Canada has opened a new Centre for Innovation in Francophone Immigration in New Brunswick, the only officially-bilingual province, as part of its bid to boost the number of newcomers who speak French.
“In recent years, southeastern New Brunswick has become greatly diversified and demonstrates to what extent immigration is a key component of a region’s economic success,” said federal minister Dominic LeBlanc during the inauguration ceremony last week.
“Dieppe is therefore the perfect place to host this new center of national scope, which will be equipped with new tools to reach our targets in terms of francophone immigration.
“We will continue to listen to francophone communities across the country regarding their needs for a bilingual and qualified workforce.”
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The centre comes with a hefty price tag: $12.9 million from Ottawa to establish the centre over a four-year period.
And then there’s the at least $5.6 million annually to cover the cost of the programming.
In a statement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) admitted the annual cost of operating the centre could be even higher depending on the scope of the programming.
But Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor figures the money is well worth it.
“This initiative will support the efforts needed to ensure the stability and demographic growth of francophone communities in Atlantic Canada and across the country,” she said.
“The modernization of the Official Languages Act, introduced by our government last March, proposes to adopt a francophone immigration policy with specific goals, targets and indicators that will ensure the sustainability of our beautiful French language. The new centre will help turn that vision into action.”
The work the centre is to do is to be national in scope. It is expected to:
- make immigration programs more accessible in order to increase the number of French-speaking candidates selected;
- conduct case studies to better meet the bilingual workforce needs of francophone employers and communities, and;
- support international promotion efforts to attract and recruit French-speaking candidates in our labour market.
Work Of New Francophone Immigration Centre Is National In Scope
“As this year marks the 10th edition of National Francophone Immigration Week, the Honourable Sean Fraser, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and I are proud to participate in the celebrations that highlight the contributions of French-speaking newcomers to communities across Canada,” said IRCC parliamentary secretary Marie-France Lalonde.
“The opening of the new Centre for Innovation in Francophone Immigration in Dieppe is an opportunity for us to demonstrate Canada’s efforts to attract and retain French-speaking newcomers in welcoming and inclusive communities.”
Through the centre, IRCC plans to work closely with francophone communities and with organizations responsible for selecting immigration candidates to boost francophone immigration outside of Quebec to 4.4 per cent of total immigration to those provinces and territories.
Under the latest Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025, Ottawa is hoping to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents next year. Quebec Premier Francois Legault has stated his province will accept about 50,000 of those newcomers, leaving about 415,000 new permanent residents to settle in the rest of the country.
Ottawa’s target of 4.4 per cent francophone immigration would therefore translate into about 18,200 new francophone permanent residents coming to Canada, outside of Quebec, next year.
That’s roughly the population of Camrose, Alberta, being added to Canada’s francophone identity every year.