The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada is appalled by the findings of a new study which shows that failure by the federal government to meet its Francophone immigration target cost French-speaking minority communities 75,839 potential immigrants over the past 15 years.
The target, set in 2003, aimed that French-speaking immigrants would gradually come to make up 4.4 percent of the immigrant population admitted to Canada each year. The study released today by the Commissioner of Official Languages illustrates the impact of years of falling short of this target.
“A shortfall of 75,839 immigrants represents the equivalent of the entire French-speaking community of British Columbia. Irreparable harm is being done to Francophone minority communities,” says FCFA President Liane Roy. “The target may have been set jointly by the government and our communities, but we never agreed to years of stagnation at less than 2 percent a year, with a historic rock bottom at 1.5 percent in 2015. Instead of progress, what we got was a lost decade.”
Year after year, Francophone and Acadian minority communities have insisted on the importance for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to create specific programs tailor-made to the realities of Francophone immigration. Relying on IRCC’s general programs never yielded substantial results.
“For several years now, our communities have pulled out all the stops to build their capacity in terms of receiving immigrants, and they have done so with little support from the federal government for promotion or recruitment. And during all these years, our communities have repeatedly told IRCC that targeted programs et policies were required, but the department still doesn’t seem to recognize this,” explains Ms. Roy.
The FCFA reads the Commissioner of Official Languages’ study as a confirmation of the failure of the government’s efforts to meet Francophone Immigration targets. Therefore, the FCFA demands:
- That the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Hon. Sean Fraser, urgently announce a substantial increase in the levels of Francophone immigration levels outside Quebec for 2022;
- That the Minister commit to consulting with our communities to adopt a new reparation target by 2023;
- That the government commit to implementing a Francophone immigration policy with the explicit goal to restore the demographic weight of Francophone minority communities to 2001 levels and, in the long term, to increase it;
- That the aforementioned policy provide our communities with the means and autonomy to manage promotion, recruitment and selection of French-speaking immigrants, as well as to offer settlement services by and for Francophones across Canada.
The study can be consulted on the website of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.