Canadians speak over 200 languages according to the latest language reports from Statistics Canada's 2006 census. For the first time in Canadian history, allophones (people whose first language is neither French nor English) represented 20 per cent of Canada's population.
The number of Canadians whose first language is one of the Chinese languages grew by 18.5 per cent since the 2001 census and is the third most common first language in Canada. Italian and German followed. The number of Canadians who speak Punjabi, the sixth most common first language, grew by 34.4 per cent since 2001. Rounding out the top ten were Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Portuguese.
Of Canada's overall population, 9 out of 10 speak English or French at home. Among allophones, 69 per cent of them use French or English on a regular basis and 40 per cent of them speak one or the other at home. Given current Canadian immigration language requirements, most immigrants arrive in Canada with some knowledge of French and/or English. According to Statistics Canada, the longer immigrants are in Canada, the more they use Canada's official languages.