IRCC Annual Report to Parliament Segment on Francophone Immigration Illustrates Policy Success
Our bilingual country is made more vibrant with the inclusion of international French-speaking Immigrants.
To this end, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) supports immigration policy geared towards programs to attract, welcome, integrate, and retain larger numbers of French-speaking immigrants to Canada, to bolster the vitality of the 6.7 million French Canadians already home in Canada's Francophone communities across the country. In support of French speakers and the Canadian bilingual spirit, the Canadian Government has a special goal of encouraging settlement in areas outside of traditionally French-speaking Quebec. The policy's goal is for Canada to reach a French Language population level of 4.4% of the total Canadian population.
In its 2022 annual report to parliament on immigration, IRCC reviewed its progress on the 2018 to 2023 Action Plan for Official Languages and policy on French Language Immigration. French-speaking communities, Canadian community leaders, and experts in immigration worked together with the IRCC towards the development of these informed strategies in place until 2023. Implementation of these strategies encourages diversity, inclusion, and evidence-based policy in Canada.
For a recap, the Action Plan for Official Languages comprises three key pillars of the Francophone Integration Pathway.
• Strengthening our Communities - Empowering community voices, investing in more community gathering spaces, investing in early learning and childcare: better access for families, investing in culture, enhancing the vitality of francophone minority communities through immigration: a national strategy.
• Strengthening Access to Services - Supporting minority-language education, improving access to justice, expanding access to health services, rethinking the government's offer of services to communities, improving access to provincial and territorial services.
• Promoting a Bilingual Canada - Officially recognizing the bilingual character of Canada's capital, learning for free – anyone, anywhere in Canada, ensuring language quality, investing in teacher recruitment strategies – second-language learning, providing opportunities for young people, more opportunities for language and culture exchanges.
Despite the significant delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic border closings, which almost stopped the flow of French-speaking immigrants for a limited time, Canada is making progress towards achieving its French language immigration goals. In 2021 and the first seasons of 2022, immigration numbers already showed signs of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 so far, the Pro-Francophone policies of the IRCC resulted in a 3.6% rise in French-speaking permanent resident admissions during the seven months between January and July. In the 2021 report period, 6,946 French speakers gained admittance to Canada outside of Quebec. 6,946 is compared with the 5,000 Francophone permanent residents who are accepted in an average year. That's among a Canadian population of 38.5 million and the total number of global native French speakers of 300,000 million people.
Success in landing new Francophone immigrants and locating French speakers in areas of Canada outside of Quebec is attributed to three selection tools supporting French-speaking candidates.
· The Targeted recruitment of potential Francophone immigrants
· The Virtual Destination Canada (a job fair for French-speaking candidates), and the
· Francophone Integration Pathway Programs
While immigrant recruitment abroad also experienced delays during the COVID-19 period, efforts to achieve immigration goals shifted focus towards inland applications. As a result, officers were recruited from among recent Canadian graduates and essential workers. Unfortunately, only a few French speakers working and living on temporary permits in Canada were able to transition from temporary to permanent residency. Of those invited, the majority of successful Francophone permanent resident applications came from the countries of France, Morocco, and the African countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon, with applications from these countries accounting for 60% of Francophone applications.
As in immigration in other sectors, economic class applications continue to represent the largest successful recruitment group. Sixty percent of new French-speaking permanent residents were accepted to Provincial/Territorial and Federal economic class programs and Provincial Nominee programs. French speaking applicants represent 8% of the total 7,000 applications received. The Provincial Nominee Program accepted 1,225 French speakers, the second largest program acceptance number of permanent residents. At the same time, the Mobilité Francophone stream empowered employers outside Quebec to hire French-speaking immigrant workers to support their companies, reducing labour shortages and offering quality job placements.
The IRCC budget to complete its action plan for official languages saw a nearly 500 million dollar injection in support of the promotion of official language growth last year . In addition, 11 million dollars went to services supporting applicants from within the countries of origin before arrival in Canada. A total of $40.8 million was dedicated to attracting French-speaking immigrants and retaining them in Canada. Coordinating efforts with Francophone minority communities, employers, provinces, and territories supporting Francophone Immigration proved valuable.
Another encouragement to the inclusion of bilingual speakers with strong French language skills was the addition of Express Entry points for French speakers. Applicants who pass French language testing can earn express entry points. In addition, those applying to French language immigration programs found the cost of testing for French language skills lowered to reduce barriers to those speakers with strong French language skills entering Canada via French language speaking programs.
French speakers teaching French immigrant programs gained 31 million in support as communities inviting Francophone immigration chose native French speakers to teach and mentor new French-speaking immigrants on their journey towards becoming well-integrated French-Canadian citizens. The initiative strengthens solidarity within the French community towards new immigrants from the time of landing.
The Welcome Francophone Communities pilot project was a particularly successful highlight of this year's report . Immigrant agencies like the IRCC, the provinces and territories and immigrant agencies are working closely to endorse cities and villages with French-speaking populations outside of Quebec as attractive homes and communities for settling. 14 rural communities participated in the welcome pilot.
Communities such as Clare, Nova Scotia, and Prince George, British Columbia, actively recruited French Language immigrants with the tagline "Come make your life in French in Canada a reality." In addition, Francophone settlement services were made available at the Toronto Pearson Airport to put new immigrants on successful tracks from their first day in Canada. Overall, the IRCC Action Plan for Official Languages strategies are succeeding in increasing Canada's number of Francophone permanent residents to Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon, buoying the vitality of French minority communities outside of Quebec and enhancing French-speaking culture in Canada.
action-plan.pdf annual-report-2022-en.pdf (canada.ca) 32-33 https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/official-languages-bilingualism/official-languages-action-plan/2018-2023.html#a9e