After the federal government announced new Canada immigration levels plan 2023-2025 to welcome 1.45 million new immigrants, the premier of Quebec claimed that the province cannot accept high number of immigrants.
Despite Canada’s ambitions to drastically increase the immigration levels, Quebec Premier François Legault insists that the province cannot accept more than 50,000 immigrants annually.
According to the federal Immigration Department, 405,000 permanent residents were admitted in the country last year. Legault stated there was a problem at 400,000, and it’s worse at 500,000. He explained that it is already difficult to stop the decline of French at 50,000.
Legault says that the federal government needs to comprehend that Quebec is facing a unique challenge to maintain the French language speaking community.
Quebec immigration minister’s views
Christine Fréchette, the minister of immigration for Quebec, stated that the 50,000 number was firm later on Wednesday. Further, she also says that this number will not change no matter how many immigrants arrive in other parts of Canada.
Fréchette also reinforced the province’s position on requesting more authority from Ottawa over immigration in a conversation with federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser last week. She said the conversation would continue.
To ensure the long-term viability of French, Fréchette says, the province will utilize every tool at its disposal to achieve the highest percentage of francophone immigrants. She also added that allowing more immigrants will worsen the housing problem and that the province’s immigration goal is based on its capacity to teach newcomers French.
When asked if Quebec may lose influence if its demographic weight decreases, Fréchette responded that the province relies on Trudeau’s promise to keep Quebec’s political clout inside Canada.
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Immigration Agreement between Quebec and federal government
According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, effective immigration can help Quebec deal with its labour shortages, and Ottawa will support the province’s efforts to boost its economy.
Trudeau told reporters Quebec has long had the freedom to raise its immigration thresholds. However, his discussions with business owners in Montreal or the surrounding areas reveal how crucial it is to address the labour crisis.
The immigration agreement between Quebec and Ottawa allows the province to accept a percentage of newcomers equivalent to its demographic weight in the nation (23%), or around 115,000 persons, if Canada accepts 500,000 immigrants annually.
The highest annual influx of immigrants that the province can successfully integrate is 50,000, according to Legault, who also noted that even the most ambitious plan put up by a political party during the most recent provincial election had an upper limit of 80,000 newcomers.
Quebec business response
A significant Quebec business organization urged Legault to rethink his immigration goals this Tuesday. In addition, the Conseil du patronat du Québec requested that Ottawa reduce the time it takes to process immigration applications and meet a federal goal of having 4.4% of immigrants to Canada who are francophone.
Denis Hamel, vice-president of the Conseil du patronat, says that While all the other provinces will profit from (an increase in immigration), Quebec must give more consideration to the option to meet the labour shortage and limit the decrease in its demographic weight in Canada.
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