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Francophone Population Re-Defined

Archived News Release

Francophone Population Re-Defined

McGuinty Government Responds To Ontario's Changing Demographics

Ministry of Francophone Affairs

Ontario is introducing a new definition of the province's Francophone population that will better reflect the evolution and diversity of Ontario's Francophone communities.

For statistics gathering purposes, Francophones were previously defined as only those whose mother tongue is French. This new inclusive definition captures those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, but who have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home, including many recent immigrants to Ontario.

Under the previous definition, roughly 50,000 Ontarians who speak French in their everyday life were not considered Francophones. The Ontario Trillium Foundation has already adopted the new definition for use in its statistics.

Quick Facts

  • According to the new definition, Francophones represent 4.8 per cent of the total Ontario population for a total of 580,000 people. Based on the old definition, they represented 4.4 per cent of the population.
  • When applying the new definition, Toronto's Francophone population increases by 42 per cent, while Ottawa's Francophone population increases by 10 per cent.
  • In the French Language Services Commissioner's first annual report in 2008, it was recommended that a new definition of the Francophone population of Ontario be developed to better reflect the community.

Additional Resources


“The Francophone community wanted a more inclusive definition that better reflects its diversity. This new definition will give the government a more accurate picture of the demand for French-language services across the province and help ministries better plan for the delivery of these services.”

Madeleine Meilleur

Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

“The face of Ontario's Francophone population has changed greatly over the past twenty years and it is important to acknowledge this new reality. This inclusive definition will strengthen the sense of belonging and pride of 50,000 new Francophones in our province.”

Helen Burstyn

Chair of the Board, Ontario Trillium Foundation



Government Francophones