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April 17, 2018

Maintaining Canada’s French Roots

Posted by Rikhav Shah - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On 2 March 2018, the Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, along with his provincial and territorial counterparts, met in Toronto to discuss the promotion of Francophone immigration in provinces and territories outside of Quebec. The participants agreed that French-speaking immigrants add to the cultural diversity of Canada along with strong economic contributions in the regions they choose to settle in. They also help to sustain Canada as a bilingual country. A concern expressed in this discussion was that the demographic share of the Francophone population in Canada is decreasing, as overall immigration rises. In order to maintain the 2016 demographic share of the francophone population in Canada, 275,000 new French-speaking immigrants would be required by 2036.

As a result of the forum, the “FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec” was introduced. The Action Plan focuses on three strategies of collaboration between the federal, provincial and territorial governments to achieve its goal, split into ten specific actions:

  1. Championing Francophone immigration;
  2. Collaborating on three targeted areas:
    1. Employment,
    2. Accessible services,
    3. Inclusive communities; and
  3. Reporting on progress

In order to champion Francophone immigration, parties should strive to enhance international marketing activities to raise awareness of Canada (outside of Quebec), as an attractive place for French-speaking individuals to settle. For those applicants already in Canada on a temporary basis, information on immigration pathways involving settlement in French Minority Communities (FMCs) should be highlighted.  Employment is one of the most important factors for attracting any immigrant, not only those that speak French. To this effect, the Action Plan encourages working with employers to identify and market those areas where businesses can take advantage of the language abilities of Francophones; in turn, Francophones benefit from rewarding employment opportunities. The provision of services in French is also key to integrate Francophones into FMCs. Finally, the plan stresses the importance of reporting the progress made by various levels of governments to all other parties involved in this undertaking. The sharing of information allows for the avoidance of mistakes already made and opportunities to capitalize on effective plans implemented by other parties, which increases the efficiency of the overall plan.

These immigration goals represent an opportunity for Francophones wishing to immigrate to Canada. For more information on the Action Plan, please click here.