Statistics Canada says the rate of bilingual Canadians has declined for the first time in 40 years.

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The English-French bilingualism rate peaked at 17.7% in 2001, after rising steadily from 12.1% in 1961. But according to the 2011 census, there was a slight drop to 17.5% of those who are able to speak both English and French.

In 2011, 33.2% of New Brunswick residents said they could speak both official languages.

Bilingualism rates in Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia ranged from 10 and 12%.