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Canada passes new law to promote Francophone Immigration

Canada passes new law to promote Francophone Immigration

Canada has enacted a new rule that prioritizes francophone immigration and minorities outside of Quebec in order to highlight the significance of the French language in Canada.

The Official Languages Act (OLA) now includes immigration for the first time thanks to Bill C-13. The OLA is the federal law that declared English and French to be Canada's official languages. The new law updates the National Languages Act to acknowledge that French, as a Canadian national language, is in danger and needs to be safeguarded. It is split into three sections. The first portion modifies the Official Languages Act, the second part governs the use of French in privately owned, federally controlled businesses, and the third part describes how the law will be used in practice.

The new law acknowledges the significance of francophone immigration to francophone minority populations beyond Quebec by introducing immigration in the Official Languages Act for the first time.

Legislative changes are among the immigration-related initiatives. In particular, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are required to create a francophone immigration policy with objectives, targets, and indicators. The fact that immigration is acknowledged as a factor in preserving or boosting the demographic weight of Francophone minority communities. The law also allows those who work in federally regulated private companies in Quebec or in areas of French speakers outside of Quebec to conduct business and receive services in French. Due to a shortage of multilingual professionals, the Liberal government hopes that the new law would enhance the availability of childcare, education, and health care services in French across Canada.

The dedication of IRCC to French-speaking immigration

Communities with minority francophones are seeing a reduction in their population size. The most recent census, conducted in 2021, revealed a decrease in the overall percentage of Francophones living outside of Quebec, from 3.6% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2021. The IRCC is aware of this decline and has a history of supporting both access to French settlement services as well as Francophone immigration outside of Quebec. The Francophone Immigration Strategy was introduced by IRCC in 2019 to support efforts along the immigration process, from recruitment and marketing of IRCC missions abroad to selection and integration in Canada.

Under the Francophone Immigration Strategy, several important projects include:

- Awarded additional points for candidates who speak French and are bilingual under Express Entry Temporary dedicated streams for candidates who speak French and are bilingual as part of the temporary residence to permanent residence pathway for essential workers and recent international graduates who are already in Canada

- Increased funding has allowed for the delivery of settlement services to French-speaking newcomers outside of Quebec by over 80 francophone service providers.

- The creation of the strategy on francophone immigration, which includes a new and more significant admission objective for francophone immigration beyond Quebec, is now being worked on by IRCC.

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