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Ontario Embraces Indigenous Languages for Legislative Proceedings

GPI Curation Corner Emblem

Indigenous Languages in CanadaOntario lawmakers will now be able to use indigenous languages to address its Legislature after an announcement from the government house. Paul Calandra, the leader of the Ontario government house, made a motion to amend a long-standing bill that allowed only French and English as the language used by legislatures in court proceedings.

After the motion was passed and the vote was made, it was agreed that any indigenous language spoken in Canada could be used as the language of communication in the chamber.


Endangered Indigenous Languages in Canada

About 58 indigenous languages are spoken in Canada, and most of these languages are largely endangered, with a little over 1000 speakers, while some are on the brink of going extinct. The Sechelt language, for example, has only 4 living speakers. The most spoken indigenous languages in Canada are Ojibwe, with about 30,000 speakers; Cree, with over 100,000 speakers; and Inuktitut, with about 38,000 speakers.

Read more about Ontario’s move to allow the use of indigenous languages in the legislature.