Loading articles...

Quebec's plan to reduce immigration levels won't help newcomers: study

Coalition Avenir Quebec MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette responds to reporters questions on the government transition, on October 9, 2018 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

MONTREAL — A Quebec think tank says the province’s plan to cut immigration levels is misguided and will not accomplish its intended goal of better integrating newcomers.

The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-economiques published a study today concluding from publicly available data that immigrants are faring better in Quebec than the government claims.

Researcher Julia Posca says the employment rate among immigrants has risen steadily over the past decade, and almost 60 per cent of immigrants who arrive in Quebec are fluent in French.

While Posca says the employment rate for immigrants still lags behind that of the general population, part of that is attributable to how the province recognizes newcomers’ work and education experience.

The institute says it is in favour of maintaining 50,000 as the number of immigrants accepted annually by the province, citing the province’s aging population as one factor. The government plans to reduce immigration to about 40,000 this year.

Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled Bill 9 in February, which lays down a legal framework that would overhaul the system for selecting newcomers to the province and allow it to be more selective.

Jolin-Barrette said at the time the new approach would better match applicants to the needs of the labour market and ensure immigrants speak French and respect Quebec values.

A spokesman for Jolin-Barrette says the government is acting on a clear mandate given to it on Oct. 1 when the Coalition Avenir Quebec was elected after campaigning on the issue.

The Canadian Press