The national research hub on official language minority communities

Research Agenda

Main Research Activities of the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities

As its mission suggests, the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities (CIRLM) works to increase knowledge about Canada’s official language minority communities (OLMCs) to better understand the issues that are priorities for them. This is achieved by focusing on the minority situation of these communities. The issue underlying the research done by the CIRLM relates to maintaining, developing, and fostering the vitality of OLMCs. The research focus and topics reflect and ground its research activities.  

The CIRLM conducts research on all OLMCs within the country, namely the Francophone communities outside Quebec and the Anglophone community in Quebec. It addresses OLMC issues relative to a variety of sectors (health, education, the economy, arts and culture, the media, etc.) and groups (youth, seniors, women and immigrants. The Institute works in collaboration with a network of associate researchers to carry out its projects.

The CRILM conducts research on 1) people living in minority communities, 2) community development, 3) politics, influence and governance, 4) language rights, recognition for OLMCs and the legitimacy of their requests, and 5) memory, identity and diversity.   

1) Populations living in minority communities

This line of research focuses on the demolinguistic, sociolinguistic and geographical situation of the population. A study of the following phenomenon is part of this line of research:
  • spatial dynamics of populations, migration and immigration;
  • birth rates and aging of the population;
  • language transmission and vitality;
  • linguistic makeup and sociolinguistic characteristics of the population;
  • linguistic practices and representations;
2) Community development

This research looks at the lives of official language minority individuals and communities. The intent is to better understand how community actors develop their community with respect to various sectors and groups within the population. Some topics covered include:
  • Support from the State and governments;
  • ownership of the development process as well as organizing and planning community activities;
  • economic and community development projects;
  • institutional completeness and the vitality of institutions and organizations;
  • language of service and access to services.

3) Politics, influence and governance

These research activities address the political organization of the community, the relationship between internal and external powers, the political influence of actors, the influence of the federal and provincial/territorial or municipal political context and the participation of minority groups in political life. The list below includes some themes covered by this type of research.  
  • Political context and linguistic regimes;
  • Institutional and community governance;
  • participation in political life;
  • political action and mobilization;
  • linguistic policies and planning;
  • political representation.

4) Language rights, recognition and legitimacy

This research looks at the status of OLMCs from the perspective of language rights and their application and the legitimacy of the requests and claims made by OLMC groups and actors. Some topics covered include:
  • the legal context at the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal levels;
  • legal decisions and their impact on communities;
  • application of the law;
  • legal action;
  • the legal status of OLMCs.

5) Memory, identity and diversity

These research activities focus on OLMC identity phenomena and consider memory and increasing diversity. Such phenomena include:
  • identity building;
  • expression of identity and linguistic expression;
  • language and identity;
  • ethnocultural diversity;
  • relationship to the other, multiculturalism and interculturalism;
  • memory, tangible heritage and intangible heritage.

Link to the research agenda used until March 31, 2016