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Accompagnement Québec is perhaps not well-known enough, admits Christine Fréchette

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press “It’s one of the tools we have, we’re going to make sure our tools are optimal,” said Christine Fréchette.

Lisa-Marie Gervais

Published yesterday at 1:21 p.m. Updated yesterday at 5:54 p.m.

  • Quebec

The Minister of Immigration, Christine Fréchette, is not closing the door to a “revision” of Accompagnement Québec, free government assistance aimed at supporting immigrants in their integration, nor to raising awareness the service. “It’s one of the tools we have, we’re going to make sure our tools are optimal,” she said. “We’re going to do a review. And if there is a lack of knowledge of this tool, we will make sure to make it more visible. »

Le Devoirrevealed Thursday that this service was unknown to the vast majority of newcomers wishing to settle in Quebec and that it was criticized by several immigrant aid organizations, who see it as of little use. Last year, just over 12,000 people benefited from an assessment of their needs by Accompagnement Québec, while hundreds of thousands of immigrants received a pass to reside permanently or temporarily in Quebec. Some organizations said they were unaware of what this service does, while others deplored certain duplication in the assistance offered.

Questioned on the subject in the chamber, Minister Fréchette explained that her government had to redeploy a network of regional offices and support services to better welcome immigrants in the regions “because the Liberal Party had quite simply dismantled it.” she said, skinning her opponent in the process. “We rebuilt this network. Not only did we reopen it, but we consolidated it, we expanded it and we continue to do so. »

Accompagnement Québec is one of its tools, she emphasized. “Maybe he’s not well-known enough. If that's the issue, and that seems to be what's emerging, well, we're going to work on giving it more visibility. »

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Opposition parties are questioning this service, which they describe as a failure. “Accompagnement Québec, which was supposed to be the flagship of welcoming and supporting immigrants, barely manages to serve 10% of its clientele. Another CAQ failure,” said Liberal André A. Morin, MP for Acadia and spokesperson for the official opposition on immigration.

Declaring that it is “another observation of failure”, the member for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, the solidarity-based Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, does not, however, advocate the abolition of Accompagnement Québec. “I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I think it demonstrates the inability of the [Coalition Avenir Québec] to deliver the goods on immigration,” he said during a press briefing. “I think we have immense integration challenges. And the organizations reminded us that they play this role, [and] that [they] do not understand duplication. I think there is work to be done on this. »

PQ MP Pascal Bérubé maintains that it is the minister's responsibility to ensure that her programs work well, but also believes that the program should be reformed rather than abandoned. “I always prefer to reform an existing program than to create one at all costs,” he said. I think we need to give the program a chance, because it takes money to implement it, time, training. »

With Marie-Michèle Sioui

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116