Bilingualism Matters in the Waterloo Region and Canada


This three-year research project is investigating the challenges of 21st century bilingualism at the local level in Canada, bringing together cutting-edge research on linguistics, cognition, and identity from three universities in Canada, the USA and the UK, along with the local school board and municipal and regional governments. Researchers will investigate bilingualism in the local context of not only the two official languages  of Canada (English and French), but also indigenous languages, the languages of immigrants escaping conflict, and the heritage languages of other immigrant groups.


(1) To generate new research insights on multilingualism in the Region of Waterloo, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
(2) To develop evidence-based and practices tools that will help municipal and regional governments to make informed decisions about bilingualism and language learning that benefit their local populations.
(3) To raise awareness of key trends and challenges of multilingual newcomers, using innovative knowledge mobilization approaches to reach a diverse group of interested public in government, social services, youth, and the general public.


May 2019 – April 2022


This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada / Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada.

Project partners

Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
University of Edinburgh, UK
City of Kitchener, Canada
City of Waterloo, Canada
Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Canada
Waterloo Region District School Board, Canada


Dr. John W. Schwieter

Professor of Spanish and Linguistics and Director of the Language Acquisition, Multilingualism, and Cognition Laboratory and Bilingualism Matters @ Laurier