The Government recognizes that immigration plays an important role in supporting the vitality of Francophone minority communities across the country.
In 2020, French-speaking admissions represented 3.61% of all immigrants admitted to Canada outside Quebec, an increase from previous years.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has undertaken many initiatives to reach the 4.4% target by 2023 including allocating additional points for French-speaking and bilingual candidates under the Express Entry system. This includes, introducing dedicated streams for French- speaking and bilingual candidates as part of the recently launched temporary residence to permanent residence pathway for essential workers and international students already in Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada fully supports the Government’s commitment to strengthening the Official Languages Act and to using immigration to enhance the vitality of Francophone minority communities across the country.
Francophone immigration target by 2023
The Government is working to achieve its 4.4% target for French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec by 2023. Co-established in 2003 with community stakeholders, the Francophone immigration target reflects the proportion of Francophones in the Canadian population outside Quebec as per the 2001 Census.
The evolving COVID-19 situation may impact the Government’s ability to achieve its Francophone target commitment. Analysis of the Francophone target was done pre-COVID-19 and the full magnitude of the impact has yet to be determined.
Support for Francophone organizations
Since April 2020, the Department has:
expanded funding from 50 to almost 79 Francophone service providers to deliver settlement services;
renewed pre-arrival services, including the creation of a single window for the online delivery of pre-arrival settlement services in French;
continued to provide language training services in both English and French, adapted to the needs of French-speaking or bilingual newcomers who settle in official language minority communities and need both French and English for their economic and social integration;
established 14 Welcoming Francophone Communities with an investment of $4.2 million per year over three years; and
invested in building the capacity of Francophone service providers to serve the growing French-speaking newcomers population.
In April 2021, a dedicated National Settlement and Integration Council virtual conference on Francophone immigration in collaboration with key Francophone community stakeholders.
Discussions mainly focused on ways to foster collaboration between the Francophone and non-Francophone organizations to support the Francophone Integration Pathway and the Francophone Immigration Strategy.
Over 100 participants attended, including major immigrant-serving organizations and community partners, ad-hoc participants from over 20 Francophone community organizations, provincial and territorial government representatives and other non-governmental institutions.
The Department is pursuing year-round targeted promotion activities in Canada and abroad to expand the pool of potential qualified French-speaking and bilingual candidates. Of note, most promotional activities have been lighter for fiscal 2020-2021 due to COVID and travel restrictions.
To adjust to a COVID environment, the 16th edition of the Destination Canada Mobility Forum was held virtually February 26-28, 2021. Sixty-three (63) Canadian employers, 21 organizations representing employers in their sector or region, and more than 10 provinces and territories participated, listing more than 2,000 positions to fill.
Promotional activities being held on virtual platforms will enable the Department to engage with broader pools of French-speaking and bilingual talent, including in the Maghreb and West Africa.
Promotional activities in Canada are focusing on engaging with partners, key stakeholders, and employers to showcase the advantages of hiring French-speaking and bilingual workers and to connect them with resources to facilitate hiring. On an ongoing basis, information sessions are being conducted to help Francophone temporary residents in Canada find their pathway to permanent residence.
The annual Tournée de liaison is a series of outreach events to promote Francophone immigration and Destination Canada. In 2020, a series of targeted webinars with community stakeholders were held, followed by a virtual fair dedicated to employers to showcase the advantages of hiring French-speaking and bilingual workers and to connect them with resources to facilitate hiring.
Supporting facts and figures
From 2003 to 2020, more than 65,000 French-speaking immigrants were admitted to Canada in communities outside Quebec.
In 2020, about 4,000 French-speaking permanent resident admissions outside Quebec were selected via the Economic Class, representing approximately 70% of all French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.
In 2020, French-speaking admissions under Express Entry represented 58% of all French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, making Express Entry the most promising tool to increase these admissions. The October 2020 changes to Express Entry’s points for French-speaking and bilingual candidates increase the likelihood of these candidates receiving an invitation to apply to permanent residence. In 2020, 5.2% of invitations to apply through Express Entry were issued to French-speaking and bilingual candidates.
From June 2016 to March 2021, the Department approved 4,543 new work permit applications and 2,352 work permit extension applications through the Mobilité Francophone stream. Of the applications that were processed, the average approval rate is 84%.
On May 6, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched a new pathway to permanent residence comprised of three streams for health care workers, other essential workers (including French and French Immersion teachers), and international students already in Canada who possess the skills and experience to support economic growth and recovery. Together, these three streams will support 90,000 individuals and their families to settle in Canada permanently. In recognition of Canada’s official languages, and to support the vitality of francophone minority communities, three additional streams with no intake caps specifically for French-speaking and bilingual individuals, are also featured in this pathway.
In 2019, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced the Meeting Our Objectives: Francophone Immigration Strategy with a goal of achieving a target of 4.4% of French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec by 2023. The strategy covers the continuum of immigration, from attraction to selection and retention of French-speaking newcomers outside Quebec.
In collaboration with provinces and territories, the Department is advancing the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (FPT) Action Plan to increase Francophone Immigration outside Quebec, which was endorsed by FPT Immigration and Francophone Affairs Ministers in March 2018. This Action Plan enables FPT governments, in collaboration with stakeholders, to improve the promotion, selection, settlement, integration and retention of French speaking immigrants in official language minority communities.
To strengthen cooperation to support Francophone immigration, IRCC negotiated with New Brunswick (2017) and Ontario (2018) to include annexes on French-speaking immigration to their respective immigration agreements. Bi-lateral discussions with the Department in the context of the annexes began in September 2019.
Additional points to candidates with strong French-speaking skills under Express Entry were initially introduced in June 2017 and have been successful at increasing French-speaking admissions outside of Quebec. This is why the number of additional points awarded through Express Entry were further increased in October 2020. In 2020, French-speaking admissions under Express Entry represented the majority of French-speaking admissions outside Quebec overall, making Express Entry the most promising tool to increase French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.
Collaboration with provinces and territories is critical. Seven provinces and territories (i.e., New-Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories) have a range of targeted measures in place to increase the number of French-speaking newcomers settling in their jurisdictions.
In the 2018 Budget, the Government of Canada provided $39.9M in new funding for IRCC over five years, starting in 2018-19 and $10.0M ongoing in order to support the consolidation of the Francophone Integration Pathway as well as horizontal policy development. The Francophone Integration Pathway aims to strengthen the resettlement and settlement services offered ‘‘by and for francophone’’ organizations to French-speaking newcomers, and ensure that they are aware of these services throughout their settlement and integration process.