The Canada-Québec Accord Made Easy

Federal-Provincial Relations
Renée Joyal
November 2, 1994

I. Basic information

Name: Canada-Québec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens

Date: February 5, 1991

Signatories: Ministre des Communautés culturelles et de l’immigration
(then Mrs. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay)

Ministre de la justice et ministre délégué aux affaires Intergouvernementales canadiennes
(then Gil Remillard)

Minister of Employment and Immigration
(then the Honourable Barbara McDougall)

Hence the name “the Gagnon-Tremblay|McDougall Accord” sometimes used.

II. Québec’s 20 years in immigration

  • 1968 – Québec established its own department of immigration
  • 1971 – the first Canada-Québec immigration agreement was signed (Lang/Cloutier): allowed Québec to have representatives in Canadian embassies and to do counselling abroad
  • 1975 – the Andras/Bienvenue agreement gave Québec a part in the selection process: allowed Québec to do interviews and to make recommendations to visa officers
  • 1978 – the Cullen/Couture agreement gave Québec a say in the selection of immigrants abroad: allowed Québec to define its own selection criteria
  • 1991 – accord builds on this mutual commitment – the first agreement to give Québec selection powers in Canada

III. Structure of the Accord

  • The Accord Proper
  • Annex A – Modalities
  • Describes the Joint Committees
  • Annex B – Compensation
  • Annex C – Québec’s Agents Abroad
  • Annex D – Investor Immigrants Program
  • Letter of Understanding & Annex
  • Dealt With the Transition Period

IV. The Accord proper

The Preamble

  • Recognizes the distinct identity of Québec
  • Takes into account the federal and bilingual character of Canada
  • Highlights the reunification of families and responsibilities with respect to humanitarian considerations
  • Guarantees mobility rights and equality, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Main Headings

  • Admission and Selection
  • Reception and Integration
  • Levels of Immigration to Québec
  • General

Admission and Selection

  • Application for permanent residence shall ordinarily be submitted and considered outside the country (article 9)
  • Canada decides which persons may have their application considered in Canada (article 10) – Québec generally has the same selection powers in Canada and abroad (article 11)
  • Canada defines immigration categories (who is eligible and who is not), and establishes selection criteria for family (preamble and article 13)
  • Canada determines whether an immigrant belongs in the family class and who is a refugee or a person in similar situation (articles 13 and 17)
  • Québec selects refugees from abroad and independent immigrants (articles 12 to 21) but not refugees so found in Canada (article 20)
  • Canada admits immigrants who meet Québec’s selection criteria unless they are inadmissible (article 12)

Reception and Integration

  • Québec provides reception and integration services (article 24)
  • Canada withdraws from the services to be provided byQuébec (articles 24 and 25)
  • Canada provides reasonable compensation (article 26 & Annex B)
  • Canada remains responsible for citizenship and multiculturalism services (articles 28 and 29)

Levels of Immigration

  • Canada establishes the total for the country (article 5)
  • Québec provides advice on the number it wishes to receive (article 5)
  • Both undertake to pursue a policy that will allow Quebec to receive a percentage of the total equal to the percentage of Quebec’s population compared with the population of Canada (articles 6 and 7)
  • Québec undertakes to receive a percentage of refugees and persons in similar situation at least equal to the percentage of immigrants it accepts (article 8)


  • Mutual consultation before amending statutes and regulations (article 31)
  • Accord may be re-opened with prior notice of 6 months (article 33)
  • Failing agreement, the Accord continues into force

V. The annexes

Annex A

  • The Joint Committee
  • The Implementation Committee
  • Operation of the Accord

Annex B – The Compensation

  • Lists the services from which Canada has withdrawn
  • Provides fixed compensation for four years, up to 1994-95
  • Describes the formula to be applied from 1995-96 and onward
  • The funding is not directly linked to the number of immigrants received

Annex C – Québec’s Agents Abroad

  • General provisions to ensure cooperation
  • Presence of Quebec officials in Canadian missions

Annex D – Investor Immigrants Program

  • Quebec to administer its own program in a manner consistent with objectives set in regulations as they were in 1990
  • Both parties to harmonize their standards and practices in implementing the program
  • Canada agrees to admit immigrants who meet key requirements of Quebec regulations unless admissible. disagreements to be resolved through consultations

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