Language loss poses a serious challenge to the survival of many Canadian languages. However, it is not irreversible. As long as there have been language retention challenges in Canada, communities, organizations and schools across Canada have responded. Today, Canadians continue to work together, create solutions, and engage with issues of language continuity.

Early Childhood Education, Community Schools, and Family Education

There are many educational programs and schools for Canadians to learn different languages, especially for children. Some of the most common programs are weekend or after-school classes. Summer camps, bilingual kindergartens and nurseries are also options. Students might be able to join language clubs through schools. Some of these schools also provide parent and tot courses to spark education about heritage languages in early childhood.

Language Advocacy Organizations

There are language associations across Canada with missions of language continuity and advocacy. Organizations like Endangered Language Alliance Toronto and the Foundation for Endangered Languages Canada draw public attention to endangered languages. Organizations may drive language preservation initiatives, coordinate awareness campaigns, and create language-learning resources to help protect vulnerable languages.  

Language Programs

Information about community-based projects, experiments, organizations, and other similar immersion programs can be found both online and offline. For example, Indigenous language nests are immersion-based programs that give children and their parents the opportunity to learn an Indigenous language from an older speaker. Language mentorship programs may pair a new speaker with an older, fluent mentor. Language programs might be offered through a local church, temple or synagogue. Some programs might be eligible for government funding while other programs are crowd or community-funded.

Post-Secondary Language Programs

Many Canadian universities and colleges offer a wide variety of programs for students and the public to study different languages. Some post-secondary schools may offer immersion courses as well as a final degree or diploma.

New Media

The internet is a great place to look for more information about different languages, as well as start learning a few words or sentences. Language learning websites, software, online language courses, and digital language repositories can be helpful and easy-to-use resources for Canadians interested in re-learning a language. Instructional DVDs and the accessible language learning apps on mobile devices for both heritage and Indigenous languages are popular among younger generations.

If you’d like to learn more about language continuity programs and resources in Canada, feel free to explore the following websites. This exhibition is not sponsored by any of the following programs/websites, nor is the Canadian Language Museum is affiliated with them in any way.

Canadians from all parts of the country continue to dedicate efforts to language preservation and continuity. In Part 6, you can learn about the future of language in Canada.