Annual Report 2017-2018

Looking ahead, getting ready

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4. Strategies to refine

Destination Ontario

Ontario has worked hard over the last few years on promoting itself and its appeal. Under the federal model, the former Ministry launched the Destination Ontario pilot project to promote the province to potential French- speaking future Canadians in Morocco. In February 2018, an Ontarian delegation went to Morocco to hold information sessions and conduct networking activities.

For future activities, the initiative should be renamed Destination Ontario français to put the emphasis on the French-language aspect. One model to follow could be Destination Acadie in the Atlantic.41 In 2018, the Société économique de l’Ontario was invited to be part of the Ontario delegation to provide further insight and supports prospective Francophone immigrants with respect to the Ontario42 labour market. In the future, it would be relevant to broaden this participation in order to include organizations from other areas and promote life in French in its entirety. Sending Destination Ontario into the Maghreb is certainly a good start, but it is not enough to reach the 5% goal.43

Seizing opportunities

It is worth taking a step back in order to see global opportunities. Ontario is indeed a unique province in Canada and North America: it is the host to both Canada’s capital and an international metropolis, all while being situated in the middle of the country and enjoying economic dynamism because of its proximity to the Great Lakes region.

The province offers a truly multicultural context, since a third of the province’s population is the result of immigration, a proportion that is continuing to grow over time. Ontario also offers a wide variety of host communities44 that can answer the unique needs and expectations of newcomers. These are assets that the province can put forward when organizing promotional activities abroad.

Ontario could be more innovative in its recruiting and promoting efforts by, for example, exploring the potential that Sub-Saharan Africa represents. In fact, 37.5% of new Francophone immigrants to Ontario come from that region.45 The table is set to maximize opportunities related to that promising pool of immigrants, in particular by organizing targeted campaigns. Canada (through Destination Canada), Quebec, New Brunswick and most provinces are primarily targeting the French, Belgian, Swiss and North African markets. But many studies show that the future of the global Francophonie also lies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ontario must expand its role as a leader of the Francophonie outside Quebec and recruit in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Furthermore, according to a survey conducted with international students who attended one of the higher education institutions that are members of the Canadian Bureau for International Education,46 applicants from this region were more likely to stay in the country (and thus in Ontario) compared with others who would be more likely to return to their home country.

Indeed, French is one of the most taught languages around the world, and not only in countries where French is an official language or the main language of education. The networks of French or Francophone institutions (Alliance française, Mission laïque, etc.), especially in places such as Latin America, would be good avenues to explore.

Establishing the université de l’Ontario français

The existence of a high-caliber French-language university in Toronto would be a determining factor in reaching this goal [5% target] in the future, through the recruitment of highly qualified faculty members from the Francophonie (Canadian and international), and through the recruitment of some of the most promising international students.47

– Dyane Adam

This perspective must allow Ontario to diversify its offer of international caliber postsecondary education and attract new Francophone international students. Between 2016 and 2028, the number of study-permit holders coming from Francophone countries will be on the rise. It is estimated that between 15,318 and 16,850 permit holders will be studying in French in Ontario. According to the Adam report, a new French-language university in Toronto would host between 1,000 and 1,200 of these students.

These initiatives must also be accompanied by a stronger and more frequent presence at job fairs or other big events related to studies and higher education. In promoting to future students, it is important to push the idea of studying in French even while living in a mostly English-speaking environment conducive to learning that language.

French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream

An important measure in promoting the recruitment of bilingual Francophone professionals is the Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.48 This component seems to have had a very positive effect on the nomination of French-speaking candidates coming from the federal Express Entry system. The data seem to indicate a significant improvement on the recruitment and attraction of new Francophone immigrants through those programs.49

Table 5: Nomination of French-Speaking Candidates within Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program Framework
Francophone immigration 2017 # of nominations
Candidates nominated in the Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Workers Stream 259
Candidates nominated in all other streams of the program that indicated French as their first language 7
Candidates nominated in all other streams of the program that indicated French as their preferred language of communication (excluding duplicates from above) 5
Total number of Francophone candidates nominated 271
Total number of candidates nominated in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program 6,508
Proportion of Francophone nominated candidates 4.2%

Source: former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration of Ontario

The Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream requires that candidates demonstrate a good command of English. This tends to exclude skilled Francophones who are not bilingual enough from this particular stream. However, English-language candidates to other streams of the program are not required to speak French, which creates an imbalance in the requirements. The program has had a certain popularity in 2017, and it is possible that the number of Francophone candidates would grow with the removal of the dual language requirement under the Ontario Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream. It would be advisable to guide them towards linguistic training programs as soon as possible, according to their needs.

Quebec’s Programme des travailleurs qualifiés50 considers having one or more children part of the selection criteria and has included this factor in the scoresheet. This is an interesting initiative that could encourage the recruitment of entire families and which might be an interesting path for Ontario to take as well.

  1. For more details, see (accessed in March 2018).
  2. For more details : (accessed in March 2018).
  3. For more details, see (accessed in March 2018).
  4. Belkhodja, C. and Traisnel,C., Immigration and Official Language Minority Communities – Survey of Research of the Past Five Years from the Perspectives of the Communities, Government Institutions and Researchers, Symposium de la recherche sur les langues officielles, Ottawa, 2011.
  5. For more details on the countries of origin of Francophone immigrants, see the Appendices.
  6. For more details, see….pdf (accessed in April 2018).
  7. Report of the French-Language University Planning Board, From Local Innovation to Global Excellence: Proposal for a French-Language University in Ontario, p. 45.
  8. For more details, see (accessed in March 2018).
  9. Due to the very recent nature of the data, it is not possible to know how many of these selected candidates have arrived. Moreover, since the IRCC does not calculate Francophones in the same way that the former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration used to it, it is impossible to make comparisons over time or with the federal components.
  10. For more details, see (accessed in April 2018).

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