English-Speaking Asylum Claimants Should Go To Other Provinces, Says Quebec 

English-Speaking Asylum Claimants Should Go To Other Provinces, Says Quebec
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Only French-speaking asylum claimants should be directed to settle in Quebec, says the francophone province’s language commissioner.

“A new federal-provincial agreement is needed to support the welcoming and integration of asylum claimants,” wrote French Language Commissioner Benoît Dubreuil in French.

“The agreement should not only include a cost-sharing agreement but also attempt to reduce the costs of linguistic integration. In that way, people who already speak English should be re-directed to one of the eight anglophone provinces which receive very few asylum claimants.”

In Canada, only New Brunswick is fully bilingual at the provincial level. Quebec is officially francophone and the other provinces operate in English.

Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Frechette and other provincial ministers in the province are not closing the door on the language commissioner’s recommendation.

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“It’s something we need to look at. It’s something we need to review,” Jean-François Roberge, the provincial minister of the French language and Canadian relations, reportedly said.

The provincial immigration minister says Quebec has asked the federal government to act on a voluntary basis to distribute asylum seekers across Canada.

“After that, the means it uses to do so are at its discretion,” Fréchette  reportedly said. “What is urgent is to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Quebec.”

The provincial government in Quebec sees immigration, particularly that immigration from non-French-speaking countries, as a possible threat to the long-term viability of the Quebecois culture.

Premier François Legault has made it clear his government is deeply-committed to ensuring the survival of the French language and has gone so far as to put forth proposals to limit all economic immigration to the province to French-speaking immigrants by 2026.

“As premier of Quebec, my first responsibility is to defend our language and our identity,” said Legault.

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“During the past few years, the French language has been in decline in Quebec. Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more so than any previous government since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Levesque government.

“But, if we want to turn the tide, we must do more. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely francophone economic immigration. We have the duty, as Québécois, to speak French, to daily pass on our culture and to be proud of it.”

Quebec’s French language commissioner wants that francophone province to strike a deal with Ottawa to ensure French-speaking asylum claimants will be directed to settle in Quebec and those who speak only English will be sent to one of the other provinces.

According to the language commissioner’s report, 39.5 per cent of work permit holders in Quebec, 14.1 per cent of study permit holders there, and 5.2 per cent of asylum claimants to the province were unable to function in the French language at the level required by Quebec’s language courses last year.

Many Immigrants To Quebec Can’t Speak French, Report Claims

“In 2021, 33.4 per cent of temporary immigrants were incapable of having a conversation in French, or 60,635 people aged 15 and over,” notes the language commissioner’s report.

His report states the proportion of Quebec residents who cannot speak conversational French has grown from 5.6 per cent in 2016 to 7.2 per cent last year.

“In 2021, 35.5 per cent of temporary immigrants were working primarily in English,” notes the report. “That share of those working in English was highest among those with study permits, at 44.1 per cent, while still being high among those with work permits, at 32.9 per cent and 29.2 per cent among asylum claimants,” notes the report.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.