Remarks by the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: National Francophone Immigration Week

Speech

Ottawa, Ontario
November 7, 2018

As Delivered

Thank you for joining us today to mark National Francophone Immigration Week.

Ladies and gentlemen, our government is committed to supporting our country’s official languages. Our target of achieving 4.4% francophone migration to Canada outside of Quebec by 2023 complements the vision that we outlined earlier this year in our new five-year action plan for official languages. When French-speaking people arrive in Canada, we need to provide them with the best and most timely support to settle and connect to communities.

To achieve that, I am happy today to tell you about several new initiatives. I am pleased to announce that our government will invest up to $11 million over five years for pre‑arrival settlement services for French-speaking newcomers. With the coordination of La Cité, four separate regional organizations—the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique, the Société de la francophonie manitobaine, Action interculturelle de développement et d'éducation, and the Fédération acadienne et de la Nouvelle‑Écosse—will collaborate to offer these services.

And I have even more news in this regard. For some time, many of you have told us that we need more independent testing centres for French-speaking immigrants and applicants to our economic immigration programs. I am happy to announce that the Centre international d'études pédagogiques will be the second designated organization to evaluate the French skills of economic immigration applicants.

I must also mention that the average cost of the new French test will be comparable to the average cost of an English test. And I should add that we expect greater access to French testing starting on December 1, 2018, and that it will include cities where designated tests are not even currently available at the moment.

We've also heard very clearly about the need for services in French for newcomers arriving in Canada's largest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, to be provided by a francophone organization with knowledge and ties to francophone communities. “Par et pour la communauté francophone” is the main guiding principle for our government.

Pearson airport is the number one port of entry for French-speaking newcomers who enter Canada outside Quebec. I am therefore thrilled announce that the Centre francophone de Toronto has been chosen to provide reception and other services to French-speaking newcomers who arrive at Pearson airport.

Finally, I would like to mark this week with one last announcement. As announced in Budget 2018, a Francophone Integration Pathway will receive $36.6 million in funding over the next five years to support newcomers and communities for initiatives. On November 19th, IRCC will launch an expression of interest process, seeking proposals from organizations to deliver official language training that is adapted to the needs of French-speaking immigrants and allophone newcomers who've declared French as their official language of preference in francophone communities. This initiative will benefit the integration of these francophone newcomers.

My friends, I am very happy to be able to highlight these initiatives during National Francophone Immigration Week. They demonstrate our government’s commitment to helping French‑speaking newcomers settle, integrate and remain in Canada.

Thank you once again for joining me today.


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