Francophone Immigration: Canada: Canada passes new law to promote Francophone immigration. Canada’s new rule gives priority to immigrants and minorities who speak French but live outside of Quebec, highlighting the language’s significance in the country.
With the passing of Bill C-13, immigration is included in the Official Languages Act (OLA) for the first time. The Official Languages Act (OLA) is the federal law that recognized English and French as Canada’s official languages.
The proposed legislation updates the Official Languages Act to reflect the reality that French is under attack and needs to be safeguarded in its status as one of Canada’s official languages. There are three sections to this. The Act is divided into three sections:
- the first, which amends the Official Languages Act;
- the second, which regulates the use of French in privately owned firms subject to federal regulation; and
- the third, which lays out the Act’s legal applications.
By including immigration for the first time, the new law acknowledges the value of immigrant francophones to communities of language minorities outside of Quebec.
Laws will be changed as part of the immigration measures. This includes the need for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to develop and implement a plan to increase the number of French-speaking immigrants to Canada.
There is an acknowledgment that immigration is a factor in the continued or increased size of Francophone minority populations.
The law also protects the rights of French-speaking customers and employees in private businesses controlled by the federal government in Quebec or in locations outside of Quebec that are home to a significant French-speaking population.
In addition, the legislation mandates that all Supreme Court of Canada judges be bilingual to ensure equal access to justice.
As there is already a shortage of multilingual professionals across Canada, the Liberal government hopes that this new rule will encourage more people to pursue careers in the childcare, education, and healthcare sectors.
French-speaking immigration is a priority for IRCC.
The population of countries where French is a minority language is shrinking. According to the most recent data from 2021, the percentage of non-Quebecers who speak French dropped from 3.6% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2021.
Despite this drop, IRCC has maintained a commitment to facilitating immigration from Francophone countries and providing access to French settlement services for those who live outside of Quebec.
French-speaking immigrants are a priority for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which is why the agency created its Francophone Immigration Strategy in 2019. According to IRCC, they will have successfully admitted 4.4% of French speakers to Canada (excluding Quebec) by the year 2023.
Among the most important goals of the Francophone Immigration Strategy are:
- Candidates who are fluent in both English and French receive bonus Express Entry points.
- Those currently in Canada, such as critical employees and recent international graduates, can follow a temporary residency to permanent residence pathway that includes dedicated streams for French-speaking and bilingual candidates.
- Increased financing has allowed for the hiring of close to 80 French-speaking service providers outside of Quebec to assist with the settling of French speakers.
Lastly, IRCC is working on a revised and more significant admission objective for francophone immigration outside of Quebec as part of the formulation of the strategy for Francophone immigration.
Francophone people from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East are welcomed in Canada.
In April, the federal government of Canada unveiled its Action Plan for Official Languages 2023-2028 in Ottawa.
Additional funding of $1.4 billion spread out over five years is included in the revised Action Plan, bringing the total funding commitment to $3.7 billion.
Over a period of five years, this amounts to more than $4.1 billion. The amount is unprecedented as far as government support for official languages is concerned.
There are four key focuses of the Action Plan:
- Increase the Francophone population’s relative strength quickly through immigration.
- Encourage people to continue learning our two official languages throughout their lives.
- Promote the growth of communities where English is not the primary language spoken.
- Leverage successful government initiatives to aid local neighborhoods
How will the new Action Plan help those who immigrate to Canada from France?
French-speaking communities, especially outside of Quebec, rely heavily on immigrant francophones. A new policy and operational framework for Francophone immigration, funded by $13.4 million over five years as part of the Action Plan, will reevaluate overall governance and existing obligations under the 2019 Francophone Immigration Strategy.
French-speaking or bilingual immigrants to Francophone minority groups will find settlement and integration facilitated by the government’s new operational framework strategy.
Canada and other countries across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas will receive a combined $18.5 million over the next five years to help in recruitment efforts.
The Francophone integration roadmap will also receive $50 million over the course of five years. The goal of the pathway is to increase the capacity of Francophone minority communities to welcome and integrate newcomers to Canada.
According to the Action Plan, this goal will be met through a combination of ongoing programs like Welcoming Francophone Communities and brand new initiatives including a plan to bolster services for French-speaking women immigrants.
With an eye toward the future, $16.3 million will be spent over the course of five years to fund a set of strategic, interrelated initiatives with the goal of increasing the number of primary and secondary school French teachers and French-speaking teachers recruited from abroad. Then, the educators will move to a Canadian community with a small but growing Francophone population.
Finally, the government has pledged $3.5 million to expand and enhance multilingual and French-speaking immigration initiatives.
Canada’s French-speaking immigrants
The government of Canada is tasked with ensuring that both English and French maintain their status as official languages of the country. Canadian Government has three objectives under Official Langauge Act:
- To encourage the growth of English and French language minorities and to further the parity of the English and French languages in Canadian society in terms of status and usage;
- to set out the powers, duties, and functions of the Official Languages Act;
- and to ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions.
Since Quebec is the only French-speaking province in Canada (other than officially bilingual New Brunswick), it is the responsibility of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to recruit and keep French speakers who can help establish and sustain French-speaking communities across the country.
More than 16,300 new immigrants arrived in Francophone minority communities across Canada last year, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated in January.
In 2006, the first year of the census, there were slightly more than 2,800 admissions from French-speaking persons outside of Quebec. An increase of 3.02 percent (from 1.38% to 4.4%) may be seen in admissions for the year 2022.
Even so, the percentage of French speakers in Canada continues to fall. The percentage of French speakers in Canada has decreased from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021, according to IRCC data.
- Canada prioritizes Francophone immigrants.
- Official Languages Act includes immigration.
- Protects French and encourages minorities.
- Ensures bilingualism in federal institutions.
- Action Plan supports language study.