ABSTRACT/RESUME Language is known to have an effect on ethnic identity in that language retention of a mother tongue or home language acts as a stronger connector to the ethnic community for such persons as compared to those who do not retain the language. This analysis uses data from a specially designed survey of Canadian university students carded out in 2000-2001. It looks at the effects of language on the emergence of a Canadian identity. The results show that respondents with higher levels of linguistic assimilation tend to exhibit lower levels of ethnic-connectedness and are therefore more likely to identify themselves as Canadian, compared to others who are less assimilated in terms of language. This research will inform the current debate on the need for new census questions regarding identity and the importance of retaining the ethnic ancestry question and the language questions on Canada's national census.