory, mostly from Quebec, Ontario or Alberta.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2023.
The Canadian Press