Deficit of 75,000 Francophone immigrants outside Quebec

Canada should have admitted at least 75,839 more French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec since 2008, or roughly the equivalent of the population of the city of Saint-Jérôme, to maintain the demographic weight of French in the majority English-speaking provinces, calculates the Commissioner of Official Languages.

In his report tabled Tuesday, Commissioner Raymond Théberge estimates that the federal government is on its way to again failing its objective of increasing, or at least maintaining, the demographic weight of Francophones outside Quebec to 4.4%. This target was first set for 2008, then postponed to 2023.

49,853 Francophone immigrants were admitted outside Quebec between 2008 and 2020, a number well below the 125,692 required to maintain the Francophonie outside Quebec at 4.4% of the population.

“If the target had been reached since 2008, it could have contributed to reducing the decline in the demographic weight of this population between the 2001 and 2016 censuses,” notes the report.

Outside Quebec, the country’s Francophone population, defined by mother tongue and first official language spoken, is in decline. It represented 4.4% of the population in 2001 and 3.8% of the population in 2016.

The new Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, promised last week to ensure that the unconscious prejudices of his officials do not discriminate against French-speaking Africans wishing to come to study in the country. At the same time, he promised to work to reach the target of French-speaking newcomers to Canada, both in Quebec and in the other provinces.

According to data compiled by The duty, the refusal rates of students from Africa continue to climb, while the number of English-speaking foreign students is increasing in Quebec.

“We are causing irreparable harm to the Francophonie,” reads the press release from the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities (FCFA) of Canada, which quickly reacted to the report of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

According to its president, Liane Roy, the Francophone communities outside Quebec “have done everything they could to develop Francophone immigration from A to Z, and they have done so with very little support from the federal government at the level. promotion abroad or recruitment ”.

She notes that for several years, the rate of Francophones among immigrants settling outside Quebec has stagnated at 2%, with an all-time low of 1.5% recorded in 2015.

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