Quebec will soon outline new measures to curtail an increasing number of temporary foreign workers, François Legault, the province’s premier, told reporters. He will also require them to learn French so they do not contribute to the anglicization of Quebec.
Although the rest of Canada has seen high levels of immigration, Legault remains committed to keeping those levels low in Quebec, reportedly telling journalists, “I want to be very clear: It is out of the question for Quebec to experience such an increase in immigration in the coming years. It is this way and must stay this way: Quebec alone must decide on the number of permanent immigrants it receives each year.”
In an effort to curb the rise in the use of English in the province, Quebec’s government also aims to soon outline new standards to require temporary foreign workers to learn French, according to the Montreal Gazette. In a speech to open the 43rd session of the provincial legislature, Legault announced that all economic immigrants to the province would be required to speak French by 2026.
Legault has long been vocal about his belief that immigration of non-French speakers dilutes the French language and Quebecois cultural identity in the francophone province. According to cbc.ca, his government in 2019 aimed to cut overall immigration by 20%, although Legault himself said he would welcome immigrants from France and other countries in Europe. “When we look at the immigration situation in Quebec, the problem I see … is that there are too many who are not qualified and too many who do not speak French,” he stated.
And during the 2022 provincial election campaign, Legault stated that increasing immigration would be “suicidal” to the French language.
According to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Quebec accepted 68,715 new permanent residents in 2022; additionally, the International Mobility Program brought 51,885 workers to the province, and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program brought in 38,460. However, Legault stated that Quebec must not accept significantly more than 50,000 new permanent residents annually.