Since the publication of Ontario’s first immigration strategy in 2012, the government has undertaken a number of actions. A working group was formed to develop measures for achieving the 5% target under the leadership of the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. The working group has identified a number of priority action areas, such as recruitment and retention of qualified Francophone applicants in other countries and those who are already in Ontario. The working group has also initiated other priority actions, such as strengthening the partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and improving access to provincial settlement programs. In that vein, the Ministry changed the eligibility criteria for its language training programs in November 2013 to allow Francophones whose mother tongue is French to take English as a Second Language classes.10
In addition, in February 2014, the Ministry introduced Bill 161,11 which is intended in part to attract more qualified immigrants under the Provincial Nominee Program while redesigning the program to better meet community needs.12 If passed, this bill will enable the government to commit itself to making sure that the Franco-Ontarian community also benefits fully from this program to attract, welcome and integrate new immigrants.
In addition, the Ontario government can take pride in being the only provincial/territorial government to sit on the new CIC–Francophone Minority Communities Committee, whose mandate is to restart the national effort to increase Francophone immigration in minority areas.
10 For more information: http://news.ontario.ca/mci/en/2013/11/ontario-helping-more-francophone-immigrants-succeed.html (page consulted in May 2014).
11 For more information: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2938 (page consulted in May 2014).
12 For more information: http://www.ontarioimmigration.ca/OI/en/pnp/index.htm (page consulted in May 2014).