1.4.1. Evolution of the Franco-Ontarian community
A community can be defined not only by its geography, such as large urban centres or regions, but also by its interests. The members of Francophone communities live in every part of Ontario, including major urban agglomerations such as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and London. However, as noted by the federal Commissioner of Official Languages:
“In addition to the villages, neighbourhoods, towns or regions with which OLMCs [official language minority communities] identify, there are communities whose primary link is a shared interest in their language. For these communities of interest, the territorial footprint is less important than the network of interactions into which the individuals and the groups breathe life around the focus of their common interest in the minority language.”10
This is especially true in Ontario, where the pattern of immigration is altering the picture considerably. “Today we speak of a link between linguistic duality and cultural diversity, not only in the official language majorities, but also in the minorities.”11 Nearly half of all Francophones in the Greater Toronto Area were born outside Canada. Figures don’t lie: the Francophone population keeps growing in Ontario, in absolute terms at least, mainly because of immigration and interprovincial migration.
10 Johnson, Marc and Doucet, Paule, A Sharper View: Evaluating the Vitality of Official Language Minority Communities, Ottawa, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, 2006, p. 11.
11 Ibid., p. 14.