The Quebec provincial government is planning on boosting their budget by $70.3 million to aid immigrants to learn French, and in turn, integrate into the province’s culture.
According to Global News, Simon Jolin-Barrette, the Immigration, Inclusion and Diversity Minister of the nation’s 2nd largest province, revealed the new plan in Montreal on Friday that will aid newcomers to have easier access to French language courses. He says the plan will help them join the workplace and Quebec society.
“Knowledge of the French language is an essential factor for the successful integration of immigrants,” said Jolin-Barrette.
The move coincides with an internal report by officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, who say that not learning an official language continues to be the largest barrier for newcomers into Canada.
Prior measures made it so only those who had been in Quebec for less than five years were able to take the classes. Jolin-Barrette says that plan was insufficient.
The new plan highlights full-time courses for more immigrants. According to the release, all immigrants are now eligible to take the courses, no matter how long they’ve lived in Quebec.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government will also be granting more financial assistance to immigrants who are registered in full-time French classes. Starting July 1, French-language learners doing full-time classes will earn $181 a week. That’s a $44 boost over the current amount of $141.
The CAQ has been in the middle of immigration reform regarding newcomers for some time now. In June, the CAQ passed a controversial immigration bill which gave the province more power over who was eligible for permanent residency.
Bill 9 would also allow the CAQ to cancel over 18,000 immigration applications. This has caused many applicants who have been in legal limbo to essentially restart their processes.