Are French Canadians Richer?

The stereotype of the typical French Canadian living a life of poverty while his or her Anglophone employer is living the good life has been around for ages. Even today, some believe that Francophones are born into poverty, while their English counterparts are blessed with wealth. Maybe it’s time they set aside their inferiority complex ...

That at least is the conclusion drawn from the study on Francophone economics produced by the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale and the Conference Board of Canada.

Francophones of the country earn higher wages and have a lower unemployment rate than the average rate of their province. Excluding Quebec, Francophones as a whole have a higher gross domestic product per capita than the Canadian average.

A journalist from Le Devoir studied the sixty page report. His article informs us that Francophones are more present in the public sector because many public service positions require bilingualism, and since minority Francophones are more likely to be fluent in both official languages, it is not uncommon to that many public service employees’ mother tongue is French. Often better paid, these bilingual positions certainly contribute to income growth for Canada’s Francophones.

« Ainsi, la contribution économique moyenne attribuable à un Québécois ayant le français pour langue maternelle (36 400 $ par année en dollar de 2002) était plus élevée en 2006 que la moyenne québécoise (32 300 $). C’était vrai aussi, par exemple, du Franco-Ontarien (44 200 $, contre une moyenne ontarienne de 39 900 $), du francophone du Nouveau-Brunswick (34 000 $, contre 29 200 $) et du Franco-Manitobain (41 600 $, contre 32 700 $). »

The country’s Francophones are, therefore, richer than the rest of the population. Is it a mere coincidence or does language actually play a part? If we did the same exercise for left handed people or for blonds, would we have the same surprises? Can we honestly say that it is easier for Francophones to achieve financial wealth than it is for Anglophones? Compared to the average Canadian, Francophones as a whole are richer; however the study does not mention the mother tongue of the wealthiest people in the country.

All in all, it seems that mastering both languages is profitable. According to the numbers minority Francophones have a jump up on their fellow citizens.

Philippe Daoust