Language used most often at work of person 15 years or over

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on April 20, 2009.


Language used most often at work refers to the language the person uses most often at work. A person can report more than one language as 'used most often at work' if the languages are used equally often.

Person 15 years or over refers to an individual whose age is 15 years or over.


'Language used most often at work' applies to non-institutional residents who worked at some point in the reference period.

For the census, it usually relates to the job the person held in the week prior to enumeration. However, if the person did not work during that week but had worked at some time since January 1 of the prior year, the information relates to the job held longest during that period.

'Language used most often at work' may also be collected for other jobs, depending on the objective of the survey. However, for it to be collected, a person must be associated with a job, current or past.

'Language used most often at work' may be analyzed using the 'List of languages'. Here, if the person reported two or more languages, they are classified using the appropriate 'Multiple responses' category. Using this approach, the sum of the count of all categories is equal to the size of the total population. The category, 'none', is not used.

'Language used most often at work' may also be analyzed by looking at each language separately. Here, the 'List of languages, total responses' should be referred to. This approach is used to look at all responses of a specific language, regardless of whether or not another language was also reported by the same person.

In this second approach, counts are based on the number of times a language was reported, that is, each instance provided for each language used at work. Given that a person could have reported more than one languages used at work, the counts for the specific languages cannot be meaningfully combined, as individuals could be included in the count for more than one language. Hence, the sum of the count of all languages could be greater than the total population.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

The List of languages is based on the international standard ISO 639 presented in the Ethnologue, using those categories that are applicable to the Canadian population and adding supplementary detail on Indigenous languages spoken in Canada.


Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Language used most often at work of person 15 years or over April 20, 2009 to current

    This is the current standard.

Date modified: