Language in B.C.

Last reviewed: March 20, 2024

Canada has two official languages: English and French.

People who immigrate to B.C. do not need to understand French. However, you should be able to speak, read and write in English if you plan to live, work or study in British Columbia.

English is the main language of communication in British Columbia. Strong English skills can improve your chances of finding a good job and becoming financially established in B.C.

You also will find it easier to access services and perform day-to-day tasks like banking and shopping if you can understand English.

Many languages are spoken in B.C.

Most people in B.C. speak English at home. After English, the most common languages spoken at home are Cantonese and Mandarin, Punjabi, German, Tagalog, French, Korean, Spanish, and Farsi.

In 2011, 26 percent of people in B.C. spoke a language other than English or French as their first language.

Indigenous languages also are spoken in B.C. However, only a small number of people are fluent in Indigenous languages. First Nations communities and the provincial government are taking action to protect and revitalize Indigenous languages.