Quebec ignores the real number of temporary immigrants on its territory | Elections Quebec 2022

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Quebec does not know the real number of temporary immigrants on its territory | &Elections Québec 2022

The number of 177,000 temporary immigrants in Quebec may be greatly underestimated.

For months, politicians have been repeating that there are 177,000 temporary immigrants in Quebec. However, Radio-Canada has discovered that this number may be greatly underestimated and that, in reality, the government does not have an accurate picture of the situation.

Since the published figures are calculated from various Statistics Canada sources, the ministry is unable to confirm their accuracy, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration ( MIFI) from Quebec, Arianne Méthot.

The number of 177,000 was nevertheless advanced with confidence last June by the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Jean Boulet, as proof that Ottawa must give Quebec full powers over immigration.

During the election campaign, the leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, also used this number of 177,000 to affirm that the Legault government has lost control of temporary immigration to Quebec.

However, the actual number of temporary foreign workers, international students, asylum seekers, as well as their spouses and children, may be much higher. It could even be around 280,000, according to a calculation endorsed by Statistics Canada.

If there is no certainty, it is because Statistics Canada has voluntarily ceased since 2018 to publish the total number of these non-permanent residents. However, the organization continued to publish a quarterly balance.

Adding the total number last published on April 1, 2018 (159,078) and all balances published since (120,274) , we arrive at a total number of 279,352 non-permanent residents in Quebec.

Statistics Canada confirms that this total is not very far from the number of non-permanent residents estimated in Quebec, as of July 1st. However, the organization prefers not to officially publish this figure, as it is a fragile estimate.

“That's why we no longer broadcast it.

—Hubert Denis, Center for Demography, Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada explains that, to make its estimates, it relies on data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). However, these data probably underestimate the number of work permit holders who come to the country with children, for example.

Conversely, it is possible that some workers temporary foreigners have already left the country, even if their permit has not yet expired. Statistics Canada is therefore looking for solutions to have more reliable data and thus resume publishing the number of non-permanent residents as of September 2023.

“We are currently working with IRCC to address these issues […] There is no point in releasing statistics of which we are not sure of the quality. »

— Hubert Denis, from the Demography Center of Statistics Canada

Quebec must absolutely find a way to identify non-permanent residents, if only to know to whom the government will have to provide public services, says immigration lawyer Maxime Lapointe.

It is time to have precise and up-to-date data on the subject to avoid discrepancies and slippages, adds Me Lapointe.

At the start of the week, François Legault had no elsewhere have not been able to say how many temporary immigrants are in Quebec. I don't have those figures with me, replied the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) to a journalist who asked him the question.

Mr. Legault also said that he did not have a target for temporary immigrants, unlike permanent immigrants, for whom he sets the limit at 50,000 per year.

We will go there according to the rapidly changing labor market needs, indicated the head of the CAQ. What is important is when they become permanent, that they speak French.

Wednesday, the president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal had also expressed reservations about this approach, which he described as dependence on workers temporary.

It creates situations where these temporary workers are fragile in companies, dependent on a relationship with an employer. We would like these people to know quickly that they are useful to the economy, said Michel Leblanc.

This is also the opinion of Anne- Michèle Meggs, ex-director of planning at MIFI, now retired. Setting a limit of 50,000 permanent residents per year in Quebec while the number of temporary immigrants is not planned is problematic, she says.

They all need a roof. Some arrive with a spouse. There are some who are here long enough to have children or who can even come with children, and there is no place in CPE, she observes.

That, we didn't calculate that. There is no planning done in this way, laments Ms. Meggs.

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