Executive summary - Best practices and strategies implemented by Anglophone organizations for receiving and integrating immigrants in Quebec City

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The research focuses on best practices and strategies implemented by organizations receiving and helping settle Anglophone or allophone immigrants in Quebec City whose first official language spoken is English.

The portrait of Quebec City’s English-speaking community, historically present and structured, albeit very modest, shows that it has grown smaller and older over the years. However, it is currently stable thanks to the arrival of Canadians from Anglophone provinces and growing numbers of international immigrants. The labour market is favourable to this settlement trend and allows for the retention of these newcomers. Quebec City is seeing its population grow by over 9%, and the number of immigrants who speak only English upon their arrival has risen from 4.8 to 6.7% between 2005 and 2010. Lastly, 15% of the immigrants settling in Quebec City come from Asia, where English is more often than not the second language learned. Thus, the reception potential on the part of Anglophone OLMC organizations seems to be on the rise.

In partnership with Voice of English Quebec, one of the Anglophone community’s leading newcomer reception organizations, a review and an analysis were carried out of the services and resources, and then of the practices implemented by Quebec City’s English-speaking community to receive and support immigrants whose first official language spoken is English. Also identified were the French-speaking community’s reception/settlement resources in line with those of the Anglophone organizations. Subsequently, an analysis was carried out of the influence of these services and of their practices with regard to reception, integration and retention in relation to English-speaking immigrants in Quebec City.

The mixed methodological approach is based primarily on individual interviews (12) and a group interview with the organizations’ stakeholders and with the immigrants (21) received by them. In addition, a questionnaire (17) on service satisfaction and immigrant integration was proposed by the organizations. Nine Anglophone community organizations were met with: VEQ, three organizations working in the social and health field, one working in adult education, two churches, one cultural organization and one print media outlet. Two Francophone organizations in the immigrant reception field were also interviewed, as well as the international affairs officer in Quebec City.

The research confirms that Quebec City’s Anglophone community looms large in the city’s ability to attract and retain immigrants thanks to its dynamism, its economic life, its linguistic potential (bilingualism) and its solid health-social-reception infrastructures, as well as the city’s history and its many partnerships. This community is recognized and represented at the local level from a political, economic and social standpoint thanks to the leadership of its community actors. This leadership is apparent with VEQ, the Jeffrey Hale centres and the Valcartier Family Centre. But the current changes in the regional partnership infrastructures can have negative effects on partnerships and collaborations that must continue to be supported and strengthened.

The survey of 17 recipients of these services confirms the home regions of immigrants whose first spoken language is English in Quebec City (Asia, United States, Europe) and offers a panorama of these immigrants’ varied status upon arrival: independent immigrants, international students, temporary workers, refugees. Other migration trajectories are also noted, several of these involving transit through other Canadian provinces. We see that most of the respondents have a higher education and practise a profession, whereas others are students or seeking employment. Sixty per cent work in English. They have a variety of mother tongues, and a number of them refer to their home community when in need (particularly in the case of Asian communities). For those who obtained reception services in Quebec City, half received them in French and the other half in English. They seem satisfied in equal measure. However, respondents whose first language spoken is English feel more integrated into the Anglophone community. It should also be noted that there seem to have been few references between the two communities, and the respondents are having difficulty perceiving partnerships between organizations in the Anglophone and Francophone communities. Lastly, the services rendered by the Anglophone organizations facilitated reception and settlement, but also, for some of the older ones, the search for housing, socio-professional guidance, becoming employed, networking and social integration.

Immigrants in Quebec City whose first spoken language is English fall under five main categories:

  1. immigrants who arrived in an Anglophone province and who then go to Quebec City (Chinese, for example);
  2. members of mixed couples (Francophone Quebecker, immigrant spouse speaking English upon arrival, e.g. from the Philippines);
  3. members of temporary migrant families such as international students or temporary workers;
  4. independent immigrants from the United States, who have been here longer or who transited through other parts of Canada;
  5. refugee and immigrant families where one or both spouses learned English in their home country (Bhutanese, Brazilian).

Upon arrival, people in the first four categories seek services in English while those in the last category are received by Francophone services and access services in English far later, if they are even aware of them.

From our interviews, it emerged that social and labour-market integration are outcomes of services provided in English but, more often than not, are a product of several services and sometimes in conjunction with Francophone services. A single organization cannot alone produce such an outcome, but rather in combination and in partnership with organizations fostering both types of integration, social and labour market.

For all the participants, both types of integration involve information on Quebec City, jobs, training and Francization opportunities, as well as on socialization activities that can be cross-cultural in nature or linked with the Anglophone community or the ethnic communities.

Lastly, it is worth noting that when one of the spouses is assured of employment, recourse by the other spouse to Anglophone organizations produces very positive outcomes in terms of both social integration of the family and training or employment opportunities for the Anglophone person.

Anglophone organizations like VEQ, the Valcartier Family Centre (occupational/family orientation), the Jeffrey Hale centres (health/social) and churches help develop a feeling of well-being in Quebec City, as well as Anglophone and Francophone networks, support and mutual assistance, which in turn foster belonging and retention. Use of services in English fosters the emergence of a feeling of attachment to the Anglophone community as well as, for some, identification with their ethnic community—and these are not mutually exclusive. This feeling of belonging to the Anglophone community, when hand in hand with good socio-economic integration, extends beyond linguistic borders to reach the Quebec City community as a whole.

In addition to the best practices already identified in the Sherbrooke and Edmonton OLMCs, we are seeing practices specific to Quebec City:

  • The welcome ceremony held by Quebec City to identify local resources, including the Anglophone organizations.
  • A welcome kit for Anglophone immigrants distributed by VEQ and by Quebec City.
  • Use by various Anglophone and Francophone organizations, including Quebec City, of English-language communication tools designed by VEQ.

Other strategies are especially valued, such as:

  • Strategies that seek to educate people about the city’s history and heritage, as well as those of the Anglophone community.
  • Strategies that seek to expand potential clienteles (permanent and temporary immigrants, provincial migrants, mixed couples, international students)
  • Strategies that seek to accelerate the reception process and service delivery.
  • Strategies that focus on complementarity of interventions.
  • Strategies that foster cooperation among several organizations on a particular project.
  • Strategies that seek to develop a pathway for Anglophone immigrants in Quebec City based on available resources.
  • A variety of information strategies for the organizations, including websites that are kept up to date and frequently visited Facebook pages.
  • Services monitoring and assessment strategies through research, surveys, etc.
  • Strategies promoting consultation between Anglophone community organizations and the Municipality of Quebec City.
  • Institutional completeness, i.e. the development of Anglophone organizations in all facets of life (health, social, training, employment, youth, families, elderly, culture).

And so, in Quebec City the Anglophone community has everything to gain by reaching out to and working in solidarity with immigrants. This community has already become more dynamic thanks to the arrival of these newcomers.

We can now validate the community vitality indicators for the OLMC of Quebec City:

  • Development of human capital (population, labour force). Criterion on its way to being met by virtue of the small uptick in the number of Anglophone immigrants.
  • Development of relational and social capital (networks). The immigrants and organizations are participating in this.
  • Development of economic capital (consumption, businesses, real estate). It is difficult to quantify the impact of immigrants on this front.
  • Development of linguistic capital (plurilingualism and structures for learning English and French, bilingual and plurilingual communication tools for Quebec City)
  • Development and reinforcement of structures and institutions (vocational training centre and Anglophone CEGEP benefiting from presence of immigrants and international students).
  • Development of intra- and inter-community partnership structures: extremely important.
  • Development of a community that is open to diversity: this openness was very much on display already in all the organizations met with.
  • Recognizing and lending legitimacy to the minority community for its contribution to regional vitality, particularly in regional and municipal consultation bodies.

Lastly, comparing these practices and strategies with those implemented in another minority Anglophone community (Sherbrooke) and in a minority Francophone community (Edmonton), we identified the contextual dimensions for each locality and community (size of city and of the OLMC, history of the OLMC and of its experiences with diversity, employability potential and economic dynamism) and the dimensions that are transferable to other communities and localities.

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