Quebec’s immigration minister has announced $5.3 million in extra funding for settlement services aimed at young immigrants.
“Adolescence and early adulthood are crucial stages in the development and growth of young people,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette in French in a statement.
“Our government is committed to these young people, born of immigrant parents, encouraging them to participate in projects where they will be able to achieve their full potential to create and express themselves.
“This investment will make it possible to provide them with the tools and services to help strengthen their ties with their host community, Quebec.”
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The new money is earmarked for organizations providing settlement services in French for immigrants aged 14 to 25 years old as part of Quebec’s Program to Accompany and Support Integration, known in French as the Programme d’accompagnement et de soutien à l’intégration (PASI)
The funds will support 13 projects, each one undertaken by a different non-profit organization which offers settlement services, in each of the four regions of the province, the national capital region, Lanaudière, Montérégie and Montréal.
Among the projects to be undertaken are:
- multidisciplinary artistic events conceptualized and developed by the youth themselves;
- opportunities to learn about participation in public life in a democracy;
- activities to reach out to young immigrants who may be feeling isolated due to hearing impairments and empower them, and;
- the establishment of an advisory group for youth to participate in municipal affairs and develop their own activities within the community.
In the three years ending in 2025, the youth component of PASI is expected to invest slightly more than $1.2 million the province’s national capital region, which includes Quebec City, $431,257 in the Lanaudière region, slightly more than $1.1 million in the Montérégie region, and almost $2.5 million in Greater Montreal.
Quebec Premier And Immigration Minister Holding The Line On Immigration Level Increases
The latest data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals Quebec welcomed 68,685 new permanent residents last year, up 36.6 per cent from 50,275 in 2021.
Under a provincial-federal agreement, Quebec’s annual share of new permanent residents is to be equal to its demographic clout within Canada.
Since the province has 23 per cent of the country’s population, the national immigration target of 465,000 new permanent residents under the current Immigration Levels Plan released by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser would mean Quebec could accept up to 106,950 new permanent residents this year.
But Quebec Premier François Legault and his immigration minister have both made it clear they are in no hurry to significantly increase immigration levels to the province, citing the need to ensure adequate settlement services so the newcomers will be able to integrate properly into Quebecois society.
“It is up to Quebec to set its own targets for permanent immigration,” tweeted Fréchette.
“The upper limit for Quebec is now 50,000 (new permanent residents) due to our capacity to welcome, provide French-language services and integrate them.”
The francophone province’s immigration minister has maintained that Quebec is already welcoming proportionately more immigrants than either the United States or France.
“Our position has remained the same: we need more control over immigration to protect the French language,” tweeted Fréchette.
By 2025, Quebec Allowed To Accept Up To 115,000 New Permanent Residents Annually
In the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa is targeting 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025.
That’s a total of 1.45 million immigrants to Canada over the coming three years.
That means that by 2025 Quebec could be allowed to receive up to 115,000 new permanent residents annually.
But Legault’s CAQ government is steadfast in its opposition to that level of immigration to the province. The premier claims Quebec lacks the ability to integrate that many newcomers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has publicly disagreed.
“Quebec at the moment is fully capable of welcoming 112,000 immigrants a year,” the prime minister reportedly told Presse Canadienne.