Quebec's immigration and language policies under the microscope
Despite recent progress Quebec's official language still needs bolstering, especially among new immigrants whose first language is not French, says language policy expert James Archibald. As director of Translation Studies at McGill's Centre for Continuing Education, Archibald has examined recent trends in immigrant integration and francization over the past 15 years.
McGill language policy expert recommends that Quebec do more and do it better
Despite recent progress Quebec's official language still needs bolstering, especially among new immigrants whose first language is not French, says language policy expert James Archibald. As director of Translation Studies at McGill's Centre for Continuing Education, Archibald* has examined recent trends in immigrant integration and francization over the past 15 years.
On February 10, Archibald will make several recommendations on how Quebec can further protect and promote the French language before the Commission de la Culture at Quebec's National Assembly. He will present a brief, Pour une francisation accrue et une meilleure intégration des migrants, which argues for qualitative and quantitative increases in the use of French in the workplace and improvements to the system of immigrant selection and integration.
"Quebec must increase the use of French among new Quebecers who, demographically speaking, are an increasingly diversified group," says Archibald. "The Government of Quebec must develop more effective policies to improve the selection and integration of its new citizens and to safeguard the province's common language."
The following are some of Archibald's recommendations:
- That Quebec should split its Ministry of Citizen Relations and Immigration and create two separate bodies focusing on civic affairs and migration.
- That Quebec should broaden its (im)migration policies to reflect the new realities created by international agreements such as NAFTA or the FTAA.
- That Quebec should devise programs to enhance the repatriation of French-speakers who have left Canada.
- That Quebec should re-engineer the means used to make French the official working language where it is not, especially in industries or businesses with high concentrations of (im)migrant workers; Quebec should enlist the help of private and para-public employers, as well as unions, to get the job done.
- That Québec should respect individuals' mobility rights and provide immigrants with incentives, including job programs, to promote a more even regional distribution of the (im)migrants in outlying regions.
- That landed immigrants should be permitted to vote in local elections in order to give them a vested interest in civic affairs.
- To attract more skilled French-speaking professionals, Quebec should establish specialized programs for immigrants who need to bring their training into line with professional practice in Canada.
- That Quebec should think globally, not locally, and encourage more professional and academic exchanges between Quebecers and citizens from around the world.
- That Quebec continue its active recruitment of (im)migrants from Francophone or Francophile countries to bolster the position of French in the province.
A copy of Archibald's brief is available, upon request, by contacting Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins at 514-398-6752.
* Archibald is also head of the National Examination Centre for the DELF and the DALF certifications in French as a second language.
On Feb. 10 and 11, Prof. Archibald can be reached at 418-647-2411.