Ontario, Canada

Language and Literacy

Representing 39 percent of Canada’s population, Ontario has approximately 13.98 million inhabitants and is multicultural and multilingual. The official language of the province is English, and the languages of instruction are English and French.a According to 2011 census data, approximately 70 percent of Ontarians have English as their mother tongue, 4 percent have French, and 26 percent have a first language other than English or French. First Nation, Métis, and Inuit populations comprise 2 percent of the population, according to the latest data available from 2011.

In 2004, the Ontario Ministry of Education launched a comprehensive Literacy and Numeracy Strategy to help students acquire a solid foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics. The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat was established to support district school boards across the province in improving literacy and numeracy and in closing gaps in student achievement. In 2009, the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat became part of the Student Achievement Division, which works with schools and school districts to identify areas of greatest need, set goals as part of board and school improvement planning, and build capacity through professional learning using a collaborative inquiry learning stance. The Student Achievement Division also builds sector capacity for the use of evidence to inform decisions regarding implementation through research, monitoring, evaluation, and data management to support increased learning from kindergarten through Grade 12.

  • a Per the Education Act, English as a language of instruction may include American Sign Language and French as a language of instruction may include Quebec Sign Language (Langues des signes québécoise).