August 11, 2017 2:43 pm
Updated: August 17, 2017 9:53 am

StatCan: Computer error led to 2016 census results on Anglophone population in Quebec

An employee makes his way to work at Statistics Canada, in Ottawa in a July 21, 2010, file photo.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says it is correcting recently released census data about the number of English speakers in some smaller Quebec communities.

The national statistics office is blaming an error in a computer program for the fact that 61,000 people were misclassified in the latest tranche of census information.

READ MORE: Skepticism, ‘shock’ surrounds 2016 census language findings in Quebec

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported that census data showed that the share of the population that can speak both of Canada’s official languages hit an all-time high in 2016, with a modest shift upward in a rate that has barely budged over the last 15 years.

The bilingualism rate in Canada reached 18 per cent in the 2016 census and two-thirds of the growth in the bilingual population was attributed to Quebec, even though the reported rate of bilingualism increased in most provinces and territories.

But experts quickly began questioning the findings of increases in English speakers in some small communities in Quebec far afield from major urban centres like Montreal.

Statistics Canada says in a statement that it plans to update its findings next week, and regrets any inconvenience the mistake has caused.

FULL COVERAGE: 2016 census

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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