Parlez-vous le français? Probably pas très bien if you live outside Quebec, according to census data from Statistics Canada.
The share of Canadians who can hold a conversation in both English and French has plateaued around 18% for two decades, despite strong legal protections for the French language and official encouragement of bilingualism.
The background: Political rivalries between English and French-speaking Canadians dominated the early history of the country, and fuel some radical independence movements in Quebec even today. Official adoption of bilingualism at a federal level in 1969 was meant to help heal the rift.
And in the first three decades, it met with considerable success. The share of bilingual Canadians rose from 12.2% in 1961 to 17.7% in 2001.
However, most of the growth came in Quebec, which continues to push up the national rate of bilingualism. Nearly half of Quebeckers are bilingual, compared to less than 1 in 10 Canadians from other provinces.
Statistics Canada explains that English-speaking Canada has simply outgrown the share of the country with French as their mother tongue, but also pointed out that Canadians whose mother tongue is neither French nor English —- mostly immigrants — are less likely to learn both of Canada’s official languages.
But there’s one more wrinkle: Quebeckers whose mother tongue is neither English nor French are actually more likely than the general population to speak both languages, with 50.8% able to hold a conversation in French, English and their mother tongue. Incroyable!
September 15 marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and as the United States enters a new era in college admissions following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down race-based affirmative action protections this summer, many worry that the new rules could hurt the chances of aspiring students from traditionally marginalized communities.
New data from the Department of Education indicates the number of Hispanic students grew nearly 30% between 2010 and 2021, and made up over a fifth of the enrolled student body in 2021. Hispanic people as a whole were one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the U.S. at the time, accounting for more than half of the total population increase between 2010 and 2020. Here’s a look at racial makeup of undergraduate students in the U.S. over the last several years.
Few issues are more contentious in US politics than immigration, where policy can swing drastically from one administration to the next. Canada, for its part, has gained a reputation as one of the most hospitable countries to migrants in the developed world.
But in Canada, too, immigration has become an increasingly contentious and politicized issue, with some expressing concern that immigrants – particularly international students – are exacerbating the country's affordable housing crisis, leading to the government considering a cap on the number of student visas.
What’s more, the data shows that the number of migrants as a percent of the total population has in fact grown more in the US over the past few decades than in its northern neighbor. We take a look at how the two countries' migrant populations stack up.
Ever since satellite observations started in the late 1970s, sea ice extent levels have been falling. That is the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice at any given time, which is important for the regulation of ocean and air temperatures, as well as safeguarding animal habitats.
But as the climate crisis deepens and sea temperatures rise, ice extent levels have reached historic lows. Meanwhile, as more ice melts, not only does it endanger wildlife, but it also fuels rising sea levels and releases methane into the environment that contributes to some of the worst climate catastrophes seen in recent years.
We take a look at sea ice extent levels from 1980-2023.
Amid inflationary pressures over the past 18 months that have hurt consumer purchasing power, there has been renewed focus in Canada and the US on taxation rates.
The topic of taxes might not be sexy, but it is certainly political, with conservatives in both countries often blaming liberal politicians for supporting tax rates that they say are further contributing to cost-of-living pressures.
So what’s the tax rate where you live? We look at state and provincial tax rates in the most populous provinces and states in Canada and the US.
Last year, Trudeau’s government revised the Investment Canada Act, its law governing foreign direct investment, adding new safeguards against China investing in areas of the economy that could be a threat to national security. The revisions touched on infrastructure, critical resources, technology, supply chains, and intellectual property.
The decision marked a new era in the China-Canada relationship, with Ottawa siding more with Washington amid the US-China rivalry, decisively backing away from its earlier middleman role.
But how big of a concern was China’s FDI footprint in Canada? We look at the biggest foreign investors in Canada in 2022.
It has been impossible to ignore climate change this summer. July was the hottest month on record, there have been unprecedentedly destructive wildfires and floods across Canada, and water temperatures in the southern United States are skyrocketing. But ocean temperatures further north are also on the rise. The Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, is one of the fastest-warming ocean territories on the planet, and that is bad news for the US lobster industry.
Lobsters are very sensitive to rising temperatures, causing the North Atlantic population to move north over the last 50 years in search of chillier waters. Initially, this northward trend benefitted coastal Maine as lobsters fled Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But even Maine’s lobster catch has been steadily declining to Canada’s benefit. Canada’s lobster industry is experiencing a boom, achieving record profits in 2022.
We examine the effect of this northward shift in lobsters by looking at the amount of lobsters caught in New England and Canada over the last 22 years.
Eight Amazon rainforest nations are gathering in Brazil this week for a two-day summit of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. It’s the first time the group has convened in 14 years, and negotiations on more than 130 issues are expected to prove contentious, especially proposals to prohibit new drilling projects and end deforestation.
The heads of state from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela will be in attendance. Colombian President Gustavo Petro is leading the charge to block all new oil development, and he is pressuring his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva, to join him. Meanwhile, Brazil is considering a huge offshore oil development near the mouth of the Amazon River.
Lula pushed for a pre-summit pledge to end deforestation by 2030, and six of the eight nations agreed, with only Bolivia – whose forest loss increased by 32% last year – and Venezuela abstaining.
The preservation of the Amazon rainforest is key to humanity’s fight against climate change. Here we look at the levels of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest since the beginning of the century.