Benefits of Being a French Speaker in Canada
While many people in Ontario and most other Canadian provinces outside of Quebec may not consider Canada’s second national language—French—to be important, there are lots of benefits to learning French in Canada. Adding French to your arsenal brings with it many advantages and opportunities!
One quarter of all Canadians (that’s about 8-9 million people) reported that they used French at home. Clearly, there’s no shortage of French Canadians out there! Even so, you may not even be aware of the benefits of knowing French in Canada, so we’ve made sure to put a list together of the top bilingualism benefits and opportunities that a Francophone can expect to find as a cog in the Canadian workforce!
1. Easier To Get A Job
One of the biggest bilingualism benefits is that knowing more than one language automatically widens your personal job net. There are tons of jobs out there, especially in Canada, where the candidate won’t or can’t be considered if they don’t speak French for preferential or logistical reasons. Learning French will especially open doors for you in Quebec, where it is exceedingly hard to work if you’re not bilingual.
2. French Jobs In Canada
There are tons of jobs in Canada where French is not just preferred, but it’s a prerequisite. A major benefit of knowing French in Canada is that you’re part of a much smaller pool of other bilingual candidates for these positions. This gives you a leg up to land jobs such as translator, interpreter, editor, or proof reader in French settings. Other great jobs only available to French speakers in Canada include French teacher, ESL teacher, or French voice-over actor.
3. Jobs Where French Is A Positive
There are thousands of other jobs where French is not a complete necessity, but where bilingualism benefits are especially felt. These include tour guides in cities and countries where they speak French or where there is a lot of French tourism, flight attendants flying to and from French-speaking countries (there are 29 who list it as an official language), resort staff in a French-speaking country or region, or even joining an NGO as a crucial bilingual worker to facilitate communication in French-speaking regions.
4. Employers Prefer Bilingual Candidates
It is no secret that employers in Canada and elsewhere in the world are looking for smart and hard-working professionals that can bring something to the table. Speaking a second language is nearly always a positive, as evidenced in a 2014 study by CPF which showed that 81 percent of supervisors consider bilingual employees as an asset.
5. Bilingualism Bonus
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: one of the benefits of knowing French in Canada is that the government literally gives you an annual bonus for it. If you occupy a bilingual position at your company, you’re eligible for an $800 ‘bilingualism bonus,’ which is not only a nice recognition from the Canadian government, but a nice bit of yearly pocket change just for having learned French.
6. Make More Money
There have been many studies done to further promote the benefits of learning French in Canada over the past decade or so, and many of them focused on the tangible differences, such as earning power. Some have reported that they sometimes get paid 25% more than non-bilingual workers for the same job, and a 2010 report by the Ontario Trillium Foundation found that those who spoke French made roughly $5,000 more per annum compared to the Toronto average.
7. Federal Jobs
It has been said that the Canadian government needs to be bilingual so that everyone of her citizens doesn’t have to be. That is to say, the federal government needs to be able to disseminate all important information in both French and English so that those who aren’t bilingual (that’s most of them) understand either way. This is one of the benefits of knowing French in Canada, because putting that you’re bilingual on your resume will almost always have your application going straight to the top of the pile: the Canadian government needs bilingual people. Other government jobs dealing with foreign matters such as diplomats and ambassadors are always bilingual as well.
8. Improve Your First Language
Believe it or not, one of the benefits of learning French in Canada is that not only will you become bilingual, but studies have shown that it will also improve your ability to communicate in your mother tongue as well! Learning a new language pushes your brain to understand new grammar and vocabulary rules, which helps your brain to remember new words and make contextual connections between the two languages.
9. Easy Travels
One of the most obvious (but one that might turn out to be the biggest) bilingualism benefits for you is how much easier it is to travel when you know more than one language. This can make traveling to French-speaking regions a much less stressful affair, as you will be able to get yourself around by speaking to others and reading traffic signs, you’ll be able to order food no problem, and you might even make French-speaking friends while you’re at it!