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Quebec Launches Public Consultations on Immigration Strategy Amidst Language Concerns

Published on: September 14th, 2023
Last updated: February 29th, 2024

Quebec is embarking on a crucial journey to redefine its immigration strategy for 2024–2027. Public consultations are set to begin this week

These public consultations will focus on the province’s approach to immigration. Also with a particular emphasis on preserving the French language and culture. They aim to address concerns about the increasing use of English and its impact on Quebec’s unique linguistic identity.

 

Quebec’s Immigration Strategy Public Consultations

Starting this week, Quebec is embarking on a comprehensive series of public consultations aimed at shaping its immigration strategy for the years 2024–2027. These consultations will span three weeks and gather input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including cities, universities, unions, immigration lawyers, and economists. A total of 77 briefs have been submitted in advance, and more than 70 experts and organizations are set to participate.

The focus of these consultations extends beyond economic immigration. These extend to address humanitarian and family immigration concerns, which in recent discussions have overshadowed. Stephan Reichhold, the director general of the Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI), expressed his concerns about the limited attention given to these aspects of immigration.

Quebec has historically welcomed immigrants as a means of fostering integration and inclusivity. But in recent discussions have primarily revolved around addressing labour shortages in the province. These public consultations are a part of the Quebec government’s multi-year immigration planning process and reform, which aims to strike a balance between economic needs and preserving the French language.

 

Quebec Asserts Control Over Immigration

Premier François Legault has reaffirmed Quebec’s determination to control its immigration levels independently. Amidst discussions about the potential influx of permanent immigrants in other Canadian provinces, Premier Legault stated that Quebec alone should decide the number of permanent immigrants it accepts annually. He emphasized the importance of safeguarding the French language and culture in Quebec while also addressing the need to protect the province’s demographic significance within Canada.

Legault’s remarks come in response to concerns raised by the Century Initiative, a proposal aiming to increase Canada‘s population to 100 million by 2100. While Canada’s population currently stands at around 39 million, the Century Initiative has sparked debates about the potential impact on Quebec’s linguistic identity.

The premier made it clear that Quebec’s goal is to assume full jurisdiction over immigration from the federal government. However, the immediate focus is safeguarding the French language, especially among temporary foreign workers, such as foreign students. Legault’s government is exploring ways to ensure that these temporary workers learn French during their time in Quebec.

Quebec’s public consultations on immigration strategy and Premier Legault’s commitment to control immigration levels have sparked critical discussions. One of them is about the province’s future. Balancing economic needs with language and culture preservation remains a complex challenge for Quebec, and the outcomes of these consultations will play a pivotal role in shaping the province’s immigration policies for the next several years.

 

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