Yesterday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced the introduction of a new International Mobility Program stream. I’m really delighted with this initiative, which is designed to attract Francophone skilled workers to Canada and encourage them to settle outside Quebec. I would also like to congratulate the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) for its many lobbying efforts to obtain what can be regarded as the return of the Francophone Significant Benefit program, discontinued by the government in 2014.
Scheduled to launch on June 1, the new stream is excellent news for all of Canada’s Francophone communities and particularly for Ontario, which already has the largest Francophone population outside Quebec. In summary, employers will not have to conduct a labour market impact assessment for certain types of jobs, which will speed up the hiring process. I firmly believe that this will not only help bring in highly skilled French-speaking and bilingual workers but also assist the provincial government in attaining the 5% target that it set for Francophone immigration in 2012.
In the joint report entitled Time to Act for the Future of Francophone Communities: Redressing the Immigration Imbalance that my federal colleague Graham Fraser and I published in November 2014, we made the following recommendation to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration: “Develop long-term tools and incentives for Canadian employers to assist in the recruitment and selection of French-speaking and bilingual workers outside Quebec, thus allowing Francophone communities to address past shortfalls and catch up in terms of their levels of immigration.” In my view, the new International Mobility Program stream is a promising way of achieving this goal.