Canada has recently passed a groundbreaking law aimed at upholding the significance of the French language within the country. This legislation prioritizes the immigration of Francophone individuals and minorities residing outside Quebec, marking a significant milestone in Canadian language policy.
This reform is known as Bill C-13 which introduces provisions into the Official Languages Act that describes English and French as the official languages of Canada. With the primary goal of safeguarding the French language, Bill C-13 modernizes the OLA by acknowledging the threats it faces. The law is divided into three distinct sections, each addressing different aspects of language preservation and application.
The first part of the legislation entails amendments to the Official Languages Act, providing a revised framework that aligns with current linguistic realities. By recognizing French as an official language that requires protection, the law aims to combat the challenges it encounters in contemporary Canadian society.
The second part of the law pertains to the use of French in privately owned businesses regulated by the federal government. It ensures that individuals working in such establishments in Quebec or French minority communities outside Quebec have the right to work and receive services in French. This provision seeks to foster a linguistic environment that accommodates the needs of French speakers, thereby promoting inclusivity and accessibility.
Bill C-13 also defines various measures that will be put into effect and all the judges appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada are required to be bilingual. By doing so, it aims to enhance access to justice for individuals who prefer to use the French language.
The federal government of Canada strongly believes that this new reform will enhance the expansion of the French language in the country. This includes essential sectors such as childcare, education, and healthcare.
Recognizing the decline in the demographic weight of Francophone minority communities, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has consistently demonstrated its commitment to Francophone immigration outside Quebec. The 2021 census data states a dip in the overall proportion of Francophones outside Quebec.
IRCC’s Initiative to Promote Francophone Immigration
To address this decline, IRCC launched the Francophone Immigration Strategy in 2019, a comprehensive approach designed to support Francophone immigrants throughout their integration journey in Canada. The strategy encompasses various initiatives, beginning with promotional efforts and attraction missions abroad, followed by the selection and integration processes within Canada.
Under the Francophone Immigration Strategy, additional points are allocated to French-speaking and bilingual candidates applying through the Express Entry system. Furthermore, dedicated streams have been established to facilitate the transition from temporary to permanent residence for essential workers and recent international graduates proficient in French.
To enhance settlement services for French-speaking newcomers outside Quebec, the funding for francophone service providers has been expanded. Presently, close to 80 organizations are equipped to deliver settlement services tailored to the needs of French speakers.
IRCC is also in the process of developing a new policy on Francophone immigration. This policy will feature a revised admission target, reflecting the government’s commitment to increasing Francophone immigration outside Quebec.
By enacting Bill C-13 and implementing various initiatives, Canada seeks to strengthen the presence of the French language and culture across the nation. This reform targets to preserve and promote linguistic diversity in the country.