Quebec’s immigration department is launching a new organization, Francisation Québec, starting Thursday June 1 to offer courses in French to not only immigrants and those planning to move to the francophone province but also to all Canadians over the age of 16 who live there.

The teaching of the French language will be conducted in classrooms and by distance education and even in workplaces. Francisation Québec will even provide financial assistance to people, non-profits and businesses to take the courses.

“I am particularly proud to announce the launch Francisation Québec because this is an important aspect in integrating and teaching French to immigrants,” said provincial Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette.

“In 2017, the auditor general described francisation in Quebec as a ‘fiasco’. Since the 2018 election, our government has made this a priority. Our approach is practical and based on partnerships to ensure everyone contributes to the development of a francophone Quebec.”

Francisation Québec will be located within the offices of the Quebec immigration department, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).

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The new francisation organization in Quebec try different ways of offering its services in workplaces from June 1 to November 1.

During that period, Francisation Québec will introduce and promote the use of French within small businesses through short courses of 60 to 80 hours in length to teach workers how to use French in their everyday tasks and workplace environment.

The organization will also offer longer courses of 300 hours or more to provide more in-depth learning and progressive mastery of the French language.

“Our priority is to be the government that will have slowed down, stopped and reversed the decline of the use of the French language in Quebec,” said French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge. 

Immigrants, Anglo Quebeckers To Learn French In The Coming Years, Says Minister

“We must undertake francisation, particularly of newcomers and anglophone Quebeckers,” he said. “We have a responsibility to foster the learning of the French language for all those who want to do so.”

Quebec Premier François Legault has made it clear his government is deeply-committed to ensuring the survival of the French language in the province. In May, he went so far as to put forth proposals to limit all economic immigration to the province to French-speaking immigrants by 2026.

“As premier of Quebec, my first responsibility is to defend our language and our identity,” said Legault. “During the past few years, the French language has been in decline in Quebec. Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more so than any previous government since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Levesque government.

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“But, if we want to turn the tide, we must do more. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely francophone economic immigration. We have the duty, as Québécois, to speak French, to daily pass on our culture and to be proud of it.”

Under the proposed changes to Quebec’s immigration system, all adult applicants for economic immigration would have to demonstrate they can speak French.

Business Groups In Quebec Want Much Higher Immigration Levels

Quebec is also launching a public consultation process to determine future immigration levels for 2024 through to 2027. Through that process, the province will seek feedback from Quebeckers and organizations as to whether Quebec should restrict annual immigration to 50,000 new permanent residents or gradually increase that immigration target to 60,000 new permanent residents.

While business groups have vociferously lobbied the province to increase immigration to as many as 90,000 new permanent residents annually to help ease Quebec’s serious labour shortages, the Legault government has repeatedly insisted it must hold the line on immigration to safeguard the French language and the Quebecois cultural identity.

The latest Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data reveals Quebec welcomed 68,715 new permanent residents in 2022 and another 16,045 new permanent residents in the first three months of this year.

That level of immigration, if it held steady for the rest of this year, would see Quebec welcome 64,180 new permanent residents by the end of this year.

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