OTTAWA, June 19, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - According to the Conference Board
of Canada study, Canada, Bilingualism and Trade, bilingualism leads
definitively to important economic advantages. In effect, thanks to
this research, produced for the Réseau de développement économique et
d'employabilité Canada (RDÉE Canada) and the Community Economic
Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) with funding from
Industry Canada, the Conference Board of Canada has found that
bilingualism not only benefits New Brunswick and Quebec, which display
higher rates of bilingualism, it benefits all Canadians.
By using two distinct calculation techniques, more precisely, location
quotient and the gravity model, this research has verified to what
point the knowledge of French has increased opportunities for
commercial exchanges between New Brunswick and Quebec and
French-speaking countries. The researchers are confident with their
conclusions given that the two techniques led to similar results. Thus,
they believe that commercial exchanges of Bilingual Canada with
French-speaking countries are proving to be higher than 65 per cent or
even more than commercial exchanges with countries that are not
Bilingualism opens doors and has a good return on investment
"One of the benefits of bilingualism is the country's increase in the
volume of its bilateral trade", says Mario Lefebvre, Director of the
Centre for Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada.
"Playing a central role in trade relations, the presence of a common
language enables a country to multiply the number of its potential
"This report supports a fact that most Canadians already know: Canada
benefits greatly from bilingualism," said the Honourable
Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry. "By connecting with
international clients in their own language, bilingual Canadian
businesses are more likely to build strong relationships, gain better
access to Francophone markets and help create jobs and growth here at
home. As our world becomes even more economically and
socially integrated, it will be advantages like this
that position Canada to succeed in highly competitive global markets."
Although the United States is Canada's principal trading partner, the
volume of commercial trade with French-speaking countries has increased
significantly in recent years. From 1992-2011, commercial exchanges
with French-speaking countries increased by 7.1 per cent each year.
This is slightly higher than Canada's total global trade (6.8 per
cent). The knowledge of a second language therefore appears to allow
for diversification of trade.
According to the study, in 2011, exports from Quebec and New Brunswick
to French-speaking countries were two times more than would be expected
considering their share of overall Canadian exports. The difference is
even more marked with imports: Quebec and New Brunswick import from
French-speaking countries two and a half times what they should given
their share of Canadian imports overall. This indicates that the eight
other provinces are doing much less trade with francophone countries in
proportion to their share of Canadian global trade.
Over the next year, RDÉE Canada and its members, and CEDEC will continue
working with heads of businesses, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders
to take advantage of the benefits of this linguistic duality in order
to access new markets, support the growth of businesses and build new
"The knowledge of two official languages has proven to be an opportunity
to increase trade not only with French-speaking countries of the world
but also within the Canadian francophone economic community," said
Gilles Lanteigne, President of RDÉE Canada. "Considering that the
provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick and Quebec, have a rate
of bilingualism ranging from 4.6 to 12.3%, there are many opportunities
for entrepreneurs throughout the country to increase their trade and do
business between them as it has been done in New Brunswick and Quebec."
John Gancz, President of CEDEC, sees opportunity for Quebec's
English-speaking community to play a pivotal role in facilitating and
brokering trade that directly benefits all of Canada.
"We have a strategic opportunity before us," says John Gancz, President
of CEDEC. "Canada's official language minority communities are an
important driver for the job creation, productivity and innovation
envisioned in Canada's Economic Action Plan and The Roadmap for Official Languages 2013-2018. With increased collaboration between our communities, we will have
enormous potential for the development of new Canadian and
international business opportunities."
About RDÉE Canada and CEDEC
A leader in the economic development of the Francophone and Acadian
communities in Canada, RDÉE Canada and its members as well as CEDEC, a
leading partner and driving force for community economic development
and employability in Quebec, support businesses in their efforts to
solve the issues hindering economic growth and help them seize emerging
economic development opportunities.
Thanks to the new Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018, the
Government of Canada has recognized, through its investments in
education, immigration and the communities, the importance of
strengthening the economic vitality of the official language minority
communities, their participation in the labour market and the
importance of English and French in the Canadian national identity, its
growth and prosperity.
This study was funded by Industry Canada under the Economic Development
Initiative (EDI) of the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality
2008-2013 and commissioned to the Conference Board of Canada in
collaboration with RDÉE Canada and CEDEC.
Click here to access the report.
For further information:
Tel: 819 592-2613
Tel: 514 755-7043