Patrick Doyle The Canadian Press Minister Marc Miller now wants to establish the target for French-speaking immigrants who settle outside Quebec at 6%, to “ respond to the issue of the decline of French-speaking minority communities”.
A little over a year after first reaching its 4.4% target, Ottawa plans to increase the target for French-speaking immigration outside Quebec to reverse the “decline of French-speaking minority communities.”
“When we look at people who speak French, whether inside Quebec or outside Quebec, French is threatened in a sea of English,” recognized Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller. “I totally agree that French is under threat in North America,” he added, while declining to say whether Tremblay's language is in “decline” across the country.
< p>In 2022, Canada reached its French-speaking immigration target outside Quebec for the first time, set in 2003. Last year, more than 16,300 French-speaking immigrants settled outside the province, which represents a total of 4.4% of this category of immigrants.
However, since the modernization of the Official Languages Act in June, the federal government has committed to restoring the demographic weight of French-speaking minority communities to what it was in 1971, i.e. 6.1%.
Wednesday evening, the Conservative Joël Godin and the Bloc Mario Beaulieu vigorously questioned Minister Miller at the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Coming to testify on French-speaking immigration to Canada, Sean Fraser's successor indicated that he wanted to set the target at 6%, to “respond to the challenge of the decline of French-speaking minority communities”, a “flagship priority for the coming years ”.
A subject on which he said he was ready to collaborate with Quebec, while Mario Beaulieu questioned him about the risk of drawing on the province's immigration pool. “The French-speaking immigration pools are not unlimited, so we must try to coordinate so as not to harm each other. But you seem to be open to that, I'm happy with that,” replied the official languages spokesperson for the Bloc Québécois, after Mr. Miller assured him that Canada was not going to “steal whatever it's up to whoever it is.”
More robust mechanisms
“I would like to go up to 6 [%], but that, that’s a 50% increase on a target that has been difficult to achieve. So, it will take ambition, it will take mechanisms that are in place to ensure the sustainability of the system, even if it means being able to increase it later. »
Despite the lack of ambition represented by the old objective, according to the minister, the “mechanisms that were in place to be able to reach 4.4% were not as robust as we would like to see them”. Mr. Miller recognized that there was in particular “an effort to be made in terms of personnel and resources”.
The planned revision of the target is still far from the rate requested since April 2022 by the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada (FCFA). It would like the federal government to set a target of 12% from 2024, which would reach 20% by 2030.
Based on a “statistical study”, the FCFA claims that “no figure below 10% would be enough to slow down the demographic decline of the Francophonie.” “Let us be very clear, such a target [of 6%] would be neither sufficient nor acceptable for our communities,” she wrote at the start of the parliamentary term.
This report benefits from the support of the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.