Ottawa - Post Report Question and Answers

How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Ottawa is primarily Anglophone, though you do hear French everywhere. Since almost everyone is bilingual, it's hard to practice your French except across the river in Gatineau. - Aug 2015

English is good. French is good when in Quebec. - May 2014

English gets you everywhere but French would be expected if you work outside the Embassy. - Jul 2013

Ottawa is officially bilingual in French and English, but you don't really need French to survive. It comes in handy in Gatineau, QC though. - Jan 2013

You just need to speak English, though most worker types are French speakers who also speak English. - Dec 2010

French is not really necessary in Ottawa, but it is helpful if you cross over into Quebec. But it is still not required. When Canadians find out that you are American, they will start to use "eh?" at the ends of their sentences much more frequently. They also spell certain words differently: grey, defence, and labour, for example. It seems to rub them the wrong way if you point that out. - Aug 2010

English is fine everywhere, but French is spoken widely on the Quebec side of the border...and there are some unilingual French-speaking people, particularly in the smaller towns nearby in Quebec and east of Ottawa on the Ontario side. - Nov 2009

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