Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Knowledge of non-official languages

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: August 17, 2022


Knowledge of non‑official languages refers to whether the person can conduct a conversation in a language other than English or French. For a child who has not yet learned to speak, this includes languages that the child is learning to speak at home. The number of languages that can be reported may vary between surveys, depending on the objectives of the survey.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021 and 2016 (25% sample); 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996 and 1991 (20% sample).

Reported for

Population in private households

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 22


Refer to figures 2.4, 2.4A, 2.4B, 2.4C2.4D2.4E, 2.4F, 2.4G, 2.4H, 2.4I, 2.4J and 2.4K for the detailed list of languages disseminated in the 2021 Census. A comparison of languages disseminated in the 2021, 2016 and 2011 censuses is available in Appendix 2.10.


In the 2021 Census of Population, the question about knowledge of non‑official languages asked "What language(s), other than English or French, can this person speak well enough to conduct a conversation?"

The following additional instructions on how to complete the 2021 knowledge of non‑official languages question were provided to respondents via a help button accessible in the electronic questionnaire:

For more information on language variables, including information on their classifications, the questions from which they are derived, data quality and their comparability with other sources of data, please refer to the Languages Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.


Related 2021 data products

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