3. Evaluation findings

3.1 Relevance

This section presents the evaluation findings related to the relevance of the Initiative. The information is grouped by evaluation question and based on all of the research methods described in section 2.0.

Is this initiative consistent with federal roles and responsibilities? (Q.3)

The initiative reflects federal government roles and responsibilities with respect to immigration and integration and the role of the provinces and territories in this regard. The federal government is also best placed to facilitate the coordination of efforts in this area. The federal government’s efforts also reflect its obligations to contribute to the vitality and development of OLMCs.

The federal government has had a longstanding constitutional responsibility in the area of immigration. Even if it is a shared jurisdiction in which provinces can intervene through legislative, regulatory or programming measures, the federal government exercises overriding authority.Footnote 10 In other words, provincial governments can intervene in the area of immigration, provided that this intervention remains aligned with the federal government’s efforts.

In the area of settlement support for newcomers, Canada has developed a regionally-adapted model:

  • Canada-Quebec Accord relating to the Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, signed in 1991, gives Quebec selection powers and control over its own settlement services.
  • The agreements signed between Canada and Manitoba and British Columbia respectively enables these two provinces to implement their own settlement support programs for newcomers, provided that these programs are consistent with the purposes of the settlement support programs that the federal government develops in the other provinces or territories.Footnote 11

The Initiative directly reflects this policy framework. First, as previously mentioned in subsection 1.2, the Initiative has virtually no activities in Quebec. In addition, the Initiative does not directly fund settlement activities in Manitoba or British Columbia. It should be noted, however, that the agreements signed between Canada and these two provinces include specific provisions for OLMCs in these two provinces, committing their respective provincial governments to promote and facilitate the settlement of French-speaking newcomers.

Furthermore, during consultations held for this evaluation, all the groups emphasized the federal government’s unique role with respect to language development for newcomers to the country. The federal government is clearly alone in its understanding of the bigger picture of immigration in Canada. Beyond the agreements that it signs with the provinces, the federal government is able to facilitate the coordination and sharing of information and best practices among all stakeholders in the field of immigration, including service providers from across the country. The federal government also has a lead role in providing reception and settlement assistance to refugees, which of course includes French-speaking refugees.

The CIC representatives consulted for this evaluation emphasized that the federal government has historically played a crucial role in promoting official languages in Canada. In the immigration context, many provincial governments primarily target economic objectives—not always objectives that are related to the promotion of OLMCs—as was shown in the recent evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program.Footnote 12

The steps CIC has undertaken in official languages are consistent with its legislative obligations under the Official Languages Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Accordingly:

  • Section 41 (Part VII) of the Official Languages Act commits the Department, as well the federal government on the whole, to “enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development.” To accomplish this, all federal departments are expected to take “positive measures to implement this commitment.”
  • In addition, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which CIC enforces, specifies at paragraph 3.(1) (b.1) that its purpose is “to support and assist the development of minority official languages communities in Canada.”

These obligations were first reflected in the 2003 Action Plan for Official Languagesand, subsequently, in the 2008 Roadmap for Linguistic Duality.

In summary, the Initiative is consistent with not only the distribution of roles and responsibilities in the immigration field, but also the federal government’s fundamental role in the promotion of official languages and linguistic duality.

Is the initiative aligned with CIC and GoC priorities? (Q.2)

The Initiative is still aligned with CIC and GoC priorities with respect to Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs). This commitment can be found within CIC’s Program Activity Architecture, and, across the federal government, within the Roadmap for Linguistic Duality. However, other federal and provincial government departments should be more involved.

The contribution of immigration to the development of OLMCs was first recognized formally through the adoption, in 2001, of the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see paragraph 3.(1) b, quoted above). This Act created a legislative obligation for the federal government—specifically for CIC—to implement the measures required for immigration in Canada to contribute to the development of OLMCs, not to their demographic weakening.

CIC’s priority focuses on Francophone minority communities outside Quebec, considering the limited role of the federal government in the context of immigration and integration in Quebec (as previously mentioned). Footnote 13 Specifically with regard to immigration, the 2003 Action Plan for Official Languages confirmed that Francophone immigration to OLMCs was becoming a policy priority:

With the Action Plan, the Government will do more in this area. In concert with its provincial, territorial and community partners, it will conduct market studies and design promotional materials for distribution abroad. In addition, it will support information centre projects for French-speaking immigrants and distance education French courses sensitive to newcomers’ needs.Footnote 14

As this report noted in section 1.2, the Roadmap renewed the federal government’s policy commitment to Francophone immigration by focusing on promotion abroad, integration services, and research and coordination.

This political commitment was operationalized through CIC’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA) —a document that has not only been adopted by CIC’s highest authorities, but also by the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada on behalf of the federal government. The third strategic outcome of the PAA aims for “newcomers and citizens [to] participate to their full potential in fostering an integrated society.” To that end, program activity 3.1 focuses on the settlement and integration of newcomers and includes sub-component, which describes the sub-sub-activity of “Support for Official Language Minority Communities”, which ensures the coordination of all the Initiative’s activities.

The operationalization of this government priority—promotion, recruitment and settlement of French-speaking newcomers in OLMCs—is not exclusively a CIC effort. The CIC representatives consulted in the conduct of this evaluation stressed the importance of the role played by other federal departments in this regard. Specifically, they noted the role played by other departments with respect to issues related to health (Health Canada), to economic integration (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) and to foreign students (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada).

The CIC representatives also stressed the essential role played by the provincial governments, particularly through the Provincial Nominee Program. In that regard, the recent evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which was mentioned previously, noted that “there has been limited focus on the federal objective of encouraging the development of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs), with only three PTs identifying it as a priority for their PNPs.” On that basis, the following recommendation was made in the evaluation:

CIC should work with PTs to strengthen the focus on the PNP objective of encouraging the development of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).
Given the limited success in meeting this objective the department should review how to best incorporate it into the program design and delivery.Footnote 15

In short, the activities for facilitating the recruitment and integration of French-speaking newcomers to OLMCs are consistent with the priorities of the federal government, particularly CIC, in addition to calling on other stakeholders, such as the provincial governments.

Is there a continued need for the recruitment and integration of French-speaking immigrants into FMCs?  (Q.1)

Recruitment and integration needs of French-speaking immigrants in FMCs remain. In 2006, the GoC and the FMCs adopted a Strategic Plan which aims, among other things, to increase the proportion of French-speaking newcomers settling in these communities. This objective directly aligns with the Department’s legislative obligations with respect to the development and vitality of OLMCs.

Canada’s population is steadily growing, and immigration contributes to this in a significant way. Thus, unless a sufficient number of French-speaking newcomers settle in FMCs, their demographic weight is expected to decline. In this regard, Census data reported that between 1991 and 2006, the total population of FMCs increased by about 50,000 in absolute numbers. However, as shown in Figure 2, the relative weight of these FMCs decreased from 4.8% of the total population outside Quebec in 1991 to 4.1% in 2006.

This reduction creates several challenges and, in particular, could have a negative impact on the institutional development of FMCs. All of the groups consulted in the conduct of this evaluation indicated that the recruitment of French-speaking newcomers is a significant strategy for maintaining and consolidating a number of Francophone institutions—particularly schools—but also other services such as health care. The recruitment of French-speaking newcomers was also seen by the groups consulted as pursuing economic objectives, in order to meet the need for bilingual personnel and to support innovation by allowing new approaches to be integrated into a Canadian context.

Figure 2: Proportion of the Francophone population outside Quebec (mother tongue)

Proportion of the Francophone population outside Quebec (mother tongue)

Source: Census data, 1991 to 2006

Text version: Figure 2: Proportion of the Francophone population outside Quebec (mother tongue)

On the basis of this logic, the 2003 Strategic Framework and the 2006 Strategic Plan established a specific target that 4.4% of newcomers outside of Quebec should be French-speaking (the concept of what defines a “French-speaking” immigrant is discussed in more detail in evaluation question 7). The 4.4% figure represents the demographic weight of FMCs at the time of the 2001 Census (see Figure 3), the only figure available when the Strategic Framework was being developed in 2003. As described in greater detail in this report at evaluation question 7, although the number of newcomers settling in FMCs has increased since 2003, the 4.4% target has not yet been reached.

Also, the interprovincial migration of Francophones between Quebec and the rest of the country has a limited impact on the number of French-speaking newcomers, according to census data. In other words, if some Quebec Francophones move outside Quebec, the reverse is also true. Thus, as shown in Figure 3, the interprovincial migration of Francophones (whether newcomers or not) between Quebec and the rest of Canada fluctuated somewhat between 1991 and 2006, resulting in a net gain of 2,700 towards FMCs. The province that benefited the most from the interprovincial migration of Francophones was Alberta, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

Figure 3: Net interprovincial migration of Francophones outside Quebec to Quebec

Net interprovincial migration of Francophones outside Quebec to Quebec

3.2 Results

This section of the report focuses specifically on the results achieved through the Initiative. Once again, the information is based on all of the research methods used for this evaluation.

Have the main partners undertaken coordination, collaboration and research activities to support the implementation of the initiative? (Q.4)

Are communications, relationships and information-sharing among program stakeholders effective? (Q.10)

Coordination and collaboration have continued to mobilize many resources involved in the Initiative. The Steering Committee continued to offer a national platform for collaboration to facilitate information sharing and coordination among the various federal, provincial and community players. In addition, discussion forums are now in place in all regions of the country. The challenge now is to ensure coordination between the national and regional levels.

Research has also helped provide a better understanding of the main characteristics of Francophone immigration outside Quebec. That said, it is difficult to predict what mechanism will ensure the promotion of this research in the absence of Metropolis.

To facilitate the presentation of findings related to this question, coordination and cooperation activities are addressed separately from research activities.

Coordination and collaboration activities

With regard to coordination and collaboration, the Initiative benefited from the current national coordination structures and the activities of the Francophone immigration networks.

The Steering Committee and the Implementation Committee

The Steering Committee was created in 2002. As such, it is not a structure that is directly attributable to the Initiative. However, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada receives funds from CIC through a contribution agreement in support of the Steering Committee, the Implementation Committee and working groups that support the operationalization of the Steering Committee’s decisions.

In addition to preceding the Initiative, the Steering Committee’s mandate goes beyond the framework of the Initiative. The implementation of the entire 2006 Strategic Plan is the Steering Committee’s mandate. There are about 60 members on this committee, including representatives from federal departments other than CIC, as well as representatives from CIC, provincial governments and communities.

Although the work of the Steering Committee exceeds the scope of the Initiative, the data gathered for this evaluation shows that this work facilitated the implementation of the Initiative. In fact, the CIC representatives consulted all stressed the importance of the coordination effort made by the Steering Committee and the Implementation Committee. No other platform allows federal, provincial and community representatives to discuss the directions to foster in the Francophone immigration file. CIC representatives also stressed that the Steering Committee sets a national vision for Francophone immigration in OLMCs that reflects the specific characteristics of each region, particularly in light of the agreements signed in Manitoba and in British Columbia.

The community representatives consulted for this evaluation largely echoed the CIC representatives’ input. They systematically value the contribution made by the Steering Committee in the implementation of activities in support of Francophone immigration, which of course includes all activities funded by the Initiative.

Although the scope of this evaluation does not include a detailed analysis of the Steering Committee’s strengths and weaknesses, it was noted that all of the consulted groups reported the challenge associated in working within a structure with some 60 members. Operational burden becomes inevitable. Despite this, it is hoped that these structures will be maintained and will be adapted in the future to facilitate the participation of municipal authorities, whose role in the settlement of newcomers has become increasingly recognized.

Francophone immigration networks

The Initiative also made considerable investments across the country in support of the work of Francophone immigration networks.

At the time of the evaluation, there were 13 Francophone immigration networks and one working committee:

  • In the Atlantic region, there are Francophone immigration networks in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in addition to an Atlantic network led by the Société nationale de l’Acadie. Though it is not formally a network, there is also an immigration working committee in Newfoundland.
  • Ontario has three Francophone immigration networks—one for the Eastern region, one for the West South Central region and one for the Northern region of the province.
  • In the West, there are Francophone immigration networks in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Finally, in the North, there are Francophone immigration networks in Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

All of the groups consulted for this evaluation reported that consolidating the Francophone immigration networks throughout the country was a major achievement of the Initiative. Considering the range of partners that must cooperate to effectively support the settlement of French-speaking newcomers in OLMCs, these networks represent a unique coordination structure that could not have been achieved without the Initiative.

Each network develops its own action plan for documenting the needs of French-speaking newcomers within the targeted area, as well as the distribution of roles and responsibilities in order to facilitate their settlement and longer-term integration.

The CIC representatives and community groups consulted for this evaluation noted that, in Manitoba and British Columbia, where the development of settlement programs is largely the responsibility of provincial governments, francophone immigration networks made it possible to articulate a shared vision for stakeholders, taking into account this particular context.

Francophone immigration networks also make it possible to coordinate the participation of various stakeholders in promotional activities abroad through the Destination Canada initiative.

As for the challenges Francophone immigration networks are facing, the consultations held in relation to this evaluation led to the following points:

  • The financial stability of the networks is uncertain. Not only is funding difficult to predict, but it is also often granted late within a fiscal year, limiting the capacity of organizations to implement their planned activities.
  • Some CIC representatives noted that the networks’ activities are not always well adapted to national approaches. There is a certain disconnect between work done at the regional and national levels. In addition, the lack of consistency between the networks intensifies this issue, as it makes it difficult to have a good overall view of the work of the networks.
  • Some CIC representatives and community organizations also noted that the networks must go beyond generating awareness in order to undertake activities that have a direct impact on the recruitment and integration of French-speaking newcomers. Each network must be able to give itself real and achievable goals and be able to adequately document the activities and the impact of its work.

Research activities

Overview of research activities

Documenting the settlement and integration process of French-speaking newcomers is also a priority under the Initiative. To do this, CIC funded almost 50 research projects on this issue during the first three years of the Initiative. It is important to note that many of these projects were funded outside the framework of this Initiative, although they specifically deal with immigration to OLMCs.

All of the groups consulted for this evaluation recognized the positive contribution the research projects have made. These activities made it possible to build statistical portraits of newcomers in minority communities, to document best practices and to explore the consultation structures that have been used to date to coordinate efforts in the area of settlement support. The research projects also addressed various immigration-related topics, such as education, health, integration and multiculturalism.

Some of these research projects were carried out in close collaboration with other federal departments; namely, a research project on the economic integration of French-speaking newcomers done in collaboration with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and a study done in collaboration with Statistics Canada on the demographic, linguistic, social and economic characteristics of Francophone immigration.

Research conducted in Quebec

Lastly, it should be noted that approximately $63,000 was committed annually by the Initiative to the Quebec regional office in order to support research projects on the settlement of Anglophone newcomers in the province. This was the only funding the Initiative granted for activities taking place in Quebec or affecting Anglophone newcomers in minority communities in the province.

Since 2003, on average, Quebec has welcomed slightly over 8,000 newcomers a year who are able to speak English but not French. This group accounted for an average of 17% of all newcomers settling in Quebec. The research supported by the Quebec regional office therefore made it possible to document the challenges these newcomers have toface.

As mentioned earlier, the Canada-Quebec Accord provides Quebec with selection authorities and with responsibility for its own settlement services. As a result, the scope of possible CIC actions in Quebec with regard to support for English-speaking minority communities is limited.

CIC maintains ties with the representatives of Quebec’s Anglophone communities to, among other things, meet its legal obligations. In addition, through the Roadmap, CIC allocated funds for research projects in support of Quebec’s Anglophone communities. This funding is not targeted toward OLMCs, but is nonetheless part of a larger strategy to research and share knowledge about the settlement and integration of newcomers in OLMCs. However, given that the agreement signed between Canada and Quebec provides that this province is exclusively responsible for the development and implementation of settlement programs, it is difficult to determine the impact of these research activities on the programming offered to Quebec newcomers.

Metropolis events

The groups consulted for this evaluation stressed the significant contribution of the Metropolis research project, which made it possible for an extensive network of researchers to share their work on a multitude of immigration topics and on the settlement and integration process. In recent years, Metropolis has held events specific to the issue of Francophone immigration in OLMCs. For example, on February 29, 2012, Metropolis held a pre-conference session on Francophone immigration in Canada.

Funding for Metropolis events, which was provided by CIC and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), came to an end on March 31, 2012. In light of this, the stakeholders consulted for this evaluation spoke about the importance of developing a new structure to pursue information sharing activities between researchers with an interest in immigration.

Are French-speaking foreign nationals aware of opportunities to immigrate to FMCs? (Q.5)

CIC has implemented several initiatives that give foreign citizens a better understanding of opportunities within FMCs. Destination Canada remains a particularly popular event, and administrative data show the sustained engagement of various stakeholders in the country (federal government, provincial governments, community organizations, etc.).

Destination Canada

Description of activities

Destination Canada is an annual event to promote Francophone immigration to OLMCs. Launched in 2003 by CIC, the event is organized by the Canadian Embassy in Paris and supported by public agencies for employment and international mobility in France and Belgium (Pôle emploi international, the Service public wallon de l’emploi et de la formation (Forem), the BIJOB/Actiris Brussels International Jobcentre for the Brussels-Capital region and the Flanders public employment service (VDAB) ).

The main objective of Destination Canada is to establish direct ties between Francophones residing in certain targeted Francophone countries and employers and other stakeholders from various FMCs. This event aims to promote the socio-economic advantages of the various FMCs to people who are seeking to immigrate to Canada.

In addition to the funds invested in Vote 1 within CIC to organize the activities related to Destination Canada, the Department signed memoranda of understanding with the provinces and territories to financially support their participation in Destination Canada activities. During the first three fiscal years covered under the Roadmap, a total of $671,510 was invested through these memoranda of understanding.Footnote 16

The activities held as part of Destination Canada are as follows:

  • The organization of a Canadian delegation that travels to Europe to meet potential French-speaking immigrants. For example, and as shown in Table 3, a delegation of 100 people travelled to Europe during Destination Canada 2011. The delegation included representatives from eight provinces and two territories, as well as representatives from employers, economic development organizations and municipalities. A total of 110 companies were present or represented during this edition of Destination Canada.

Table 3: Destination Canada statistics

  2008 2009 2010 2011
Canadian participation
Provinces and territories represented 10 P / 2 T 10 P / 2 T 9 P / 2 T 8 P / 2 T
Number of Canadian participants 103 79 108 100
Number of companies present or represented 52 57 68 110
Position profiles 210 225 364 315
Number of positions + 1,300 + 1,500 + 1,500 + 1,500
Participant applications 10,100 12,600 14,000 12,381
Number of participants 2,388 2,200 2,600 2,695

Sources: Destination Canada Activity Reports (CIC International Region)

  • Once on site, members of the Canadian delegation meet people who qualified to participate in the Destination Canada forums. As indicated in Table 3, just over 12,000 people applied to participate in this forum in 2011. Of those, about 2,700 people were selected to participate.
  • In 2011, the employers who participated in Destination Canada arrived in Europe with 315 position profiles to fill in Canada. A “position profile” may include more than one offer of employment. As such, in 2011, the 315 position profiles represented more than 1,500 positions to be filled.
  • In addition to the activities directly organized by the Canadian Embassy in Paris, provincial governments may also organize complimentary activities. For example, in 2010, the delegates from New Brunswick organized eight presentations to groups of 250 people and conducted 200 individual meetings.

Scope of activities

Initially, in 2004, Destination Canada targeted France and Belgium and, a few years later, Tunisia. Stakeholders consulted for this evaluation stated that if these three countries are unquestionably important partners, it may be useful to expand the scope of Destination Canada to appeal to other Francophone countries.Footnote 17

Table 4: French-speaking newcomersFootnote 18 (outside QC) for the top 10 source countries

Country of birth Total number who immigrated to a FMC  between 2003 and 2011
Lebanon 4,844
Democratic Republic of the Congo 4,445
France 4,365
Haiti 3,340
Mauritius 3,176
Morocco 3,052
Algeria 1,639
Republic of Cameroon 1,552
Burundi 1,440
Rwanda 878
Other countries 11,117
All French-speaking newcomers 39,848

Source: RDM, permanent residents, February 2012 (FOSS)

As shown in Table 4, of the top 10 source countries for French-speaking newcomers settling in FMCs, only France is currently being directly targeted by Destination Canada. These figures also indicate that a significant proportion of French-speaking newcomers come from sub-Saharan African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Cameroon, Burundi and Rwanda. In fact, of all French-speaking newcomers who settled in FMCs between 2003 and 2011, approximately 40% came from the sub-Saharan African region, which is not targeted by Destination Canada’s activities.

Other promotional activities

While Destination Canada may be considered the flagship activity in the area of promotion, CIC also undertakes other activities with the same objective throughout the year.

Information sessions and Salon de l’étude

Each year, CIC organizes a series of information sessions for potential French-speaking immigrants and foreign students. These sessions are intended to raise awareness about Canada’s different regions and their sectors of economic activity. Participants can learn more about temporary or permanent immigration programs and settlement services offered. Sessions dedicated to students make it possible to inform them about the various programs of study offered in Canada, including related opportunities for temporary work.

In 2009, over 50 information sessions were held in France and Belgium, bringing together over 3,000 participants. In 2011, the number of information sessions increased to 83, with nearly 4,000 participants from France, Belgium and Switzerland. In addition, information sessions and pre-departure sessions were added in Bucharest (Romania), Chisinau (Moldova), Mexico City (Mexico), Rabat (Morocco), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Tunis (Tunisia).

Media trips

Organized by Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Paris, in collaboration with CIC, media trips provide an opportunity for foreign journalists to travel to FMCs and document their “Canadian” experience. To date, journalists from France, Belgium, Switzerland and Africa have participated in this activity. Activities such as meetings are organized between journalists and Francophone organizations that work to support the settlement of French-speaking newcomers. The meetings also provide an occasion to promote business opportunities in FMCs.

One trip took place in 2009–2010, and three trips took place during the 2010–2011 fiscal year. After these trips, articles were published in several Francophone newspapers and magazines abroad. For the purposes of this evaluation, it was not possible to measure the impact of these articles on the expected outcomes of the Initiative.Footnote 19

Networking trips

Networking trips provide an opportunity for CIC representatives and partners abroad to hold meetings in FMCs in order to market their promotional activities, such as Destination Canada. These meetings are particularly geared toward Canadian employers to encourage them to benefit from Destination Canada’s activities by providing them with information on promotional activities and on how to participate. These trips also provide CIC and its partners with an opportunity to better understand the labour-force needs of employers in FMCs. The stakeholders consulted for this evaluation stressed the importance of employers actively participating because, as previously mentioned, an offer of employment substantially increases the quality of an application to immigrate.

In 2008–2009, a networking trip was organized in the Atlantic Provinces. In 2009–2010, networking trips were organized in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick. In 2010–2011, three trips took place in eight provinces and territories across Canada.

Conveying Canada’s linguistic reality

The challenge of convincing a Francophone who lives in a foreign country to settle in a FMC is being addressed through the promotional activities supported by the initiative. Once selected as a permanent resident in Canada, the next challenge is to integrate into a community with a socio-economic and linguistic profile suited to that individual. The newcomers consulted for this evaluation reported that there are still many misperceptions of Canada’s linguistic reality.

New technologies have made it increasingly possible for French-speaking newcomers to obtain information on the FMCs that they are preparing to join. During group discussions held with newcomers, participants indicated that they consulted various websites, including some service provider websites. Other participants turned more towards promotional activities such as Destination Canada, or family members who have already settled in Canada, or an immigration consultant.

It is clearly difficult to fully understand all aspects of bilingualism and linguistic duality in a country as vast as Canada. For some French-speaking newcomers consulted for this evaluation, the choice to settle in Canada but outside Quebec was motivated by the desire to learn the English language (namely to broaden their economic horizons), while continuing to use French. For others, the priority was to settle in a community with a strong Francophone presence in order to be able to continue living in French. Finally, for other French-speaking newcomers, only once settled in a province other than Quebec did they realize the importance of learning the English language. The various expectations, combined with the linguistic reality of the selected FMC, can lead to situations in which the expectations of a French-speaking newcomer will not necessarily be met.

Have the initiatives helped to achieve the objectives set in terms of the number of French-speaking immigrants going to FMCs? (Q.7)

Since the adoption of the Strategic Framework in 2003, the federal government and FMCs have pursued an objective (4.4%) that has still not been attained. However, there has been an increase in the number of French-speaking newcomers settling in FMCs. In fact, the data available at the time of the evaluation show that the interim objective of 1.8% set by CIC was attained. However, the method that should be used to measure this objective must be discussed and validated with relevant stakeholders.

It is important to note that the promotional activities undertaken through the Initiative (like Destination Canada) do not necessarily facilitate the selection process. Moreover, it is not possible to establish a direct causal link between these activities and the progress observed in terms of the number of French-speaking newcomers settling in FMCs.

Setting an objective

In 2003, the Strategic Framework established the objective that “at least 4.4 percent of immigrants to Canada outside Quebec are French-speaking in 2008.”Footnote 20 The logic underlying this objective is that, if 4.4% of all newcomers who settle outside of Quebec are French-speaking, immigration will contribute to maintain the relative demographic weight of FMCs.

According to the 2001 census, 4.4 percent of the Canadian population residing outside Quebec had French as their mother tongue.
Objective 1 of the Strategic Framework indicates that, if FMCs are to benefit from immigration and maintain their long-term demographic weight, they will have to attract and retain at least the same percentage of French-speaking immigrants (4.4 percent). Footnote 21

Thus, the 4.4% objective is based on the demographic weight of the entire Canadian Francophone population outside Quebec, which was measured on the basis of mother tongue, using data from the 2001 census.

Based on experience acquired since 2003, CIC redefined its objective regarding the number of French-speaking newcomers settling in FMCs. Accordingly, the Department set short- and long-term objectives:

  • That 1.8% of the total number of immigrants to Canada settling outside Quebec are French-speaking by 2013.
  • That 4.4% of the total number of immigrants to Canada settling outside Quebec are French-speaking by 2023.Footnote 22

Measuring progress

The definition of a French-speaking newcomer has evolved since the Strategic Framework was introduced in 2003. The accepted definition was developed in the 2006 Strategic Plan.

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.Footnote 23

As previously mentioned, the definition adopted in the Strategic Plan clearly indicates the criteria to be used to identify who is a French-speaking immigrant, but there is currently no one single validated and accepted method to count the number of French-speaking immigrants using that definition. The challenge is in the interpretation of the second part of the definition, namely “[if the immigrant’s] first official language is French if the mother tongue is a language other than French or English.”

The Strategic Plan highlighted the importance of the measure by noting that “CIC must improve its capacity to measure immigrants’ knowledge of Canada’s official languages in order to determine more precisely the changes in demographics for immigration to FMCs.”Footnote 24

Despite this challenge, there is a clear trend: the number of French-speaking newcomers settling outside of Quebec has been on the rise since 2003.

For the purposes of this evaluation, three measures were used to examine trends in the number of French-speaking newcomers settling outside Quebec. First, the “mother tongue” criterion was considered because it makes up the first part of the definition set out in the 2006 Strategic Plan. Next, two derived measures that incorporate the second part of this definition (mentioned above) were considered. These last measures offer two different interpretations of the second part of the definition. 

It is important to point out that FOSS does not contain data that could directly measure the concept of the “first official language” contained in the second part of the definition. The number of newcomers who meet this criterion must be estimated. The only language knowledge variables at this time are mother tongue and official languages spoken.Footnote 25 The two derived measures, which incorporate the second part of the definition in the 2006 Strategic Plan, are based on these two variables, but with a few variations, based on different interpretations of this definition.

  • The first measure of French-speaking immigrants includes permanent residents whose mother tongue is French.
  • The second measure of French-speaking immigrants combines the population of permanent residents whose mother tongue is French with a second population of permanent residents whose mother tongue is a language other than French and whose first official language is French (excluding those who speak both French and English). Footnote 26 This measure takes into account that there are French-speaking permanent residents in Canada whose mother tongue is a language other than French. However, it does not take into account that there also may be permanent residents whose mother tongue is other than French or English, who can speak these two languages, but whose first official language spoken is French.
  • The third measure of French-speaking immigrants, which is explored in greater depth in this evaluation, expands on the last measure by adding a third population of permanent residents whose mother tongue is a language other than French or English, and whose official languages spoken are French and English, but who come from a country that has been designated “Francophone.”Footnote 27 This measure attempts to include permanent residents who have the ability to speak both official languages, but only those who would more likely use French in their daily lives.

Figure 4 provides an illustration of the trend in Francophone immigration outside Quebec through these three measures.

  • Using the first measure of mother tongue only: the number of newcomers settling outside Quebec increased from 728 in 2003 to 1,614 in 2011 (for a total of 12,653 during this period).
  • Using the second measure: the number of newcomers settling outside Quebec increased from 1,830 in 2003 to 3,543 in 2011 (for a total of 25,726 during this period).
  • Using the third measure: the number of newcomers settling outside Quebec increased from 2,968 in 2003 to 5,279 in 2011 (for a total of 39,848 during this period).  

Figure 4: Number of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs using the three measures

Number of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs using the three measures

Text version: Figure 4: Number of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs using the three measures

If these figures are converted into a percentage of the 1.8 million newcomers who have settled outside Quebec since 2003, according to the second measure, the Initiative attained the interim objective of 1.8% in 2011, and according to the third measure,Footnote 28 the Initiative attained it in 2004 (See Figure 5).

Figure 5: Percentage of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs using the three measures

Percentage of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs using the three measures

Profile of French-speaking newcomers

Based on the third measure, some trends were noted in the profile of French-speaking newcomers who settled in FMCs between 2003 and 2011. These trends were compared with trends observed for all newcomers outside Quebec (see Table 5).

Table 5: Profile of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs (2003–2011)

Characteristic French-speaking newcomers in FMCs (according to the third measure) (n = 39,848) All newcomers outside Quebec (including those who speak French) (n = 1,819,229)
Immigration category 51% are economic class immigrants (principal applicants or their spouses and/or dependants) 23% arrived through family reunification22% are refugees 58% are economic class immigrants (principal applicants or their spouses and/or dependants) 27% arrived through family reunification11% are refugees
Country of birth (top three source countries) Lebanon (12%) Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%) France (11%) People’s Republic of China (15%) India (14%) Philippines (11%)
Age group 54% are 25 to 44 years old17% are 15 to 24 years old16% are 0 to 14 years old 48% are 25 to 44 years old15% are 15 to 24 years old21% are 0 to 14 years old
Level of education 32% have a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate) 35% have a university degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate)
Intention to work 58% arrived in Canada intending to workThe intention to work of the remaining 42% was unknown (69% of this group are children 15 years of age and under, students 15 years of age and older, and retirees 15 years of age and older) 51% arrived in Canada intending to workThe intention to work of the remaining 49% was unknown (71% of this group are children 15 years old and under, students 15 years of age and older, and retirees 15 years of age and older)

Source: RDM, permanent residents, February 2012 (FOSS)

Impact of promotional activities

The very process of selecting immigrants to Canada presents a systemic limitation to the success of promotional activities (such as Destination Canada). Destination Canada and other activities are designed to promote immigration to FMCs, the logic being that once convinced of the advantages of FMCs, a Francophone living abroad will apply to immigrate to a FMC. At this stage, however, the Francophone applicant has no particular status, and the application is considered like any other application to immigrate to Canada. While Destination Canada and other related activities have an impact on overseas promotion of Francophone immigration to FMCs, these efforts have no impact on the immigrant selection process.

In order to maximize the chances that a Francophone living abroad may in fact immigrate to a FMC, Destination Canada organizers have relied on high levels of participation by employers with job offers in hand. Having a job offer does not guarantee that an application will be approved, but it does strengthen the applicant’s file. Some provisions also facilitate the entry of temporary workers. Temporary residents are targeted by the Initiative to the extent that they can transition to permanent residence (for example, through the Canadian Experience Class). However, temporary residents (with the exception of live-in caregivers) are not eligible for CIC-funded settlement services.Footnote 29

This disconnect between promotional activities and the selection process is one reason why it is impossible to accurately determine the number of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs who arrived as a direct result of Destination Canada activities. Anecdotally, some newcomers who were consulted for this evaluation (in focus groups) said that they had taken part in Destination Canada activities and that those activities had an impact on their decision to immigrate to a FMC. However, information that could be used to assess this impact, is not collected systematically during the selection process. Nevertheless, even without being able to establish a causal link, the number of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs has generally increased since 2003, that is, over the last eight years in which Destination Canada activities have been held.

Do Francophone immigrants obtain strengthened settlement services in French in FMCs? (Q.6)

Have FMCs improved their settlement and reception services capacity in order to facilitate the recruitment, reception, integration and retention of French-speaking immigrants in FMCs? (Q.8)

The activities funded by CIC in relation to the objectives of the Initiative have led to a strengthening of settlement services. The Department provided financial support over and above the ongoing commitment set out in the Roadmap. The work done in each region has strengthened the capacity of Francophone communities to integrate French-speaking newcomers. Moreover, the funded activities have enabled the communities to better understand the challenges faced by French-speaking newcomers in FMCs.

Financial investments

During the first three years of the Initiative (2008–2009 to 2010–2011), CIC mobilized considerable amounts of money in order to improve the capacity of communities and service providers to support French-speaking newcomers who settle in FMCs. Two types of investments were made:

  • First, some activities funded by the Initiative sought to better equip service providers so that they can meet the needs of French-speaking newcomers as adequately as possible. This may include training activities or the development of teaching materials. Similarly, some activities sought to increase the host community’s awareness of the reality of French-speaking newcomers in order to facilitate their integration. Both of these types of activities are “indirect activities” aimed at French-speaking newcomers.
  • Second, the Initiative has provided financial support for offering “direct services” to French-speaking newcomers, including providing them with language training, helping them search for employment, or meeting their needs at the initial settlement stage.

Both direct services and indirect activities are systematically offered by third parties or service providers who have signed contribution agreements with CIC. To this end, and as mentioned in subsection 1.3 of this report, CIC has two sources of funds to support these third parties:

  • The first, an annual amount of $690,000 ($3.45 million over five years), was assigned to CIC through the OLAP and maintained under the Roadmap. These are actually new resources assigned specifically to support Francophone immigration in FMCs.
  • CIC is also committed to allocating (through existing settlement program funds) $10 million over four years for this same purpose, namely, to support the integration and settlement of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs.

Thus, of the $13.45 million allocated over five years for direct services and indirect activities, the Department had planned to invest a little over $7 million in the three fiscal years covered by this evaluation (see Table 6).

Table 6: Planned investments to support French-speaking newcomers who settle in FMCs (Vote 5)

  2008–09 2009–10 2010-11 Total
New funds under the OLAP and the Roadmap $690,000 $690,000 $690,000 $2,070,000
Existing settlement program funds $0 Up to $2,500,000 Up to $2,500,000 Up to $5,000,000
Total $690,000 $3,190,000 $3,190,000 $7,070,000

Source: CIC administrative data

In fact, the investment in direct services and indirect activities specifically for the integration and settlement of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs has greatly exceeded $7 million. CIC’s financial data indicates that nearly $54 million has been invested to support activities for French-speaking newcomers who settled in FMCs. As shown in Table 7, 63% of these resources were invested in direct services for French-speaking newcomers, 26% in indirect activities, and 11% in activities with both direct and indirect components. With respect to regional distribution, 80% of the amount was invested in Ontario.Footnote 30

Table 7: Actual investments in direct services and indirect activities specifically for French-speaking newcomers in FMCs, by category (Vote 5)

  Direct Services Indirect Activities Both Components Total
2008–09 $8,641,498 $3,790,377 $404,358 $12,836,233
2009–10 $11,398,913 $4,256,137 $925,241 $16,580,291
2010–11 $13,940,868 $5,869,975 $4,723,789 $24,534,632
Total $33,981,279 $13,916,489 $6,053,388 $53,951,156

Source: CIC administrative data (SAP, CAMS and regional reports)

In addition, the investments described in this section include only those amounts directly for FMCs. CIC also provided financial support enabling service providers to offer services in both official languages, without specifically targeting FMCs. For example, investments were made to ensure communication in both official languages (via a website, for instance). This type of expense, estimated at about $62.1 million for the first three years of the Initiative, is not the focus of this evaluation. Therefore, a more thorough analysis of these expenses was not conducted.

Direct services to support settlement were strengthened

The amounts invested during the first three years of the Initiative helped to expand the range and reach of services for French-speaking newcomers in FMCs. The data collected in the context of this evaluation indicate that these services can be grouped into two main categories:

  • Settlement support: These activities include information and orientation programs for French-speaking newcomers, job search workshops, tools (telephone line, video, etc.) offering information on life in Canada, gathering places for French-speaking immigrant women, information workshops for French-speaking immigrant men, job search training, and meetings to prepare for the citizenship exam, as well as conversation circles, programs specifically for French-speaking youth, support services for new French-speaking students, and even mentoring activities.
  • “Language learning” activities: These activities include basic and advanced French and English language courses.

The expansion of the type of services offered was accompanied by an increase in the number of service providers offering services in French, in every region targeted by the Initiative. As illustrated in Table 8, the number of service providers serving at least one newcomer in French jumped from 30 in 2005–2006 to 71 in 2010–2011. This increase can be seen in every region, but is most prevalent in Ontario, where the number has more than doubled in six years.

Table 8: Number of providers offering French services, in certain provinces and territories*

  Action plan Roadmap
  2005–06 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11
NL 0 0 0 1 1 1
PEI 0 0 0 0 0 1
NS 0 0 0 1 1 3
NB 2 2 2 4 5 5
ON 20 31 33 38 42 44
SK 1 3 3 4 3 3
AB 6 7 10 12 9 14
YK 1 1 0 1 1 0
Total 30 44 48 61 62 71

* Based on the number of providers who served at least one newcomer in French. MB and BC are not included in these statistics because they are responsible for implementing their own settlement services. These figures are based on data provided by service providers and reflect the level of services offered, not necessarily the level of demand for such services.

Source: CIC administrative data (iCAMS, NARSI and CC services only).

For some service providers, French-speaking newcomers represent a significant proportion of their clientele. For others, French-speaking newcomers represent just a fraction of their clientele. Table 9 shows that French-speaking newcomers made up at least 10% of the clientele for 18 service providers outside Quebec, and 1% to less than 10% of the clientele for 45 providers. For the remaining service providers, French-speaking newcomers represented less than 1% of their total clientele.

Table 9: Number of providers with a clientele served in French (2010-2011)

Percentage of clientele who are French-speaking newcomers
  1% or more At least 10%
NL 1 0
PEI 0 0
NS 2 1
NB 5 4
ON 28 10
SK 1 0
AB 8 3
YK 0 0

Source: CIC administrative data (iCAMS, NARSI and CC services only).

Administrative data on the number of clients served in French in recent years (2005–2006 to 2010–2011) suggests a sharp upward trend. For example, the number of newcomers who received assistance information and orientation on life in Canada in French jumped from 529 in 2005–2006 to 2,610 in 2010–2011 (these figures do not include Manitoba and British Columbia). Other areas that saw large increases in the number of newcomers served in French include needs assessments, referral services and counselling sessions. However, a number of service providers offer their services in a variety of languages other than French and English, in order to provide support in the newcomers’ mother tongue.

In terms of challenges for the future, the groups consulted for this evaluation offered the following observations (some of the observations not only apply to the context of FMCs, but also have a more general application) :

  • Some communities are still having difficulty achieving and facilitating the integration of international students who want to stay Canada after completing their studies.
  • Service provider representatives highlighted the need to expand partnerships with employers. This issue is especially important because skills recognition for French-speaking newcomers is still problematic.
  • Service provider representatives also pointed out the difficulty stemming from the current eligibility criteria for CIC-funded services. Refusing to serve a newcomer who does not yet have permanent resident status is especially hard given their vulnerability.

There seems to be a need to consolidate the services currently being offered. Several initiatives have been undertaken in the form of “pilot projects,” but there is not yet a permanent funding base for them.

Indirect activities that support settlement

In terms of indirect activities funded during the first three years of the Initiative, some amounts were invested in Francophone immigration networks (these networks are listed in the section on evaluation questions 4 and 10).

For the period covering the first three fiscal years of the Initiative (2008–2009 to 2010–2011), CIC administrative data indicates that nearly $5.7 million was invested to support the work of the Francophone immigration networks. As Table 10 shows, the amounts invested represented a considerable proportion of the Vote 5 amounts invested under the Initiative, particularly in the British Columbia and Yukon Region (78%) and the Atlantic Region (26%). Although the amount invested in the Ontario Region represents only 9% of the total amount invested under Vote 5 (expenses targeted for the FMCs) in that province, this is nevertheless a net amount of about $4 million over three years.

Table 10: Investment in Francophone immigration networks (2008–2009 to 2010–2011)

Regions Total $ % estimated total investment specifically
for French-speaking newcomers in FMCs, by region
(Vote 5)
Atlantic $576,223 26%
Ontario $4,044,282 9%
Prairies and NWT $759,606 12%
BC and YK $293,484 78%
Total $5,673,595 N/A

Source: CIC administrative data (CAMS, SAP and regional reports).

Because of regional differences, the make-up of each network and the activities they have undertaken varies. In terms of make-up, all networks include representatives of CIC regional offices and Francophone service providers. In addition, some networks include Francophone school boards, Francophone post-secondary institutions, youth organizations, provincial government departments, private businesses and other organizations involved in the Canadian Francophonie.

Other indirect activities that received funding include:

  • In support of settlement, multicultural salons, information and training sessions for teaching staff, training and awareness sessions on cultural diversity or multiculturalism, and the development of action plans to support the integration of newcomers have all received funding under the Initiative.
  • In support of language training, funding under the Initiative has been provided for the development of learning programs and guidelines.

Is the Initiative guided by a clear mandate and specific roles, responsibilities and objectives? (Q.9)

The Initiative has benefited from the more general framework provided by the Strategic Framework and the Strategic Plan. In addition, the various coordination structures, including the Steering Committee and the Implementation Committee, made it possible to assign roles and responsibilities to a variety of stakeholders whose contribution was essential to achieving the results anticipated by the Roadmap. However, these structures have become unwieldy, creating challenges in sustaining the commitment of all partners and their accountability.

The main goal of the Initiative is to support the implementation of the 2006 Strategic Plan. Subsection 1.2 of this report has already described the broader context of the Initiative, which goes back to the establishment of the Steering Committee in 2002. Although the scope of the 2006 Strategic Plan extends beyond that of the Initiative, nonetheless, both are intrinsically linked.

The implementation of the Initiative was thus directly rooted in the management structures of the Strategic Plan—the Steering Committee and the Implementation Committee.  Other collaborative platforms have been added, including among others the Francophone immigration networks.

All of the groups consulted for this evaluation stated that the roles and responsibilities of the various partners are generally clear and specific. In fact, regarding the activities that received funding under the Initiative, roles and responsibilities were distributed between CIC and service providers, as both groups already had a history of collaboration even before the Initiative was announced.

Although the activities funded under the Initiative primarily involve CIC and service providers, all groups consulted for this evaluation said that achieving the desired outcomes of the Initiative and, more broadly, the Strategic Plan, requires close collaboration with provincial governments and other stakeholders, including employers. In this regard, the Steering Committee plays a vital role. As noted earlier, the representatives consulted for this evaluation expressed concern about the unwieldiness of the Steering Committee, which has about 60 members. However, all of the activities undertaken by the Steering Committee extend beyond the parameters of this evaluation.

3.3 Efficiency and economy

This last section of the report focuses on two evaluation questions relating to the efficiency of the Initiative. The information provided here is based on all of the research methods used in this evaluation.

Is management of the Initiative coordinated and supported by the tools, resources (human and financial) and mechanisms needed to ensure effective delivery? (Q.11)

Are performance measurement, monitoring and reporting for this Initiative sufficient to ensure Initiative accountability? (Q.12)

The sustained growth of CIC-funded activities to support the objectives of the Roadmap puts considerable pressure on all stakeholders, both in the government and in the communities. There is concern about the Department’s ability to maintain the human and financial resources required to continue the work that has already been started.

The information currently gathered by CIC makes it possible to document a number of activities undertaken in relation to the objectives of the Roadmap. However, the data available is not complete, which limits CIC’s ability to draw an accurate picture of the Initiative’s achievements.

Resources and mechanisms supporting the Initiative

This evaluation report indicates strong growth in activities designed to directly and indirectly support French-speaking newcomers who settle in FMCs, from promotion abroad to services offered in the various communities, as well as coordination and collaborative efforts at the regional and national levels.

Significant human and financial resources are required to implement all of these activities. For example, many people in CIC’s International Region and at the Canadian Embassy in Paris have been involved in organizing Destination Canada. As already noted in this report, numerous stakeholders would like to see Destination Canada activities expanded to countries other than France, Belgium and Tunisia. The CIC representatives consulted for this evaluation stated that such an expansion would be difficult, given the human and financial resources currently available.

In fact, the various groups consulted for this evaluation were asked about the Department’s capacity to maintain this level of activity beyond the Roadmap, that is, after April 1, 2013. This applies not only to the services currently being offered by service providers, but also to all cooperation and coordination activities, including the Francophone immigration networks.


The data collection process for this evaluation brought to light numerous challenges associated with accountability. Unlike a distinct program, the Initiative has various components and a multitude of players. Therefore, it is difficult to have a fully synchronized approach to data collection. Also, the fact that the Initiative has been incorporated into the Roadmap means that the accountability process includes the requirements of both CIC and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

As for the Initiative itself, CAMS is a useful, albeit imperfect, tool for monitoring and collecting information on the activities undertaken through contribution agreements. The system’s reliability depends essentially on the CIC officers who collect and enter the data. They are also responsible for updating the information already in the system, but this does not seem to be done systematically.

This evaluation also revealed that even the data from the SAP financial system and from iCAMS do not always correspond with the amounts listed in the files or databases used by CIC officers in the various regions. These discrepancies could be attributed to changes or corrections in the coding of expenses in SAP.

Although the CIC officers responsible for the Initiative in the regions received training on using the financial codes created in SAP to identify the expenses using funding (Vote 5) reserved for the Initiative, the evaluation revealed that they do not use them consistently. The nature of the projects funded varies from region to region (and even within regions) and from year to year. For example, one project identified as being funded by the Initiative one year may be identified as being funded by the settlement program the next. It became apparent that the financial information alone did not give a full picture of the activities under this Initiative. Consequently, this information had to be supplemented using information from two other data sources (CAMS and the regional reports) and validated by the regional offices.

Despite the data collection and validation process, there are nevertheless wide variances between what is coded in SAP and what is recorded in the various regions, particularly with respect to the activities funded by Vote 5.

In addition, CIC’s modernized approach to settlement services launched in 2008 allowed for flexibility in implementing projects, and several projects can now be pursued simultaneously. This approach can create some challenges in attributing amounts invested for purposes of accountability.

Finally, there is no standard definition of what constitutes a project (Vote 5) under the Initiative. For example, language training activities are sometimes classified under the Initiative, but the same type of activity can also be coded to another program. This results in a lack of precision regarding the scope of activities and the expected outcomes of the Initiative, which can be problematic when measuring the associated results.

All of these challenges limit the analysis that can be conducted with respect to the efficiency of the activities undertaken as part of the Initiative.


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