Summary

The Initiative

This report presents the findings from the evaluation of the Recruitment and Integration of French-Speaking Immigrants to Francophone Minority Communities Initiative (hereafter called the Initiative), which falls under the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality (hereafter called the Roadmap) unveiled in 2008.

Under the Initiative, CIC is committed to investing $30 million over a period of five years to facilitate the recruitment and integration of French-speaking newcomers to Francophone Minority Communities (FMCs). To do this, the Department has focussed on three areas of activity: coordination and research, promotion and recruitment, and settlement and integration service delivery.

Methodology

The evaluation assesses the relevance, the results to date and the efficiency of the Initiative. The evaluation is based on four principal sources of data: a series of interviews with various groups of stakeholders who participated in the implementation of the Initiative, a document review, an analysis of administrative data and a series of case studies conducted across Canada.

Findings and recommendations

The Initiative remains relevant.

In 2003, in the context of the Strategic Framework that they adopted, CIC and FMCs wagered that Francophone immigration could help to strengthen the Francophonie outside Quebec by enriching it with new experiences, realities and economic strengths. By addressing the decrease in the relative weight of the FMCs, Francophone immigration would also make it possible to consolidate the institutional network of these communities.

Nearly 10 years later, the efforts invested in this vision have been successful. The number of French-speaking newcomers settling in FMCs has increased, and FMCs are better equipped to facilitate the settlement and long-term integration of French-speaking newcomers.

In that context, the Initiative has proven relevant. Although progress has been made in the past decade, the objectives set in 2003 (and set out in the 2006 Strategic Plan) have not yet been met. The partners’ efforts must therefore continue.

The Initiative reflects the priorities of CIC and the federal government.

CIC is in a unique situation. The Department, like all federal departments, must respect the commitment to adopt positive measures to enhance the vitality of OLMCs (Part VII of the Official Languages Act), but that is also one of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Therefore, CIC must develop a vision and a strategy enabling it to respect its legislative obligations. The adoption of the Strategic Framework in 2003 and the Strategic Plan in 2006 helped the Department to create such a vision, and the Initiative played a complementary role by giving the Department and its partners tools to implement the vision.

The Initiative reflects the federal government’s unique role in immigration.

As it is currently structured, the Initiative adequately reflects the framework arising from various agreements between the federal government and the provinces, especially those signed with Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia. The Initiative includes almost no activities in Quebec, and settlement services in Manitoba and British Columbia receive no funding. The immigration agreements with both of those provinces recognize the importance of enhancing the vitality of FMCs, and the Initiative gave stakeholders the tools they needed to coordinate their efforts, including through Francophone immigration networks.

Coordination is now done at the regional and national levels. Ensuring links and maintaining a consistent vision are some of the challenges facing all stakeholders.

By 2002, CIC and its partners had already established the Steering Committee, which encouraged coordination at the national level. The work of the Steering Committee led to the development of the Strategic Framework in 2003 and the Strategic Plan in 2006.

The Initiative helped expand coordination to the regional level. At the time of this evaluation, there were 13 Francophone immigration networks and one working committee, which enabled stakeholders in different parts of the country to work together, share ideas and come up with a vision and an action plan for their respective regions. The experience gained to date demonstrates the soundness of such regional strategies to develop programs and policies supporting settlement that reflect the socio-economic reality of the community in which the Francophone newcomer has settled.

Obviously, the increase in the number of these regional structures made it challenging at the national level to maintain a global vision of the Francophone immigration file outside Quebec. The Francophone immigration networks must now build on the gains made to date. In particular, they should maximize opportunities for discussion not only between themselves, but also with the Steering Committee, to ensure that national efforts are aligned with those at the regional level.

Recommendation 1: That CIC ensure that the collaborative platforms at the regional and national levels are harmonized, particularly between the Steering Committee and the Francophone immigration networks.

Research contributed to a better understanding of the challenges that Francophone newcomers face.

When beginning its work in 2003, the Steering Committee had very little research on Francophone immigration outside Quebec. Although considerable research had been undertaken in the area of immigration over the years, the particular nature of FMCs remained largely missing from this work. Today, in 2012, the situation is very different. During the period covered by this evaluation (2008 to 2011), more than 50 research projects on OLMCs were carried out. The reality of newcomers who settle in a minority community is much better documented, which allows stakeholders to adjust their programming accordingly.

However, the disappearance of Metropolis in Canada is still a challenge for researchers. This forum played a critical role in the sharing and promotion of research on immigration in minority settings. CIC must state how it intends to assume its supporting role in these research projects. In particular, the Department should more clearly state its objectives regarding the research that it funds in relation to Anglophone newcomers in Quebec. Stakeholders must develop new strategies in order to continue their efforts to promote and share research projects.

Recommendation 2: That CIC set out a research and knowledge-sharing strategy concerning the settlement and integration of newcomers in OLMCs.

Over the years, Destination Canada has continued to expand its activities, adding other, mostly complementary, promotional activities. However, the selection process criteria can create some barriers that could limit the impact of promotional activities.

The Initiative made it possible to undertake major promotional activities abroad, including the flagship event, Destination Canada. These activities have received much continued support from various immigration stakeholders, including provincial governments, employers, post-secondary institutions and FMCs themselves. However, it seems necessary at this point to clarify the expectations regarding the impact of promotional activities. If more Francophone newcomers can be convinced to settle in FMCs, they must be allowed to immigrate to Canada permanently.

Promoting FMCs is a vital step in astrategy designed to recruit more French-speaking newcomers. However, standing between the interested French-speaking newcomers and FMCs is a selection process that can become a barrier, resulting in a significant negative impact on achieving Initiative objectives. The strategy around Destination Canada should thus include considerations directly related to the selection process, as well as to the main goal of the Initiative, which is to facilitate the long-term settlement of French-speaking immigrants.

Recommendation 3: That CIC develop a strategy to better link promotion and recruitment activities, including Destination Canada, to the considerations relating to the selection and long-term settlement of French-speaking newcomers in FMCs.

Statistics confirm that, since 2003, the number of French-speaking newcomers who settle in FMCs has increased. However, it is impossible at this time to accurately measure the exact increase.

The measures explored in this evaluation report confirm this increase. CIC and its partners achieved the interim target of increasing the number of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec to 1.8%.

The 2003 Strategic Framework and the 2006 Strategic Plan have allowed CIC and FMCs to set an objective as to the number of French-speaking newcomers who should settle in FMCs. There are several merits to this approach, since it should enable stakeholders to measure progress with respect to this especially complex endeavour. The challenge at this time is that there is no single method, validated and adopted by consensus, to calculate the number of “French-speaking newcomers,” according to the definition in the Strategic Plan. Nearly 10 years after establishing the objective of 4.4%, it is highly desirable that all partners working in this area be able to agree on an appropriate measure.

Efforts have been made to specify the best strategy to measure the achievement of the objectives of the Strategic Plan, and this work must continue.

Recommendation 4: That CIC, in collaboration with appropriate partners, determine the formula that it intends to use to measure the number of French-speaking immigrants who settle in FMCs.

FMCs are better equipped to welcome French-speaking newcomers.

CIC invested a considerable amount of money to improve the capacity of FMCs to support the settlement of French-speaking newcomers. Under the Initiative, the number of service providers and the range of services offered both grew considerably. These services are now much better adapted to the reality of French-speaking newcomers.

Yet, statistics show that for most service providers, French-speaking newcomers make up a limited proportion of their total clientele. In this regard, cooperation and sharing between service providers (facilitated by the Francophone immigration networks, among others) are still key to maintaining an internal capacity to offer services that meet the needs of this target clientele.

The Initiative benefited from existing structures in the area of Francophone immigration.

Thanks in part to the work of the Steering Committee, the Implementation Committee and other working groups, stakeholders in the field of Francophone immigration have been cooperating for almost 10 years. This experience helped establish close working relationships under the Initiative. The data collected for this evaluation indicates that the roles and responsibilities, particularly between CIC (including the regional offices) and the service providers, in order to implement activities that received funding for the Initiative, were defined appropriately.

The data collected to date by CIC’s various databanks and systems on the activities undertaken as part of the Initiative can be used to draw a useful, albeit incomplete, portrait of achievements.

As this evaluation report demonstrates, some existing data can be used to document the type and level of services offered to French-speaking newcomers, as well as the other activities undertaken to consolidate the capacity of FMCs to support the settlement and integration of French-speaking newcomers in their communities. This data is one of the most important sources of information for this evaluation.

Nevertheless, the data currently collected is not complete. Some weaknesses that need to be addressed have been described in this report. It is important to note the considerable progress that has been made to date in order to better understand and document the activities undertaken through the Initiative. The challenge now is to build on these gains, in order to refine this portrait and better depict the progress made.

Recommendation 5: That CIC develop a strategy to guide the performance measurement of the Initiative, and that the Department align and strengthen the systems and tools for monitoring and collecting data (for example, the SAP financial system, CAMS and the regional reports) that are currently used to support this strategy.

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