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Enhancing Francophone Immigration in Canada: Comprehensive Initiatives and Targets


January 21st, 2024 at 01:00 am

Enhancing Francophone Immigration in Canada: Comprehensive Initiatives and Targets

In a significant move today, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, revealed a comprehensive set of measures aimed at increasing Francophone immigration outside Quebec. These initiatives include a new Francophone immigration policy, program expansions, a support program, and the execution of the Action Plan for Official Languages.

New French Immigration Policy

The Minister stressed the significance of the newly implemented Francophone immigration policy, which aims to promote the expansion of Francophone minority populations. The policy aims to increase the weight of these communities through initiatives such as focused promotion and recruitment. Significantly, these programs seek to solve labor shortages and aid in the integration of French-speaking newcomers.

Renewed and Expanded Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiatives

As part of the integration effort, the activities of the Welcoming Francophone Communities are being revitalized and expanded. Fourteen Canadian municipalities will continue to receive funds for the integration of French-speaking immigrants. Furthermore, an extension enables the Canadian government to choose up to ten more towns, increasing overall support for French-speaking immigrant integration.

Francophone Immigration Support Program

The Francophone Immigration Support Program, which focuses on removing barriers to Francophone immigration, is a crucial component of the program. The program’s goal is to improve the environment for the successful integration of French-speaking newcomers by sponsoring a variety of projects.

Outside of Quebec, the number of people who speak French is decreasing. To counteract this trend, the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028 seeks to protect and promote Canada’s language duality, preserve French, and maintain the vitality of FMCs.

The Francophone Immigration Support Program (FISP) is one of the steps being implemented by IRCC to solve the situation. This proposal is a key component of the new Francophone Immigration Policy.

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The program aims to:

Increase Francophone stakeholder involvement in selecting and admitting French-speaking candidates outside of Quebec to meet employment demands in Canadian industries. The FISP will fund innovative projects that fit under one of the following streams.

Stream 1: Collaborative Selection Projects

This stream supports programs aimed at increasing the number of French-speaking candidates.

Stream 2: Promoting Francophone minority communities (FMCs) overseas.

This stream seeks to promote FMCs internationally. The goal of these projects will be to encourage French-speaking candidates to immigrate to Canada outside of Quebec.

Stream 3: Case Studies, Innovation, and Applied Research

This stream allows for the collection and sharing of evidence-based data on systemic barriers to the increased number of French-speaking candidates in immigration programs outside of Quebec. This information will be used to discover promising practices and launch novel ventures.

Action Plan for Official Language Implementation

The complete strategy includes the implementation of the Action Plan for Official Languages. This strategic plan has several components, including support for elementary and secondary-level French-speaking instructors, consolidating integration pathways, and strengthening current structures for Francophone immigration. The Canadian government has provided more than CAD 80 million for this five-year strategy, demonstrating its commitment to promoting and retaining French-speaking communities.

Initiatives to Address Francophone Immigration

In 2023, the IRCC implemented new selection criteria for people applying through Canada’s Express Entry system. These criteria, which focused on professional expertise in in-demand occupations, included a separate category for candidates fluent in French. Individuals must have reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills comparable to a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 or higher.

This special immigration category was established in accordance with the IRCC’s 2019 Francophone Immigration Plan. The plan aimed not only to increase the share of Francophone immigrants but also to help their integration and retention, as well as to build Francophone communities throughout Canada.

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The Government’s Mandate and the Importance of Francophone Immigration

The Official Languages Act requires Canada’s federal government to promote and protect both official languages, English and French. This commitment includes ensuring that both languages have equal status and supporting the growth of minority linguistic communities. As a result, IRCC assumes the critical role of welcoming and retaining Francophone newcomers to Canada, emphasizing the importance of the department’s ongoing initiatives.

Finally, the disclosed measures and targets underscore Canada’s unwavering commitment to the growth, integration, and retention of Francophone immigrants. These initiatives, which range from legislation changes to community assistance programs, highlight the significance of Francophone immigration in establishing the country’s identity.

Francophone Immigration Targets and Future Goals

Minister Marc Miller joyfully declared that the aim of admitting 4.4% of French-speaking residents outside of Quebec was met in December 2023, reaching around 4.7%. Looking ahead, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has set lofty targets of 6% in 2024, 7% in 2025, and 8% in 2026.

Highlighting the government’s commitment to linguistic diversity, initiatives beginning in 2023 included revised selection criteria under Canada’s Express Entry system that prioritized candidates who spoke French. This action is consistent with IRCC’s 2019 Francophone Immigration Plan, which aims to increase the number of Francophone immigrants outside Quebec and improve their effective integration.

These activities are supported by the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028, which includes a five-year commitment of more than CAD 80 million. The funds are distributed to a variety of Francophone immigration and retention programs, with a focus on streamlining integration channels, recruiting French-speaking educators, and improving immigration processes.

Why Francophone Immigration?

The Canadian federal government prioritizes the growth of English and French equality in official institutions and society, as mandated by the Language Protection Act. This role includes assisting the development of minority language groups, making Francophone immigration initiatives critical to maintaining Canada’s linguistic diversity. Canada’s unwavering commitment to Francophone immigration demonstrates the country’s dedication to linguistic variety and cultural enrichment.

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