Policy on Francophone Immigration

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Message from the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

English and French, as our official languages, have long been integral to shaping Canada’s history and remain at the heart of Canadian identity today. Along with Indigenous languages, the first voices of our country, Canada’s official bilingualism serves as a powerful symbol of the diversity and inclusion that characterizes our society. In fact, one of the objectives of our immigration system is to respect the equality of English and French so that communities and individuals who speak either of those languages benefit from immigration. In the same vein, immigrants need to be able to settle in vibrant and thriving Francophone and Acadian minority communities with infrastructures, services and activities that allow them to live their lives in French.

However, the Government of Canada recognizes the demographic decline of Francophone and Acadian minority communities over the past decades (dropping from  6.1% in 1971 to 3.5% of the Canadian population outside Quebec in 2021). There is an urgent need to address this decline, particularly by leveraging Francophone immigration. The Government’s commitment to restoring and increasing the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian minority communities is now enshrined in the modernized Official Languages Act.

With this Policy on Francophone Immigration, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to enhance the long-term vitality and prosperity of Francophone and Acadian minority communities and pave a path toward restoring and increasing their demographic weight within an immigration system that is fair, equitable and non-discriminatory. The Policy makes Francophone immigration a permanent priority at the heart of the Department’s work, strengthening our actions across the immigration continuum for both permanent and temporary residents. It proposes an ambitious, evidence-based approach that will enable IRCC to gradually increase its admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents and support the overall success of French-speaking newcomers who choose to settle in Francophone and Acadian minority communities.

Enhancing the vitality of these communities, particularly by restoring and increasing their demographic weight, is a noble yet monumental objective. It is a pan-governmental and pan-Canadian issue whose scope goes beyond immigration. Sustained commitment and willingness to act will be required, and the Department will work to foster its partners’ engagement in this regard.

Translating an increase in admissions of French-speaking immigrants into increased demographic weight requires several conditions to be in place for success: the availability of employment and housing, credential recognition, the provision of essential services in French and the promotion of French and Francophone and Acadian minority communities in Canada’s diplomatic relations. In order to succeed, we need all key players on board.

Immigration is a shared jurisdiction with provincial and territorial governments. Intergovernmental collaboration is therefore essential. IRCC hopes this Policy will be a catalyst to create and sustain opportunities for collaboration that will benefit everyone.

We also need to leverage the experience and knowledge of Francophone and Acadian minority communities who are best placed to define their priorities. For immigrants to succeed, we need to  understand their needs and aspirations. French-speaking newcomers contribute to the economy, social fabric and culture of their host community and the entire country. It is in linking the immigrant's individual project to the collective process of the host community that vitality for all is fostered.  

Francophone and Acadian minority communities within the Canadian Francophonie are facing major economic and demographic challenges. My Department has a long-standing commitment to Francophone immigration outside Quebec and by combining forces with other key players, we intend to rise to meet these challenges.

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Introduction

The Policy on Francophone Immigration (hereinafter the Policy)Footnote1 replaces the Francophone Immigration Strategy adopted in 2019. The Strategy consolidated the Department’s Francophone immigration actions and helped achieve the 4.4% target for French-speaking permanent resident admissions in 2022. Investments in support of the Strategy also fostered the integration of French-speaking newcomers via the Francophone Integration Pathway and strengthened the capacities of Francophone and Acadian minority communities (hereinafter Francophone and Acadian communities).

Required by the Official Languages Act, the Policy builds on the Strategy’s efforts and achievements, while paving the way for concrete, ambitious and innovative action in the short, medium and long term for the following five key action areas:

  1. a Francophone lens;
  2. admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents;
  3. actions across the immigration continuum (promotion, selection, integration);
  4. multi-stakeholder collaboration; and,
  5. data and research.

The Policy applies to both permanent and temporary immigration. It also outlines how implementation, monitoring, and communications on progress and reporting regarding IRCC’s work will be undertaken.

The Policy includes a five-year Implementation Plan that outlines objectives for each action area, as well as flagship measures, targets and indicators (see Appendix).

Five-year Implementation Plan

  • Integrated into the Policy
  • Specific sub-objectives by action area
  • Flagship measures
  • Performance indicators and targets allowing for continued progress monitoring for the Department's work, as well as a comprehensive evaluation at the end of the five-year period
  • Additions to and deletions from the Plan, as required

Monitoring, reporting and communication on progress

  • Annual discussions on the Implementation Plan with provinces/territories and community stakeholders
  • Coordination of the Policy within the Department
  • Communication on annual progress; five-year report to Parliament on the Policy; report on the Official Languages Act every 10 years

Vision

The Policy strives for an expanded presence of thriving Francophone and Acadian communities that benefit from growing immigration to enrich their social and economic fabric. The overall success of French-speaking immigrants within welcoming communities is part of a positive feedback loop—it is both a condition for and proof of the vitality of these communities.

Positive feedback loop: Francophone communities benefit from the French-speaking immigrants who successfully integrate.

Scope

Enhancing the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities is an integral part of IRCC’s mandate. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act calls on the Department to “support and assist the development of minority official languages communities in Canada” and “support the commitment of the Government of Canada to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada.”

IRCC recognizes the ongoing demographic decline of Francophone and Acadian communities and the need for an urgent response. It also recognizes the importance of leveraging immigration in respect of the Government of Canada’s commitment and ambition in the new Official Languages Act with regard to restoring and increasing the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities to what it was according to the 1971 census, namely, 6.1%.

IRCC is aware that restoring demographic weight depends on a variety of factors, some of which are beyond IRCC’s mandate and control. These include, among others, low fertility rates, incomplete intergenerational transmission of French, language transfers toward English, inter-provincial mobility, long-term retention in Francophone minority contexts, labour market needs and requirements and employment-related skills, as well as the availability of services (for example, for education and healthcare) in French.

The Policy applies to IRCC and falls entirely under its responsibility. It is a strategic framework that will serve as a lasting guide for developing and implementing IRCC’s policies and programs across the immigration continuum in the short, medium and long term, be it in carrying out international promotional activities or selecting French-speaking immigrants and helping them settle in Canada.

IRCC’s actions are carried out while respecting other federal departments’ mandates, and the shared jurisdiction over immigration with provincial and territorial governments and their linguistic diversity. Nevertheless, the Policy’s success depends on close collaboration between IRCC, other federal departments, provincial and territorial governments and Francophone and Acadian communities.

The new Official Languages Act

Recently modernized through the Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages, the Official Languages Act reinforces the Government’s language obligations. Among other things, it states that “the Government of Canada recognizes:

  • that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities in Canada;Footnote2 and
  • the importance of Francophone immigration to economic development.”

The Act also sets out the obligation for the Minister of IRCC to adopt “a policy on Francophone immigration to enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in Canada, including by restoring and increasing their demographic weight.”

The Act defines restoration as a “return of the demographic weight of all members of those communities whose first official language spoken is French to the level it had at the time of the census of population of Canada taken by Statistics Canada in 1971, namely, 6.1% of the population outside Quebec.”

Moreover, the Act acknowledges that the contribution of all federal institutions is important to ensure the restoration and increase of demographic weight; in fact, to “restore and increase the demographic weight” is included as an example of positive measures that federal institutions could take to meet their obligations under the Official Languages Act.

Goals

In alignment with IRCC’s mandate and role, the Policy aims to enhance the vitality and economic development of Francophone and Acadian communities. In concrete terms, its goals are to:

Action Areas

The Policy’s five action areas are essential for successful Francophone immigration. Together, they chart a clear path forward to ensure the continued priority of Francophone immigration within IRCC and the implementation of a consistent approach that links the Policy’s goals to the Department’s actions.

1. The Francophone lens

Ensure that the objectives, levers and challenges of Francophone immigration are taken into account in the development of all IRCC policies and programs

Canada’s immigration system is guided by the Government’s commitment to enhancing the vitality and development of official language minority communities. The French language’s minority status in Canada requires special consideration. IRCC must also take into account the priorities and particularities of Francophone and Acadian communities in its current and future actions.

With the Policy, Francophone immigration is a priority that is now at the heart of the Department’s program. As such, it requires the development and implementation of a Francophone lens that informs the Department’s decisions and actions. The lens is a tool that applies to existing and future policies, programs and measures, as well as those that are under development. It ensures that at every step of the development, implementation and evaluation of policies, programs and measures, the Department maximizes its contribution to Francophone immigration and the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities. The lens fosters the adoption of measures that take into account the realities, priorities and needs of newcomers and communities alike.

Furthermore, the lens helps identify risks and barriers to achieving Francophone immigration objectives, including those related to the availability of financial support, and implement mitigation measures when applicable, considering that immigration is subject to factors that can shift current priorities (conflicts, natural catastrophes, etc.).

The implementation of certain aspects of the Francophone lens will be done progressively, starting with its integration into key programs, processes and policies and then expanding to all of the Department's work in the shortest timeframe possible.

2. Admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents

Set annual admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents, which are integrated into the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan with a view to a gradual increase

The Department is adopting a new flexible, practical and proactive approach to admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents. Relying on robust analysis, this approach calls for a gradual increase in admissions over the long term. The targets set for each year are ambitious, achievable and evidence-based; they allow for progress toward restoring and increasing the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities.

The work to determine the targets is one of the first steps in developing the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan, which the Department uses to plan permanent immigration thresholds and allocate admissions according to the Government’s economic, social, and humanitarian priorities. The Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan is subject to annual public consultations. Admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents are integrated into the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan.

Ambition

  • in line with the federal government's commitment to restoring and increasing the demographic weight and leveraging immigration in support of this commitment

Realism and feasiblity

  • considering IRCC's operational conditions and multiple priorities

Evidence-based data

  • reflecting admissions projections based on historical trends, existing inventories and demographic projections from Statistics Canada

Diverse perspectives

  • taking into account recommendations and perspectives from provinces and territories, community stakeholders and the Commissioner of Official Languages

The IRCC definition of a ”French-speaking immigrant”

The definition that IRCC uses to identify and count French-speaking immigrants has evolved over the past 20 years, by mutual agreement with community stakeholders. The definitions used have always been the subject of consultation in order to reach a shared understanding of immigration’s contributions to the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities.

In 2003, IRCC and community stakeholders jointly published the Strategic Framework to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities, which defined French-speaking immigrants simply as persons having knowledge of the French language.

In 2006, the Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities sought to better understand the contributions of Francophone immigration to the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities. The Plan provided some nuance to the definition of a French-speaking immigrant used in the Framework. It specified that a French-speaking immigrant is an “immigrant whose mother tongue is French, or whose first official language is French if the mother tongue is a language other than French or English.” Although more restrictive than the 2003 definition, the 2006 definition was deemed to be more reliable at the time.

More in-depth analyses carried out by IRCC in 2016 revealed that according to the definition of a French-speaking immigrant used—the 2003 definition being too broad, the 2006 one too narrow—the Department might either overestimate the proportion of French-speaking immigrants (2003 definition) or underestimate it (2006 definition).

IRCC has since rectified this issue with a new definition drawn up in 2017 and formally introduced in 2019. This definition aims to strike a balance with regard to the issue of bilingual immigrants (it includes bilingual immigrants, but only if French is their dominant official language), while being more aligned with Canadian Census data, namely that related to first official language spoken.

Currently, and by mutual agreement with community stakeholders, IRCC considers a French-speaking immigrant to be any newcomer who declares:

  • knowledge of “French only” as their official language; or
  • Knowledge of “French and English” as their official languages, as well as French as the official language in which they are most at ease.

3. The immigration continuum: promotion, selection, integration

Increase promotion of Francophone immigration and the visibility of Francophone and Acadian communities abroad and in Canada

Maximize permanent resident admissions in all immigration classes, as well as the selection of French-speaking temporary workers and international students

Successfully implement a Francophone integration pathway

The immigration continuum encompasses all aspects of immigrants’ migration journey, whether they are permanent residents, temporary residents or even refugees. The continuum includes all of the major steps: promotion, attraction, selection, reception, settlement (including resettlement of refugees) and integration. The successful integration of French-speaking newcomers depends on the success of their migration journey.

The steps of the Francophone immigration continuum are as follows: promotion, attraction, selection, reception, settlement, and integration.

The first step in getting temporary and permanent French-speaking immigrants to settle in Francophone and Acadian communities is spreading the word about what Canada and its regions have to offer them (promotion) in order to spark their interest in coming to live in Canada (attraction). Promotion is expanding considerably through geographic diversification and by matching labour market needs in Canada, particularly in Francophone and Acadian communities, with potential pools of French-speaking candidates. Mobilization strategies are adapted and work is carried out in diverse contexts, including Sub-Saharan Africa. The Department and its partners are working to ensure that Francophone and Acadian communities are seen as destinations of choice for more and more French-speaking newcomers.

Successful promotion contributes to increased immigration applications made through the various programs available for permanent residence, as well as those for working and studying in Canada (selection). With the Policy, the Department commits to maximizing the contribution of all immigration categories, including via programs tailored to the needs and priorities of Francophone and Acadian communities. Given the growing importance of temporary residents in Canada, the Policy aims, among other things, to improve and better leverage temporary migration programs that allow pathways to permanent residence for French-speaking workers and international students.

Upon arrival in Canada, newcomers are welcomed in a community and can benefit from coordinated and integrated French-language settlement services (for immigrants) or resettlement services (for refugees) offered in Francophone and Acadian communities. Here, IRCC is referring to a Francophone integration pathway that includes, but is not limited to, French pre-departure services, language training adapted to the Francophone minority context, and labour market integration support. Together, these services are designed to foster the successful integration and well-being of newcomers in their host community.

The Policy reinforces this Francophone integration pathway’s ability to support the Francophone settlement sector’s capacities and better respond to the needs of newcomers. In doing so, it enhances the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities. French-speaking newcomers’ success stories are a source of inspiration for immigration candidates, making Canada, and Francophone and Acadian communities, more attractive internationally.

4. Multi-stakeholder collaboration

Establish structuring collaborations on Francophone immigration with federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, and community stakeholders

The success of the migration journey depends on many factors, for instance: the availability of employment and housing, credential recognition, access to French-language education and healthcare systems, Canada’s diplomatic presence abroad and the promotion of Francophone and Acadian communities in all countries of the Francophonie, etc. Given that these factors fall under the jurisdictions of various actors, the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, as well as communities share the responsibility to take action to enhance the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities and the protection of French across the country. Collaboration between all of these actors is therefore essential in order for admissions increases to have a real and long-term impact on the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities.

At the federal level, the Policy is designed to strengthen interdepartmental coordination and communication mechanisms, particularly with: Canadian Heritage; Employment and Social Development Canada; Global Affairs Canada; Health Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Infrastructure Canada; Statistics Canada; and Women and Gender Equality Canada.

Provinces and territories have important immigration levers at their disposal, mainly through the Provincial Nominee Program. In this regard, further collaboration to support the selection of French-speaking candidates is key to achieving IRCC’s admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents. The Policy therefore commits the Department to strengthening collaboration with provincial and territorial governments in order to find approaches that address regional priorities, as well as the priorities of Francophone and Acadian communities.

The Policy solidifies and enhances collaboration with community stakeholders, while respecting departmental accountability, through the IRCC-Francophone Minority Communities Committee (IRCC-FMC Committee), a group that is essential to establishing common guidelines in support of Francophone immigration to Francophone and Acadian communities and fostering collaboration with community stakeholders. This ongoing dialogue allows for the sharing of information on progress, challenges, opportunities, evidence-based data, and best practices, based on the Policy’s Implementation Plan.

5. Data and research

Ensure access to evidence-based data and cutting edge research on Francophone immigration

Data are fundamental to be able to track the evolution of Francophone immigration in Francophone minority contexts and to set admissions targets allowing progress toward the restoration and increase in the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities. Data are used not only to develop new ideas for improving policies and programs, but also to communicate their impacts to the Canadian public.

The Policy provides for a holistic research approach to generate a body of knowledge about the migration journey, namely, with respect to immigrants, whether permanent residents, temporary residents, or refugees; the immigration process; and destination communities.

Research improves our ability to:

Under the Policy, IRCC regularly shares data and research with all stakeholders, particularly provincial and territorial governments, community stakeholders and academia, in order to strengthen and align shared knowledge and best practices in Francophone immigration.

Implementation and Monitoring

Coordination of the Policy

Although all the Department’s sectors share responsibility for implementing and achieving the Policy’s goals, the Francophone Immigration Branch ensures the horizontal coordination of the Francophone immigration file at IRCC as a whole, as well as  for the Policy’s application, partnerships, monitoring, and reporting. The Branch reports directly to the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Settlement, Integration, and Francophone Affairs Sector.

IRCC governance structures are reinforced to support the Policy’s implementation. A Director General Committee on Francophone Immigration is established and has a planning advisory role in order to ensure that IRCC’s approach remains consistent and integrated, that monitoring is conducted, and that optimal results are achieved. This Committee provides support to assistant deputy ministers and the Department’s Executive Committee with regard to the Francophone immigration file.

Five-year Implementation Plan

The Policy is designed to be a high-level strategic framework that ensures the sustainability of the Department’s commitments. It includes a five-year Implementation Plan that outlines tangible actions to be taken across the immigration continuum (see appendix).

The Plan is meant to be agile and evolving. It includes:

IRCC develops the Implementation Plan taking into account the perspectives of community stakeholders, provincial and territorial governments, and other partners in order to meet the Policy’s objectives.

The Implementation Plan is aligned with the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan and the Action Plan for Official Languages.Footnote4 Moreover, the Implementation Plan is supported by current governmental and departmental decision-making processes, within the limits of the Minister of IRCC’s authority.

Annual review of the Implementation Plan

Although it covers five years, the Plan will be reviewed annually and, if necessary, the Department may add or remove elements according to priority changes or the potential for success of certain measures, for example. Annual discussions will be held with provincial and territorial governments and with community stakeholders, particularly the IRCC-FMC Committee, to support any necessary or desired change. In doing so, IRCC and its partners may make adjustments to the approach along the way, as required.

Changes are announced through press releases.

Reporting and communication on progress

To keep Canadians informed about the work being done and continuously improve its approach, the Department is committed to transparent and regular reporting and communication of progress based on measurable indicators.

Communicating annual progress on francophone immigration

IRCC leverages its existing reporting tools to communicate annual progress on the Policy and the Implementation Plan. Among other information, these updates allow the Department to communicate progress toward meeting the admissions targets in the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan.

Five-year report to Parliament and update of the Policy and Implementation Plan

Every five years, the Department publishes a report to Parliament that outlines the Policy’s progress and assesses the achievement of its goals and objectives based on the more specific sub-objectives, targets and indicators in the five-year Implementation Plan. This report also discusses the effectiveness of measures taken, challenges encountered and opportunities for improvement.

Following this report, IRCC conducts a complete review of the Policy, taking into account constantly evolving needs and priorities, and publishes a new five-year Implementation Plan in collaboration with stakeholders, particularly provincial and territorial governments and Francophone community stakeholders.

Canadian heritage report on the official languages act

Additionally, under the new legislative framework of the Official Languages Act, Canadian Heritage, in consultation with the President of the Treasury Board, now submits a ten-year report to Parliament on the implementation and impacts of the Official Languages Act. Among other things, this report will provide an analysis of the state of vitality of French and English linguistic minority communities, as well as the state of protection and promotion of French in Canada. It is also an opportunity to assess how the federal government’s work, including that of IRCC, contributes to restoring and increasing the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities based on Canadian Census data.

Conclusion

IRCC is proud to help build stronger, more prosperous Francophone and Acadian communities for generations to come. The sociocultural fabric of these communities benefits from the arrival of French-speaking immigrants who settle there for the long term.

Immigrants help local businesses in these communities grow and become more competitive. French-language schools and post-secondary institutions, as well as healthcare systems, benefit from this workforce, thereby ensuring the long-term stability of these services. More broadly, French-speaking immigrants contribute to maintaining Canada’s bilingual character and, increasingly, its multicultural character.

Immigration has played an important role in shaping the diverse and inclusive Canada we know today and it remains essential to the future of our country’s social cohesion and economic prosperity. This Policy puts us in a position to take on new challenges, seize new opportunities and maintain our place as a world leader in Francophone immigration.

Appendix A: 2024-2028 Implementation Plan for the Francophone Immigration Policy

Introduction

This 2024-2028 Implementation Plan (hereinafter the Plan) delivers on the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s commitment to the five action areas of the Francophone Immigration Policy and aims to fulfill its goals. This is why the Plan is included with and is an integral part of the Policy.

The Plan covers the Policy’s five action areas, namely:

  1. the Francophone lens;
  2. admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents;
  3. the immigration continuum (promotion, selection, integration);
  4. multi-stakeholder collaboration; and,
  5. data and research.

It details specific sub-objectives for each action area, as well as flagship measures, some that are already in place and being improved, and others that are new, as well as performance indicators along with associated targets.

These indicators allow for tracking of the progress of IRCC’s work on Francophone immigration, thus promoting transparent communication with partners and the general public throughout the period 2024-2028. This will make it possible to carry out an overall evaluation at the end of the five-year period. The Plan follows the calendar year (from January to December) so as to align with IRCC’s Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan.

Action area 1 – The Francophone lens

Background

In accordance with its obligations following the modernization of the Official Languages Act, the Department is already taking into consideration the potential impacts of its structuring decisions on official language minority communities, which includes Francophone and Acadian minority communities (hereinafter Francophone and Acadian communities).

To strengthen its efforts, the Department is adopting a Francophone lens, an analytical framework that allows Francophone immigration to be taken into account at every stage of the development, implementation, and evaluation of all current and future policies, programs and measures. The lens ensures that IRCC’s actions are more inclusive of the needs of French-speaking immigrants, as well as those of Francophone and Acadian communities across the immigration continuum. It also helps to identify risks in a timely manner so that IRCC can adjust to achieve its Francophone immigration objectives.

The lens may include, for example, the creation of guides, tutorials, wiki pages, and analysis grids to take into consideration the objectives, levers, and challenges specific to Francophone immigration, as well as the needs of Francophone and Acadian communities, upstream of the development of new policies and programs, or when redesigning or modifying them.

Primary objective

Sub-objectives

1.1 Develop a Francophone lens, as an analytical framework for Francophone immigration, as well as processes and tools to support its adoption, implementation, and tracking within the Department

1.2 Gradually integrate this lens into programs as quickly as possible; its application is prioritized in permanent economic immigration programs

Flagship measures

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Action area 2 – Admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents

Background

In 2022 and again in 2023, IRCC reached a target of 4.4% of French-speaking permanent residents outside Quebec.

For the development of the next admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents, IRCC is turning toward a multi-year and progressive approach that is evidence-based and informed by third-party perspectives (in particular from provinces and territories, and community stakeholders), in order to adopt targets that are ambitious but achievable on a sustained basis. This kind of gradual approach provides the time needed to design, implement and see the impacts of all of IRCC’s Francophone immigration measures, while giving partners enough time to prepare the infrastructure and services needed to integrate and retain a growing number of newcomers in Francophone and Acadian communities.

Primary objective

Sub-objectives

2.1 Determine annual targets based on the parameters set out in the Policy (ambition, realism and feasibility, evidence-based data and diverse perspectives), which progress gradually and are integrated into the Multi-year Immigration Levels Plan

Flagship measures

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Action area 3 – The immigration continuum

Promotion

Background

For two decades, IRCC has been promoting Francophone immigration both abroad and in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift to virtual activities, enabling the Department to reach a larger pool of French-speaking and bilingual talent and a greater number of employers in order to support key sectors essential to the county’s economic recovery.

For instance, since 2021, IRCC has been running a $2-million per year international advertising campaign on the Web to attract French-speaking immigrants to Francophone and Acadian communities. The 2022 edition of Destination Canada Mobility Forum was held for the first time in Rabat (Morocco), and, as has been the case for many years, in Paris (France), in addition to offering virtual events. Furthermore, over the last five years, promotional efforts for Francophone immigration in Canada have expanded and have gradually been integrated into economic immigration activities led by an increased number of outreach officers across the country.

These efforts need to be strengthened in order to capitalize on the pools of potential French-speaking candidates around the world, beyond the traditional pools from Europe and North Africa. To this end, IRCC has opened new offices in Yaoundé (Cameroon) and in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia) that allow for a better understanding of the local reality and expanded promotional work to attract new French-speaking and bilingual candidates.

Primary objective
Sub-objectives

3.1 Adopt an ambitious promotion and outreach strategy for Francophone immigration, as well as for recruitment support, both in Canada and abroad

3.2 Strengthen collaboration and support provided to provincial and territorial governments, as well as to Francophone stakeholders; this includes increasing the capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in activities related to international promotion, identification, support and recruitment of French-speaking and bilingual candidates

3.3 Build awareness among Canadian employers about the advantages of Francophone immigration in meeting labour market needs and provide them with greater support for the recruitment of French-speaking or bilingual candidates

Flagship measures

In place

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Selection

Background
Permanent Immigration

In order to make the most out of promotion work and increase the selection of French-speaking immigrants in all immigration categories, promising and innovative approaches need to be developed. Indeed, IRCC’s economic class programs are the principal means through which French-speaking immigrants looking to settle in Francophone and Acadian communities can obtain permanent residence. Since 2017, the main tool used to increase admissions of French-speaking immigrants (outside Quebec) through the economic class has been the Express Entry system. In fact, the introduction in 2017 of additional points for knowledge of French (subsequently increased in 2020) in the points system allowed for a significant increase in admissions. In June 2023, IRCC introduced category-based selection in Express Entry, which allows for the selection of immigrants based on key attributes which support economic priorities, such as knowledge of French. This new flexibility is already being leveraged to support Francophone immigration objectives.

Temporary Immigration

Given that an increasing proportion of admissions to Canada is from temporary residents who decide to make the transition to permanent residency, it is essential to strengthen the contribution of programs, such as the Mobilité Francophone stream of the International Mobility Program. This program aims to bring in French-speaking temporary workers who can then qualify for a transition towards permanent residency, if conditions are favourable. This allows for opportunities to be offered to a greater number of French-speaking immigrants to acquire Canadian work experience and potentially qualify for permanent residency.

As with workers, French-speaking international students represent an increasingly significant group that contributes to the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities, in particular through their studies at Francophone post-secondary institutions outside Quebec. The review of the International Student Program promotes equitable access to the Program for various under-represented groups, including French-speaking international students who intend to study at post-secondary institutions outside Quebec.

Primary objective
Sub-objectives

3.4 Regularly assess and review the contribution of different immigration classes (economic, family, refugees and protected persons) to the selection of French-speaking immigrants, in particular for the economic class programs, and add new selection measures as needed

3.5 Enhance temporary immigration programs aimed at French-speaking workers and international students, in particular by eliminating obstacles that hamper their acceptance and by expanding pathways to permanent residency

3.6 Strengthen the capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in activities related to the selection of French-speaking candidates

Flagship measures

In place

New

Performance indicators and associated targets
Permanent Immigration
Temporary Immigration

Integration

Background

In order to support the success of French-speaking immigrants, sustained efforts are also made to consolidate the Francophone Integration Pathway. This pathway is a set of settlement services (for immigrants), resettlement services (for refugees) and integration services provided by nearly 80 Francophone service providers and is aimed at facilitating reception, support, settlement, and economic and sociocultural integration, as well as creating lasting ties between newcomers and Francophone and Acadian communities.

These services include, among other things, information and orientation (in particular pre-departure services), language training, labour market integration support, information on childcare services and French schools, as well as resources to discover how to participate in community and cultural life in French.

Primary objective
Sub-objectives

3.7 Strengthen the capacities of the Francophone settlement sector

3.8 Make services offered in French by Francophone organizations accessible to French-speaking immigrants and refugees

3.9 Foster the development and expansion of the Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative

Flagship measures

In place

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Action area 4 – Multi-stakeholder collaboration

Background

The federal government and its key partners share a common vision, interests and objectives with regard to Francophone immigration. Thus, all must be able to benefit from the advantages of Francophone immigration, which requires close collaboration among stakeholders.

Indeed, the long-term settlement of newcomers depends on the success of their migration trajectories. However, a number of factors which fall under the jurisdiction of other government actors (e.g. education systems, health networks, credential recognition, etc.) influence the extent to which newcomers remain in a community. The contribution of federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, cities and host communities themselves are therefore critical in this regard.

Interdepartmental roundtables on official languages already exist and are a key mechanism for strengthening information-sharing and aligning various federal initiatives for Francophone and Acadian communities. Similarly, federal-provincial-territorial tables enable collaboration on Francophone immigration, in particular the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration, which seeks to advance joint initiatives aimed at responding to pan-Canadian immigration priorities, and the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie, an intergovernmental forum tasked with reflecting on issues affecting Canada’s Francophonie. The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration also includes a variety of working groups, including one on Francophone immigration, which plays an important role in studying approaches, programs and policies supporting Francophone immigration objectives. Lastly, since 2018, the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Action Plan aimed at increasing Francophone immigration outside Quebec has served as a framework for shared federal-provincial-territorial work on Francophone immigration.

IRCC has also entered into legally-binding bilateral immigration agreements with all provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec and Nunavut. These agreements include commitments to support official language minority communities. In addition, appendices to agreements specifically covering Francophone immigration have been signed with Ontario and New Brunswick. These bilateral engagements with the provinces and territories are essential in order to better align their needs and priorities with Francophone immigration.

IRCC is also in ongoing dialogue with Francophone community stakeholders, in particular through joint governance tables, as well as through support for Francophone settlement services. One example is the IRCC-Francophone Minority Communities Committee (IRCC-FMC Committee), which is a key and preferred mechanism for exchanges, collaboration and the sharing of information between IRCC and Francophone and Acadian communities with regards to progress, successes and challenges of the Policy.

Primary objective

Sub-objectives

4.1 Develop an interdepartmental mobilization plan for Francophone immigration as part of an inclusive and antiracist whole-of-society approach to immigration to Canada that involves Canadian Heritage; Employment and Social Development Canada; Global Affairs Canada; Health Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Infrastructure Canada; Statistics Canada; and Women and Gender Equality Canada

4.2 Foster increased bilateral and multilateral collaborations with provincial and territorial governments so as to strengthen bilateral and multilateral commitments to Francophone immigration

4.3 Build on exchanges, analyses and recommendations from information-sharing and coordination forums with community stakeholders in order to advance common Francophone immigration

Flagship measures

In place

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Action area 5 – Data and research

Background

Evidence is essential for informed public policy decision-making. To support the Department’s action, it is essential to be equipped with tools that allow for the tracking of trends in the principal countries of origin of Francophone immigration, as well as to better understand the ecosystem of Canada’s Francophonie, the migratory dynamics of Francophone newcomers, and the advantages of Francophone immigration.

Research within the Department makes it possible, among other things, to follow the migration journey and integration of French-speaking permanent and temporary residents outside Quebec, and inform the adaptation of policies and programs accordingly. More specifically, three research areas of particular interest are:

  1. the socio-demographic and socio-economic profiles of French-speaking immigrants;
  2. their journey through each of the stages of the immigration continuum, from attraction to integration; and,
  3. their contribution to the vitality of Francophone and Acadian communities.

Lastly, information in itself is of little value unless it is shared among stakeholders who can use it to support Francophone immigration. For this reason, IRCC expands or establishes, as needed, mechanisms for collaboration and information-sharing with federal institutions, provinces and territories, researchers, and Francophone and Acadian communities.

Primary objective

Sub-objectives

5.1 Develop and implement a methodology to track the migration journey and integration of French-speaking permanent and temporary residents in a minority context

5.2 Expand or establish, as needed, mechanisms for collaboration and information-sharing in order to foster a better exchange of information and best practices in research between federal institutions, provinces and territories, researchers, and Francophone and Acadian communities

5.3 Strengthen capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in research activities on Francophone immigration

Flagship measures

In place

New

Performance indicators and associated targets

Summary tables for the 2024-2028 Implementation Plan

Action area 1 Primary objective Sub-objectives Flagship measures Performance indicators Targets
The Francophone lens Ensure that the objectives, levers and challenges of Francophone immigration are taken into account in the development of all IRCC policies and programs

1.1 Develop a Francophone lens, as an analytical framework for Francophone immigration, as well as processes and tools to support its adoption, implementation, and tracking within the Department

1.2 Gradually integrate this lens into programs as quickly as possible : its application is prioritized in permanent economic immigration programs

New

  • Development of a Francophone lens specific to IRCC and its associated tools
  • Implementation of a clear process for IRCC employees and decision-makers prior to developing or modifying a program, policy, or measure in order to evaluate the impact of these new initiatives on the achievement of the Policy’s objectives

To be determined during the development and application of the lens to various programs

(by the end of 2026 for IRCC-wide lens application)

To be determined during the development and application of the lens to various programs

(by the end of 2026 for IRCC-wide lens application)

Action area 2 Primary objective Sub-objectives Flagship measures Performance indicators Targets
Admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents Set annual admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents, which are integrated into the Multi-Year Immigration Levels Plan with a view to a gradual increase 2.1 Adopt annual targets, developed based on the parameters set out in the Policy (ambition, realism and feasibility, evidence-based data and diverse perspectives), which progress gradually and are integrated into the Multi-year Immigration Levels Plan

New

  • Process for developing and tracking annual admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents that is an integral part of the development of the Multi-year Immigration Levels Plan
Proportion and number of admissions of French-speaking permanent residents (outside Quebec) compared with the total number of admissions (outside Quebec) Annual admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents included in the Multi-year Immigration levels Plan
Action area 3 Primary objective Sub-objectives Flagship measures Performance indicators Targets
The immigration continuum: Promotion Increase promotion of Francophone immigration and the visibility of Francophone and Acadian communities abroad and in Canada

3.1 Adopt an ambitious promotion and outreach strategy for Francophone immigration, as well as for recruitment support, both in Canada and abroad

3.2 Strengthen collaboration and support provided to provincial and territorial governments, as well as to Francophone stakeholders; this includes increasing the capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in activities related to international promotion, identification, support and recruitment of French-speaking and bilingual candidates

3.3 Build awareness among Canadian employers about the advantages of Francophone immigration in meeting labour market needs and provide them with greater support for the recruitment of French-speaking or bilingual candidates

In place

  • Annual organization of Destination Canada Mobility Forum
  • Annual Liaison Tour in partnership with the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité du Canada and its members
  • National network of outreach officers for employers, economic development organizations, Francophone community organizations, designated teaching establishments and international students to promote Francophone immigration pathways, policies and tools and thus facilitate the mobility and retention of French-speaking and bilingual candidates

New

  • Promotion strategy for Francophone immigration and for Francophone and Acadian communities, including in particular an expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, aimed at specific sectors to meet workforce needs for French-speaking and bilingual workers
  • Promotion and recruitment missions in collaboration with representatives from the federal government, provinces and territories, employers, and Francophone stakeholders, targeting specific sectors to meet workforce shortages for French-speaking and bilingual workers
  • Development of a virtual platform bringing together all relevant information regarding Francophone immigration
  • Communications strategy to announce rounds of invitations aimed at French-speaking and bilingual candidates via the Express Entry system, to broaden the pool of potential candidates, among other things, by encouraging interested French-speaking temporary residents to submit an application for permanent residence
  • Implementation of the Francophone Immigration Support Program, the grants and contributions of which will enable Francophone and Acadian communities to participate in Francophone immigration promotion activities
Number of promotion and outreach activities with community stakeholders and employers

Annual increase in number of promotion and outreach activities with community stakeholders and employers

(baseline year: 2023)

Number of French-speaking candidates with a complete profile in Express Entry

Year-over-year increase

(baseline year: 2023)

Number of work permit applications under Mobilité Francophone

Year-over-year increase

(baseline year: 2023)

The immigration continuum: Selection Maximize permanent resident admissions in all immigration classes, as well as the selection of French-speaking temporary workers and international students

3.4 Regularly assess and review the contribution of different immigration classes (economic, family, refugees and protected persons) to the selection of French-speaking immigrants, in particular for the economic class programs, and add new selection measures as needed

3.5 Enhance temporary immigration programs aimed at French-speaking workers and international students, in particular by eliminating obstacles that hamper their acceptance and by expanding pathways to permanent residency

3.6 Strengthen the capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in activities related to the selection of French-speaking candidates

In place

  • Invitations aimed at French-speaking and bilingual candidates in the Express Entry system, in particular category-based selection
  • Pilot project (on a temporary basis for 2 years starting in 2023) to expand the Mobilité Francophone stream to include foreign nationals who have a moderate command of spoken French for all job classifications with the exception of agricultural and seasonal workers who work in TEER categories 4 or 5
  • Economic Mobility Pathways pilot project aimed at helping Canadian employers find qualified refugees – including French-speaking and bilingual refugees – to meet their workforce needs, while offering secure and sustainable solutions to refugees needing protection in Canada

New

  • Development of a new program and measures dedicated to Francophone economic immigration: the analysis underway to assess the performance of existing economic programs (for permanent residents as well as for temporary residents), will allow the Department to identify the measures required to maximize French-speaking permanent resident admissions, including the expansion of eligibility criteria under Express Entry and the creation of an economic immigration program for French-speaking workers
  • Corridor for the international recruitment of French-language and French-speaking teachers at the elementary and secondary levels to encourage their immigration and settlement in Francophone and Acadian communities
  • Pilot project to increase attraction and access of French-speaking international students to Francophone post-secondary institutions outside Quebec, and foster their integration and retention in Francophone and Acadian communities
  • Inclusion of new Francophone and Acadian communities targeted by regional economic immigration programs, which would also include mechanisms to encourage employer and community participation in the selection process under these programs
  • Implementation of the Francophone Immigration Support Program, the grants and contributions of which will enable Francophone and Acadian communities to participate in selection activities that foster Francophone immigration
Proportion of invitations sent to candidates with a good knowledge of French in the Express Entry system At least 10% of total invitations annually
Proportion of all applications from French-speaking candidates for the economic class outside Quebec

To be determined

(baseline year: 2023)

Proportion of the economic class that is French-speaking outside Quebec excluding Federal High-Skilled Programs

To be determined

(baseline year: 2023)

Number and approval rate of permanent residency applications submitted by French-speaking candidates with a temporary permit

Year-over-year increase

(baseline year: 2023)

Proportion and number of study permits for French-speaking students (outside Quebec) out of total study permits (outside Quebec)

Year-over-year increase

(baseline year: 2023)

Proportion and number of work permits for French-speaking temporary workers (outside Quebec) out of total work permits (outside Quebec)

Year-over-year increase

(baseline year: 2023)

The immigration continuum: Integration Successfully implement a Francophone integration pathway

3.7 Strengthen the capacities of the Francophone settlement sector

3.8 Make services offered in French by Francophone organizations accessible to French-speaking immigrants and refugees

3.9 Foster the development and expansion of the Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative

In place

  • Increased grants and contributions to expand geographic scope and improve quality of language training in French and/or English for French-speaking newcomers and allophones
  • Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative
  • Connexions francophones, a one-stop-shop for Francophone pre-departure services
  • French-language reception services kiosks at Pearson airport

New

  • Renewal and expansion of the Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative
  • Strategy and related investments to better support French-speaking women immigrants
  • National Centre of Excellence in support of the Francophone settlement sector
  • Long-term financial support for Francophone Immigration Networks
  • Training for all officers working in operations with respect to new official languages obligations and requirements in support of the Francophone integration pathway
  • Reinforcement of the capacity of Francophone service providers for the Resettlement Assistance Program in Western Canada
  • Campaign to promote Francophone settlement services to French-speaking and allophone immigrants and refugees
  • Expansion of French-language reception services kiosks to other airports in Canada
Number of new Welcoming Francophone Communities recognized by IRCC

8 new communities

(by the end of 2028)

Percentage of French-speaking clients having access to services provided by Francophone service providers

75% of French-speaking clients have access to services provided by Francophone service providers

(by the end of 2028)

Percentage of clients who have improved their French skills and knowledge

50% increase

(by the end of 2028)

Awareness among program officers from across the Settlement Network with respect to the Francophone integration pathway and Francophone immigration and settlement priorities

100% of regional program officers sensitized

(by the end of 2028)

Action area 4 Primary objective Sub-objectives Flagship measures Performance indicators Targets
Multi-stakeholder collaboration Establish structuring collaborations on Francophone immigration with federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, and community stakeholders

4.1 Develop an interdepartmental mobilization plan for Francophone immigration as part of an inclusive and antiracist whole-of-society approach to immigration to Canada that involves Canadian Heritage; Employment and Social Development Canada; Global Affairs Canada; Health Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; Infrastructure Canada; Statistics Canada; and Women and Gender Equality Canada

4.2 Foster increased bilateral and multilateral collaborations with provincial and territorial governments so as to strengthen bilateral and multilateral commitments to Francophone immigration

4.3 Build on exchanges, analyses and recommendations from information-sharing and coordination forums with community stakeholders in order to advance common Francophone immigration objectives

In place

  • Strengthen commitments to Francophone immigration in bilateral immigration agreements between IRCC and the provinces and territories
  • Federal-Provincial/Territorial Working Group focused on questions and issues regarding Francophone immigration within the framework of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for immigration

New

  • Interdepartmental mobilization plan aimed at establishing solid mechanisms for the coordination of federal efforts on Francophone immigration
  • Strategic planning on Francophone and bilingual workforce needs, strategies for promotion and recruitment in Canada and abroad, and credential recognition between IRCC, Employment and Social Development Canada and the provinces and territories
  • Review of the Federal-Provincial/Territorial Action Plan aimed at increasing Francophone immigration outside Quebec
  • Exchange network between IRCC, the provinces and territories, and Francophone and Acadian communities in order to strengthen collaboration on Francophone immigration, including matters related to Francophone post-secondary institutions
  • Renewal of IRCC-FMC Committee terms of reference, which is a key mechanism for achieving common objectives in Francophone immigration, consulting Francophone and Acadian communities and taking into account their priorities; it is a preferred forum for dialogue, follow-up and collaboration on the Policy and the Implementation Plan
Number of interdepartmental meetings on issues related to Francophone immigration, including the restoration and increase in demographic weight 2 per year
Number of interdepartmental and intergovernmental strategic planning meetings between IRCC, -Employment and Social Development Canada and provinces/territories to better align immigration with workforce needs, particularly in areas that require increased inter-sectoral and intergovernmental collaboration 1 annual meeting
Number of provinces and territories with an appendix on Francophone immigration or commitments to Francophone immigration in their bilateral immigration agreements

At least 4 by the end of 2028

(baseline: 2)

Action area 5 Primary objective Sub-objectives Flagship measures Performance indicators Targets
Data and research Ensure access to evidence-based data and cutting edge research on Francophone immigration

5.1 Develop and implement a methodology to track the migration journey and integration of French-speaking permanent and temporary residents in a minority context

5.2 Expand or establish, as needed, mechanisms for collaboration and information-sharing in order to foster a better exchange of information and best practices in research between federal institutions, provinces and territories, researchers and Francophone and Acadian communities

5.3 Strengthen capacity of Francophone and Acadian communities to engage in research activities on Francophone immigration

In place

  • Research on the migration journey and integration of French-speaking permanent and temporary residents
  • Better use of plain language and proactive sharing of data on Francophone immigration between IRCC and Francophone stakeholders, federal institutions, provincial and territorial governments, and the public

New

  • Partnership Agreement with Statistics Canada in order to obtain regular and up-to-date population projections to inform the setting of admissions targets for French-speaking permanent residents and to understand the impact of immigration and other factors on the evolution of the demographic weight of Francophone and Acadian communities
  • Implementation of the Francophone Immigration Support Program, the grants and contributions of which will enable Francophone and Acadian communities to participate in applied research activities and case studies of Francophone immigration
Number of research projects or reports on Francophone immigration

At least 20

(by the end of 2028)

Number of dashboards produced on Francophone immigration At least 1 per year

Appendix B: IRCC Francophone Immigration Milestones

Year 2003 2006 2008 2009 2011 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Milestones
  • Funding for Francophone immigration from the Action Plan for Official Languages, The Next Act: New Momentum for Canada's Linguistic Duality
  • Strategic Framework to Foster Francophone Immigration, setting the target of 4.4% French-speaking immigrants to be reached by 2008
  • Destination Canada Mobility Forum
  • Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities, introducing a new 15-year timeline to reach the 4.4% target
  • Funding from the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future for the immigration in official-language minority communities initiative
  • Intermediate target of 1.8% French-speaking immigrants by 2013
  • Intermediate target of 1.8% French-speaking immigrants by 2013
  • Francophone Mobility stream in the International Mobility Program
  • Francophone immigration appendix in the bilateral agreement with New Brunswick
  • Additional points for knowledge of French in the Express Entry system
  • First Federal/Provincial/Territorial Action Plan for increasing Francophone Immigration
  • Francophone Integration Pathway
  • Francophone immigration appendix in the bilateral agreement with Ontario
  • Funding for Francophone immigration from the Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future
  • Meeting Our Objectives: Francophone Immigration Strategy
  • Implementation of new definition of "French-speaking immigrant"
  • Welcoming Francophone Communities
  • Increase in additional points for knowledge of French in Express Entry
  • National Francophone Settlement Advisory Committee
  • Francophone Immigration Branch, under the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Settlement, Integration and Francophone Affairs Sector
  • New IRCC offices in Cameroon and Ethiopia
  • Centre for Innovation in Francophone Immigration
  • Achievement of 4.4% admissions target for French-speaking permanent residents (outside Quebec), based on 2019 definition
  • Official Languages Act modernized with provisions for Francophone immigration
  • Roundtables on Express Entry categories to target the selection of candidates with good knowledge of French
  • Expansion of Francophone Mobility stream
  • Achievement of 4.4% admissions target for French-speaking permanent residents (outside Quebec), based on 2019 definition
  • Francophone Immigration Policy

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