The Speaker of the Senate

Ottawa

Mr. Speaker,

Pursuant to section 66 of the Official Languages Act, I hereby submit to Parliament, through your good offices, the annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages covering the period from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.

Yours respectfully,

Graham Fraser

The Speaker of the House of Commons

Ottawa

Mr. Speaker,

Pursuant to section 66 of the Official Languages Act, I hereby submit to Parliament, through your good offices, the annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages covering the period from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.

Yours respectfully,

Graham Fraser


Preface by Graham Fraser

Graham Fraser. Commissioner of Official Languages

In 1942, Bruce Hutchison wrote, “Canada is not English—that is the first thing to understand.Footnote 1 At the time, he meant that there was a cohesive, traditional, Catholic, French-speaking society at the heart of the country. And seven decades ago, it was significant that a journalist and author based in British Columbia should recognize the essential duality of the country.

Immigration at that time, and for another three decades, was overwhelmingly European. The postwar years saw a new wave of immigration from Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the Netherlands and, in 1957, from Hungary. It was not until 1967 and the changes to the Immigration Act that Canada began to receive a significant number of immigrants from Asia and Africa.

Four decades after the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended a policy of multiculturalism, Canada is one of the few countries in the developed world where one can find not only consistently high levels of immigration, but also a very positive public attitude in this regard. With the introduction of policies supporting Francophone immigration outside Quebec, the government has recognized that these high levels of immigration represent a challenge for official language communities.

Last year, the focus of my annual report was on compliance. This year, immigration, which has been a subject of interest for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for years, is the principal theme of my annual report, which also includes a summary of our investigations of complaints and the results of our audits. Because of the election timetable, this year’s report is shorter than last year’s and is being tabled only seven months later. Next year, there will be an evaluation of some of the successes and failures in compliance over the past decade.

Canadians often wonder whether Canada’s language policies and multiculturalism policies are contradictory and whether changing demography and changing immigration patterns will mean the end of linguistic duality in Canada. I think the two policies are profoundly connected and mutually reinforcing. They both emerge from the same Royal Commission. Coming to terms with our duality has helped us learn how to welcome others and to conceive of ourselves as a diverse society.

For a French-speaking community whose identity has historically been based on the traditional cornerstones of parish and church, making the transition from a French-Canadian community to a diverse Francophone host community is a challenge, to say the least. These communities are experiencing a significant degree of upheaval. They need to prepare, both before the newcomers arrive and even more so when they are settling in. There have been successful experiences, such as that in Winnipeg, where French-speaking immigrants and refugees are met at the airport and accompanied by members of a community organization, Accueil francophone, during their transition to Canadian life. There have been others that have been less successful, resulting in lost opportunities for French-speaking newcomers and for official language communities.

The enhanced vitality of Canada’s official language communities as a result of the arrival of French-speaking immigrants is great news for the Francophonie. The issues of immigration, diversity, integration and accommodation are important both in Canada as a whole and in Quebec specifically, but they are sometimes seen as threats to what some see as the essence of community or national identity.

How can we enhance the sense of belonging to a community? How can we help communities that already have solid cultural identity reference points adapt to significant demographic change? How can we help immigrants find their place among us? How can we enable the sense of “us” to expand and grow so that we continue to be a welcoming society?

I think cultural diversity and linguistic duality are two key Canadian values—values that complement each other. Canada’s cultural diversity is a direct result of the steady growth of its diverse population over the past few decades. Canada’s openness and spirit of accommodation, which are the result of the development of its two major language groups, have helped to encourage immigration and diversity in the Canadian population. The fact that there are two official languages in Canada helps convey these values.

It is important, however, not to confuse this somewhat idealistic view of our country with the reality facing immigrants. In a workshop on Canadian values during a 2011 forum in Halifax, I heard an account given by a man originally from Colombia. The other participants were all referring to what they saw as typically Canadian values, good values—tolerance, inclusiveness, cooperation. But when the man from Colombia spoke, he said that this was not at all what he had found when he arrived in Canada. What he noticed was competition, individualism, materialism. Only when he left the big city for a small community did he discover that those positive values, such as solidarity and inclusiveness, really did exist in Canada.

It was a reminder of the danger of being smug about how Canadian life is experienced by newcomers— and the importance of a candid presentation of the realities of Canadian life to potential immigrants before they arrive.

The importance of immigration for the English-speaking communities in Quebec should not be overlooked. During the past year, I was pleased to attend a conference, organized and hosted by Mayor Régis Labeaume, on the challenges for English-speaking newcomers to Québec City. The phenomenon of English-speaking immigration to Quebec is often neglected, and yet it is a critical element in the revitalization of English-speaking communities in that province.

One of the regular features of my annual reports has been a reminder of the complaints by the travelling public, often directed at Air Canada. This year, we followed up on an audit of Air Canada’s service to the public, and I was taken aback to find that only one of my twelve recommendations had been put into effect. While no one expects perfection, it is distressing to see that management has not taken the measures necessary to correct the situation.

The next year will be important in a number of ways, not least because there will be a federal election. Elections are important events in any democracy, but they are also a demonstration of national values. Canadians have the right to vote in English or in French, and expect to hear from their political leaders both in English and in French. After the last federal election, I was interviewed by a foreign correspondent who was astonished and impressed by the fact that he had heard the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition speaking French as well as English at campaign events in Vancouver and Toronto. It was a significant display of respect for Canada’s linguistic duality.

Like most of the successes of Canadian language policy, this is something that Canadians take for granted. Although it is the failures that often attract considerable public attention, it is the successes that should guide and inspire us.

Award of Excellence – Promotion of Linguistic Duality

Photograph of Mariette Mulaire

Courtesy of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg

Since 2009, the Commissioner of Official Languages’ Award of Excellence – Promotion of Linguistic Duality has been given to an individual or organization that is not subject to the Official Languages Act but that has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of linguistic duality in Canada or abroad, or to the development of Canada’s official language minority communities. This year’s recipient of the Award of Excellence is Mariette Mulaire.

Mariette Mulaire is a visionary who has leveraged her many talents, including her leadership ability, to bring official language communities in Canada and abroad closer together. For six years, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Manitoba’s Bilingual Trade Agency, whose mission is to foster trade and investment with both domestic and foreign Francophone markets for the benefit of Manitoba businesses.

Ms. Mulaire established a number of economic development and Francophone immigration initiatives for Manitoba, including the creation and organization of Centrallia, the first-ever international business-to-business forum in Western Canada.

She also played a key role in the creation of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, of which she has been the President and Chief Executive Officer since 2013. This organization works to strengthen Manitoba’s economic vitality and cultural diversity, and to consolidate the role of the Francophonie in Canada and abroad. It also helps French-speaking immigrants integrate into Manitoba society by providing a free program to help them with the administrative process.

Ms. Mulaire successfully convinced her Englishspeaking colleagues that bilingualism could broaden the World Trade Centre Winnipeg’s horizons and expand its network of contacts. The organization is completely bilingual—the language of work is French, and all employees are bilingual—which makes it an exemplary success among the World Trade Centres across the globe.

Ms. Mulaire’s experience in economic development includes 10 years at the helm of the Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities. She also worked for the Department of Western Economic Diversification and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Ms. Mulaire is a volunteer member of several Manitoba organizations. As Co-Chair of the 2017 Canada Games Host Society in Winnipeg, she has expressed her determination to make this sporting event as successful in terms of official languages as the 2013 Canada Games, in Sherbrooke, Québec.

The Commissioner of Official Languages congratulates Mariette Mulaire on her inspiring efforts to showcase the contributions of Frenchspeaking communities in Manitoba, throughout Canada and around the world.

Introduction

The Commissioner of Official Languages’ 2014–2015 annual report comprises two chapters.

The first chapter examines immigration and official language communities.Footnote 2 This very topical issue, which was the subject of a major Senate report in December 2014,Footnote 3 warrants closer examination. The vitality of English- and French-speaking communities,Footnote 4 like that of Canada’s two linguistic majorities, is becoming increasingly dependent on the contribution of newcomers. However, official language communities will need the federal government’s support to take full advantage of the positive impact that immigration can have on them.

The second chapter of the report reviews federal institutions’Footnote 5 compliance with the Official Languages Act. It presents an overview of the complaints the Commissioner received in 2014–2015, summarizes the audits he began or completed during the year, and explains decisions handed down by the courts in two major cases.

Chapter 1 - Immigration and official languages

Canada has always been a welcoming country. Immigration has populated the country, fostered its economic growth, strengthened its international competitiveness and enriched its two linguistic majorities by opening them up to the world. The number of immigrants admitted to Canada has varied over the years, with the variations generally following world events. Prior to the 1960s, most immigrants came from Europe and the United States. Since the 1980s, these numbers have been diminishing, and more immigrants have been arriving from other regions, such as Africa and Asia.Footnote 6 Every year for the past few decades, Canada has welcomed 200,000 or more new immigrants or permanent residents.Footnote 7

As of 2011, there were close to 6.8 million foreign-born Canadians, which represents 20.6% of the total population, the highest proportion among the G8 countries.Footnote 8 Canada’s immigration and integration experience is seen internationally as a success and a model by many countries, such as Germany.Footnote 9

The language profile of immigrants in Canada’s English- and French-speaking communities, as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2, indicates that it would be desirable to increase the positive impact of immigration on the vitality of official language communities, just as it would be to improve the benefits that immigrants could gain from participating in the life of these communities.Footnote 10 These issues, which are critical for the future of linguistic duality, are discussed in this chapter.

Figure 1 – First official language spoken,Footnote * by immigrant status,Footnote ** (non-immigrants and immigrants), in Canada, in Quebec, and in Canada less Quebec, 2011 National Household Survey
Bar chart representing first official language spoken by immigrant status. Description follows.
Description – Figure 1 – First official language spoken, by immigrant status, (non-immigrants and immigrants), in Canada, in Quebec, and in Canada less Quebec, 2011 National Household Survey
Area Percentage of non-immigrants (Canadian-born), by first official language spoken (FOLS) Percentage of immigrants (foreign-born with landed immigrant or permanent resident status), by first official language spoken (FOLS)
Canada – Total FOLS (Number = 32,852,320) 78% 21%
Canada – English FOLS (Number = 24,719,000) 76% 23%
Canada – French FOLS (Number = 7,593,070) 90% 9%
Quebec – Total FOLS (Number = 7,732,520) 87% 13%
Quebec – English FOLS (Number = 1,046,493) 64% 34%
Quebec – French FOLS (Number = 6,618,173) 91% 9%
Canada less Quebec – Total FOLS (Number = 25,119,800) 76% 23%
Canada less Quebec – English FOLS (Number = 23,672,508) 77% 22%
Canada less Quebec – French FOLS (Number = 974,898) 88% 12%

Table notes

Table note *

Percentages for first official language spoken include the equal redistribution of the “English and French” category. The “Neither English nor French” category is included in the total numbers for first official language spoken.

Return to table note * referrer

Table note **

The “non-permanent resident” status is not included in the figure.

Return to first table note ** referrer

Source:

Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-x2011043.

 

Figure 2 – Immigrant statusFootnote ** (non-immigrants and immigrants), by first official language spoken,Footnote *** in Canada, in Quebec and in Canada less Quebec, 2011 National Household Survey
Bar chart representing immigrant status by first official language spoken. Description follows.
Description – Figure 2 – Immigrant status (non-immigrants and immigrants), by first official language spoken, in Canada, in Quebec and in Canada less Quebec, 2011 National Household Survey
Area English as first official language spoken French as first official language spoken Neither English nor French as first official language spoken
Canada – Total (Number = 32,852,320) 75% 23% 2%
Canada – Non-immigrants (Number = 25,720,175) 73% 27% 0
Canada – Immigrants (Number = 6,775,765) 83% 10% 6%
Quebec – Total (Number = 7,732,520) 14% 86% 1%
Quebec – Non-immigrants (Number = 6,690,535) 10% 90% 0
Quebec – Immigrants (Number = 974,890) 36% 60% 4%
Canada less Quebec – Total (Number = 25,119,800) 94% 4% 2%
Canada less Quebec – Non-immigrants (Number = 19,029,640) 95% 5% 0
Canada less Quebec – Immigrants (Number = 5,800,875) 91% 2% 7%

Table notes

Table note ***

Percentages for first official language spoken include the equal redistribution of the “English and French” category.

Return to table note *** referrer

Source:

Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-x2011043.

 

Francophone immigration outside Quebec

Importance of immigration for French-speaking communities

Although the vitality of Canada’s French-speaking communities varies significantly from region to region, these communities have made major strides over the past few decades. However, if French-speaking communities were able to attract more French-speaking immigrants,Footnote 11 they would be more likely to grow, thus fostering the personal and professional development of their members and enhancing their contribution to the advancement of Canadian society.

A recent joint report by the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the Ontario French Language Services Commissioner stressed the importance of immigration for the demographic vitality of French-speaking communities. According to Statistics Canada, these communities have received little benefit from immigration, given the strong propensity of immigrants to integrate into the English-speaking majority community.

Statistics Canada’s Statistical Portrait of the French-speaking Immigrant Population Outside Quebec (1991 to 2006) contains the most recent census data on demographics as well as on geographical distribution and socio-economic characteristics.Footnote 12 According to the study, in 2006, 70% of French-speaking immigrants lived in Ontario. Furthermore, two thirds of French-speaking immigrants lived in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. Compared with other immigrants, a large proportion of French-speaking immigrants came from Africa. French-speaking immigrants were a relatively young population compared to non-French-speaking immigrants, with a large proportion of the 0- to 19-year-old age group. French-speaking immigrants also had higher education levels than Canadian-born Francophones and non-French-speaking immigrants. However, the study also found that French-speaking immigrants were more likely to be unemployed than non-French-speaking immigrants. Major factors in employment included the period of arrival in Canada and the continent of birth. African immigrants appeared to be at a particular disadvantage.Footnote 13

Although challenges exist, there are ways to narrow the demographic gap between English- and French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec and to address their linguistic, cultural and social integration in order to ensure that immigration becomes the same powerful development tool for French-speaking communities that it is for Canada’s two majority language communities. As will be seen later on in this section, this will happen only if the federal government ensures strong leadership on this issue.

Francophone immigration outside Quebec: one example of a win-win relationship

One Franco-Ontarian health care worker out of five is foreign-born, even though immigrants constitute 13.7% of Ontario’s French-speaking population, according to 2006 Census data.Footnote 14 French-speaking immigrants play a major role in delivering health care in French in the Franco-Ontarian community. In return, this official language minority community helps many French-speaking immigrants build a future in Canada that matches their potential in both their professional and personal lives.

Immigration and French-speaking communities: Overview of the situation

In 2003, the federal government established a minimum target of 4.4% for French-speaking immigrants who arrive in Canada and settle outside Quebec, so that French-speaking communities could maintain their relative demographic weight. At the time, it was expected that this target would be reached by 2008, but it was pushed back to 2023.Footnote 15

There are a number of reasons why French-speaking communities are having difficulty attracting and retaining immigrants. Lacking the proper information, too many French-speaking immigrants are unaware before they arrive that there are French-speaking communities all across Canada into which they can easily integrate. As a result, the idea of settling in those communities is not even on their radar.

Furthermore, English-speaking and bilingual organizations that have been established in the provinces and territories to provide support to immigrants do not always inform newcomers of the option of settling in a local French-speaking community and receiving certain key services in French instead of English. For example, these organizations sometimes tend to refer French-speaking immigrants to English-language schools, even when there are French schools in the community. Or, for lack of knowledge, they do not disabuse many French-speaking newcomers who “think they must register their children in an [A]nglophone education system in order to learn English” and, as a result, “settle in [A]nglophone regions or neighbourhoods.Footnote 16 However, when support is offered by French-speaking organizations, French-speaking newcomers tend to forge strong ties with their new communities.

Government and socio-economic decision makers are not always fully aware of the advantages of having French-speaking communities in their province, territory or municipality, or of new French-speaking immigrants arriving in their region. Consequently, they are not doing everything they can to recruit more French-speaking immigrants. However, all Canadians benefit from vibrant French-speaking communities. According to a study commissioned by the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité Canada, “knowledge of French plays a key role in the . . . vitality and productivity” of the country’s economy and “bilingual citizens generate added value in terms of business performance.Footnote 17

Federal government measures to promote Francophone immigration

Francophone immigration is not a new phenomenon. However, it was not until the 1990s that communities undertook their first major study on the subject: The future of Francophone and Acadian communities in a pluralistic society: Facing pluralism. In 1999, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada continued this analytical process by embarking on a cross- Canada “Dialogue” tour. Following that initiative, a working group recommended that the Fédération and its members establish a national committee responsible for developing an immigration action plan.

In 2002, Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented the recommendation, creating the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-Francophone Minority Communities Committee. The committee would identify strategies for increasing the number of French-speaking immigrants and work to facilitate their reception and integration.

In 2003, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada- Francophone Minority Communities Committee published the Strategic Framework to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities. In its first five-year action plan on official languages, the federal government also signaled its intent to earmark $9 million for projects to promote immigration to French-speaking communities.

The year 2003 also saw the launch of Destination Canada, an event aimed at promoting Canada and its French-speaking communities to prospective immigrants from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Provinces, territories and community associations are involved in organizing the event, described in 2010 by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages as a best practice.

In 2008, in its Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008–2013: Acting for the Future, the Government of Canada announced its intention to continue encouraging immigration to French-speaking communities. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency received $10 million over five years to attract more French-speaking immigrants to New Brunswick.

However, concerns over immigration began to emerge in the early 2010s. The government subsequently adopted the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, which gave Citizenship and Immigration Canada nearly $30 million to spend in support of immigration to French-speaking communities. But, at the same time, Citizenship and Immigration Canada closed some of its regional offices and cut funding to French-speaking communities for travel to Europe and Africa to participate in Destination Canada. Furthermore, the federal government has adopted a brand-new immigration policy focused on economic development.

Recent changes to the federal government’s immigration policy

The main goal of the federal government’s new immigration policy is to make it easier to recruit immigrants with job skills that are in demand in Canada. It is based in large part on the creation of the Express Entry system, which allows the federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as employers, to select economic immigrants who are most likely to integrate successfully, instead of choosing the ones at the top of the waiting list. The policy also sets new rules for temporary workers, foreign students and refugees.

The changes could have a positive impact, depending on what steps the federal government, its partners and the French-speaking communities take in coming years.

Businesses will also be playing a greater role than in the past in sourcing skilled workers eligible to immigrate to Canada. According to a study commissioned in 2013 by the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie, French-speaking communities will therefore “have to switch from a reactive approach to the reception and settlement of immigrants who go to organizations and institutions within the community to a proactive strategy.Footnote 18 In other words, they will have to establish close partnerships with English- and French-speaking employers in the area to encourage them to give priority to hiring French-speaking immigrants. In addition, French-speaking communities will have to persuade businesses and business support organizations to add French-speaking countries to the list of countries—currently mainly English-speaking— where they have been recruiting new workers.

The new immigration policies target foreign students who have been in Canada for a few years and are therefore more likely to integrate successfully. Governments will have to give post-secondary institutions in French-speaking communities and their partners more resources if they are to attract and retain more French-speaking foreign students. According to the Association des universités de la francophonie canadienne, these institutions will have to take measures that include making orientation services in French more readily available for foreign students and offering programs that teach skills that are in demand in the students’ host communities.Footnote 19

In a brief to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Marie-France Kenney, President of the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, reiterated that “although the communities have adapted many of their activities and practices to ensure their relevance and effectiveness in the new immigration context, that in no way diminishes governments’ responsibility to ensure that the recent changes to the immigration system have a positive impact on French-speaking communities. [translation]Footnote 20

French-speaking communities must be invited to take part in the discussions on immigration in order to help them adapt to the new reality. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has established a new Official Languages Secretariat and for enhancing the operation of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-Francophone Minority Communities Committee. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced consultations in order to identify and define ways or practices for increasing the number of French-speaking immigrants settling in French-speaking communities. However, a few days after the announcement, Citizenship and Immigration Canada then abolished the Francophone Significant Benefit program. The program sought to facilitate the temporary immigration of French-speaking professionals and skilled workers outside Quebec.

Clearly, French-speaking communities will not be able to attract and retain the immigrants they need unless the government adopts a Francophone perspective on immigration issues and implements programs that meet the specific needs of the communities.

The Government of Canada will have to step up its efforts to ensure that there is a fundamental shift in attitude and that Francophone immigration is ultimately seen by all parties concerned—federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and organizations and businesses—as an asset that benefits not only French-speaking communities, but also Canadian society as a whole.

Francophone immigration and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

In the early 2000s, the Commissioner of Official Languages at the time brought attention to the issue of Francophone immigration when she raised it in her first annual report and commissioned two key studies on the subject.

From 2007 to 2012, the current Commissioner continued that work by holding discussion forums in Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Montréal to gather information on how Canadians of diverse backgrounds, including immigrants, perceive linguistic duality. In 2013, given the increasing importance of immigration for French-speaking communities, the Commissioner made it one of his priorities.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ 2013–2016 intervention strategy on immigration for French-speaking communities has two objectives: to encourage federal institutions and their partners to support immigration to French-speaking communities, and to examine to what degree the federal government is meeting its obligation to increase the number of French-speaking immigrants.

To achieve these objectives, the Commissioner began studying the impact of the changes to the immigration system. He also took steps to establish closer ties with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. And, together with his fellow language commissioners from Ontario and New Brunswick, he spoke out to draw attention to the need for the federal government and the provinces and territories to become actively involved in the Francophone immigration issue. In a joint news release in October 2014, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, the Ontario French Language Services Commissioner and the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick underscored the need for strong partnerships between the federal government, the provinces and territories, and official language communities. They also called for long-term strategies and adequate funding to attract and retain a sufficient number of immigrants in French-speaking communities.

In their joint November 2014 report on Francophone immigration titled A Time to Act for the Future of Francophone Communities: Redressing the Immigration Imbalance, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the Ontario French Language Services Commissioner reiterated that immigration cannot benefit French-speaking communities unless the federal government and Citizenship and Immigration Canada play a major role in terms of leadership and cooperation. When it comes to Francophone immigration, success will depend largely on the calibre of the federal government’s actions and on the active participation of numerous other partners.

Two provincial governments called upon to act

In his 2013–2014 annual report, Ontario French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau recommended that his provincial government establish a group of experts on Francophone immigration. The mission of the group, which he said should include key people in the field such as business leaders and educational administrators, would be to come up with a strategy to ensure that 5% of the immigrants who settle in Ontario are French-speaking.

In an April 2014 news release, Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick Katherine d’Entremont called on her provincial government and the federal government to adopt a framework agreement on Francophone immigration to take into account the constitutional rights of New Brunswick’s two language communities.

Recommendation 1

In their joint November 2014 report on Francophone immigration titled A Time to Act for the Future of Francophone Communities: Redressing the Immigration Imbalance, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario made seven recommendationsFootnote 21 to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to help achieve immigration targets. The Commissioner of Official Languages would like to reiterate these recommendations.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration implement all of the following recommendations by December 31, 2015:

  1. Rely principally on Francophone organizations as providers of services and support to French-speaking newcomers in the context of any calls for proposals.
  2. Develop a strategy and pre-departure tools in French for prospective French-speaking immigrants wishing to settle in French-speaking communities outside Quebec.
  3. Implement a mechanism to ensure that French-speaking newcomers are systematically informed by government, before and after their arrival in Canada, about the presence of services, resources and Francophone organizations in their new region of settlement.
  4. Develop, in concert with his provincial and territorial counterparts, a substantive action plan that includes targets for Francophone immigration and a timetable for enhanced efforts aimed at better supporting one of the objectives of the Provincial Nominee Program, which is to stimulate the growth of official language communities.
  5. Develop long-term tools and incentives for Canadian employers to assist in the recruitment and selection of French-speaking and bilingual workers outside Quebec, thus allowing French-speaking communities to address past shortfalls and catch up in terms of their levels of immigration.
  6. Report on the actual or anticipated impact of the changes to Canada’s immigration system, including Express Entry, on immigration to French-speaking communities.
  7. Report on the measures he has taken to implement all of the above-mentioned recommendations.
 

Anglophone immigration in Quebec

Anglophone immigration: Overview

Quebec is, as it always has been, the cradle of French-speaking America. No other place in North America is home to as many Francophones. In 2011, 86% of Quebecers, or close to 6.7 million people, were French-speaking.Footnote 22 And no other place in North America has French as its sole official language.

While there is no denying that French language and culture make Quebec unique, it would be wrong to think that English is a foreign language and culture there. English speakers have been present in Quebec for more than 250 years, a consequence of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which made New France a British colony.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Statistical Portrait of English-speaking Immigrants in Quebec is based on data from the 2006 Census and contains the most recent information on English-speaking immigrants.Footnote 23 In 2006, just over half (53%) of Canadian-born English-speaking Quebecers and nearly three quarters (73%) of English-speaking immigrants lived in Montréal. High proportions of English speakers, both immigrants and non-immigrants, also lived in Montérégie (11% and 16%, respectively), Laval (8% and 7%, respectively) and Outaouais (3% and 8%, respectively).Footnote 24

The study also examined immigrants who spoke English as their first official language and those who spoke both English and French as their first official language. It found that those who spoke English as their first official language were more likely to be older and better established and less likely to know both official languages or have a mother tongue that is neither English nor French. They were also more likely to be of South Asian or Chinese origin, whereas those who spoke both English and French as their first official language were more likely to have Latin American or Arab origins. While keeping in mind that there are various factors that can affect socio-economic status, it appears that immigrants who spoke both English and French as their first official language in 2006 were more highly educated and had higher employment rates, although their median employment income was lower.Footnote 25

The study highlighted the diversity of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec as a whole and in its different economic regions. For instance, significant differences were observed in the rates of English-French bilingualism among English-speaking immigrants in various regions.Footnote 26 Given that immigrants can acquire a knowledge of both official languages over time, it is interesting to observe that among English-speaking immigrants,Footnote 27 more than half immigrated before 1991, a quarter between 1991 and 2000 and a fifth between 2001 and 2006.Footnote 28

“Only in Quebec was there relatively steady growth in the rate of bilingualism in each period from 1961 to 2011.”Footnote 29 In 2011, English-speaking Quebecers had a bilingualism rate of 61% (compared with 6% for English speakers in the rest of Canada), while French speakers outside Quebec had a bilingualism rate of 87% (compared with 38% for French-speaking Quebecers).Footnote 30

Immigration and English-speaking communities: Challenges

To a certain extent, the challenges facing Quebec’s English-speaking communities in terms of immigration are similar to those in French-speaking communities outside Quebec. Some are having difficulty attracting a sufficient number of English-speaking immigrants to offset low birth rates and the exodus of their young people, and to revitalize their institutions over the long term. For example, taken together, the English-speaking communities in eastern and northern Quebec account for 5% of the province’s English speakers, but only 1% of English-speaking immigrants have settled there.Footnote 24

However, the province’s English-speaking communities face four other challenges that are not strictly demographic in nature. These challenges are hindering their revitalization and undermining their vitality.

First, the contributions of English-speaking Quebecers and English-speaking immigrants do not always receive the recognition they should in Quebec. In reality, English speakers are helping the province hold its own in every sector of activity. For example, Quebec has 2.2 times more English-speaking entrepreneurs than French-speaking entrepreneurs.Footnote 31 Five of the ten chief scientific discoveries in Quebec in 2013 were made by researchers who speak English as their first official language.Footnote 32 And English-speaking immigrant artists such as David Homel and Rawi Hage are showcasing Quebec culture and Quebec as a whole through their translations and original works.

Second, too many English-speaking Quebecers are leaving the province each year to settle elsewhere in Canada or abroad. One out of every eight is an immigrant.Footnote 33 Their leaving deals a substantial blow to the English-speaking communities from which they came and to Quebec as a whole, as many of them are younger and more educated than the average Quebecer, and a greater proportion of them are bilingual.

Third, the English-speaking communities have organizations that can provide effective support to English-speaking immigrants. However, those organizations are not officially recognized by the Government of Quebec. Consequently, they do not have all the resources they need to provide English-speaking immigrants with the support that would help them to improve their knowledge of French and of Quebec, and to take part fully in its advancement.

Lastly, although Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides fairly significant and stable funding for research on Francophone immigration, this is not the case for Anglophone immigration. As a result, we know relatively little about the subject, which makes it difficult for concerned parties to make informed decisions.

Government measures relating to immigration in Quebec

The federal government’s recent changes to Canada’s immigration system will not apply to Quebec. Under the 1978 Cullen-Couture Agreement and the 1991 Canada-Québec Accord relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, Quebec has sole jurisdiction over the selection and reception of most of the immigrants who settle in the province, as well as their linguistic and cultural integration. It also has sole discretion as to the number of immigrants it admits each year.

The objectives of the Cullen-Couture Agreement were to preserve Quebec’s demographic weight within Canada and to integrate immigrants into Quebec society in a manner that respects its distinct character. Although those objectives have been attained for the most part, the fact remains, according to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, that “the legislation and policies in place limit the recruitment and retention of immigrants and newcomers in Quebec’s English-speaking communities.Footnote 34

Québec City: A model for breathing new life into English-speaking communities

To resolve the issues noted above, all those involved in and affected by the issue of Anglophone immigration will have to work together. The case of Québec City provides insight into what has to be done to ensure that English-speaking communities and English-speaking immigrants can thrive in Quebec society and contribute fully to it.

In the 2000s, key Québec City economic partners, such as the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie and the High Tech Park, partnered with local English-speaking organizations, including the Voice of English-speaking Quebec and the Québec-Chaudière-Appalaches Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation, and government institutions, such as Emploi Québec and Industry Canada, and established the Québec Multilingual Committee. The Committee’s mission was to make bilingualism and multilingualism a priority and to acknowledge the presence of thousands of Anglophones and allophones in and around Québec City.

Voice of English-speaking Quebec

The Voice of English-speaking Quebec helps English-speaking newcomers to Québec City learn French, familiarize themselves with Quebec culture and find a job or start a business. “The resources dedicated to Anglophone integration are limited in the region, [translation]” says Jean-Sébastien Gignac, the organization’s director. Thanks to the partnership between the Voice of English-speaking Quebec and the City of Québec, “we’ve gone from a passive support program to a proactive program. [translation]Footnote 35

Although the Committee was disbanded in 2012, its efforts have produced lasting results. For example, Puissance Onze, a group of insurance companies in Québec City and Lévis that do 40% of their business outside Quebec, continue to emphasize the importance of being able to speak English and French among workers in the insurance sector. The non-profit organization also wants to attract bilingual newcomers to the Metro Québec City region.

Québec City is determined to impress on English-speaking migrants and immigrants, especially those who are highly skilled, that they are welcome in Québec City. To ensure successful integration of the 400 to 500 Anglophones who arrive annually in the region, the City puts them in touch with community partners such as the Voice of English-speaking Quebec. This helps reduce isolation and can make it easier to find work.

Québec city mayor touts bilingualism

Not enough is being done about bilingualism in Québec City,” says Mayor Régis Labeaume. “I want to do something myself to ensure that people become more bilingual. As much as we ask people to speak French well, we also should be asking them to become bilingual. Employers are telling me that there are not enough bilingual people in Québec City. [translation]Footnote 36

Québec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, speaking at a September 2014 forum on the integration of English-speaking newcomers that was co-organized by his administration, noted that many Anglophones would move to Québec City only if they felt respected there. That view prompted Mayor Labeaume to take some very symbolic actions in recent years. Among other things, he revived the St. Patrick’s Day Parade after an 84-year hiatus.

At the end of the immigration forum, Québec City Deputy Mayor Michelle Morin-Doyle underscored the importance of recognizing the English-speaking community for the valuable contribution it makes to the capital.

Anglophone immigration and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

The Commissioner has often spoken publicly to remind people that the English language and English-speaking Quebecers have their place in Quebec. Through various forums, he has also made the point that English-speaking communities need resources to continue supporting the integration of English-speaking immigrants.

To that end, the Office of the Commissioner has adopted its 2013–2016 intervention strategy on immigration for Quebec’s English-speaking communities. The main objective of the strategy is to improve how Quebec’s French-speaking majority perceives the contribution of the province’s English-speaking communities and English-speaking immigrants.

The Commissioner has initiated ongoing discussions with the Quebec and federal governments, Quebec municipalities, immigrant support organizations in Quebec, English-speaking community organizations and French-speaking opinion leaders.

Recommendation 2

In 2013, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced funding from the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities for research on immigration to Quebec’s English-speaking communities. In order to benefit fully from this investment, these communities need a flexible and transparent funding process that responds to their needs and research priorities.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. make the necessary modifications so that the funding process for priority research projects identified by the English-speaking communities of Quebec is flexible, transparent and responsive to their needs; and
  2. report, by May 31, 2016, on the measures taken in this regard.
 

Recommendation 3

In its 2013–2014 review on official languages, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Official Languages Secretariat included some examples of how the Department is working together with Quebec’s English-speaking communities. The Commissioner of Official Languages applauds these efforts.

Like all other federal institutions, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a duty under Part VII of the Official Languages Act to take positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language communities.

Under the Canada–Québec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, Quebec is responsible for delivering reception and integration services in the province.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. clearly identify the measures he intends to take to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking communities of Quebec through immigration;
  2. engage with the government of Quebec with respect to enhancing the vitality of these communities; and
  3. report on these measures by May 31, 2016.
 

Chapter 2 - Compliance

The Commissioner of Official Languages serves as an ombudsman for language rights in Canada. He receives and reviews citizens’ complaints and intervenes with federal institutions to ensure that they rectify shortcomings that undermine the respect of the language rights established by the Official Languages Act.

The Commissioner conducts audits to determine to what extent federal institutions are meeting their language obligations under the Act. Institutions are selected based on their size or their activities. The Commissioner then follows up to verify whether the recommendations issued at the end of the audits have been implemented.

The Commissioner also appears before the courts from time to time to protect Canadians’ language rights.

The 2013–2014 annual report dealt exclusively with federal institutions’ compliance with the Act. Because the tabling of the 2014–2015 annual report was brought forward to the spring, this chapter will only present an overview of the complaints the Commissioner received this year, the audits he conducted and the court proceedings in which he took part. The 2015–2016 annual report will contain a detailed analysis of compliance and will include a number of report cards that will provide a snapshot of federal institutions’ progress with regard to compliance.

Complaints

Analysis of complaints received in 2014–2015

In 2014–2015, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received 550 complaints that were deemed admissible (Table 1), which is an increase of 74 complaints compared with 2013–2014. Complaints regarding Part IV of the Act, which concerns communications with and services to the public, topped the list. They accounted for 58% of the complaints received this year.

The Ontario part of the National Capital Region saw the most complaints (193) in 2014–2015. Among the provinces and territories, Ontario—not including the National Capital Region—generated the most incidents resulting in complaints (78). The situation was therefore unchanged from 2013–2014.

The Office of the Commissioner received twice as many complaints from outside Canada in 2014–2015 (12) than in 2013–2014 (5). These twelve complaints concerned Part IV of the Act, and eight of them involved Air Canada. The number of complaints from Alberta tripled this year (28) compared with 2013–2014 (9). Of these complaints, 15 were related to Part IV and 12 concerned Part VII. Eleven of the twelve Part VII complaints were about the National Energy Board. In Saskatchewan, most of the 16 complaints were related to Part IV and 12 of those were about the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Table 1 – Admissible complaints in 2014–2015 by province/territory and by part/section of the Official Languages Act
  Service to the public (Part IV) Language of work (Part V) Equitable participation (Part VI) Advancement of English and French (Part VII) Language requirements (Part XI, section 91) Other parts or sections Total
Newfoundland and Labrador 9 0 0 2 1 0 12
Prince Edward Island 4 0 0 0 0 0 4
Nova Scotia 11 0 0 0 1 1 13
New Brunswick 24 15 2 0 1 0 42
Quebec 36 16 1 0 1 2 56
National Capital Region (Quebec) 25 24 3 0 11 1 64
National Capital Region (Ontario) 95 54 2 12 27 3 193
Ontario 54 12 3 3 3 3 78
Manitoba 9 4 0 0 0 0 13
Saskatchewan 15 0 0 0 0 1 16
Alberta 15 1 0 12 0 0 28
British Columbia 11 0 0 7 0 0 18
Yukon 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Northwest Territories 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nunavut 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Outside Canada 12 0 0 0 0 0 12
Total 320 126 11 37 45 11 550

Admissible complaints (2011–2012 to 2014–2015)

Table 2 shows that the number of admissible complaints involving Part IV of the Act dropped between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2013. However, the number of complaints has increased since. Year after year, most admissible complaints pertain to that part of the Act.

It is important to note that the number of complaints involving Part V of the Act, which concerns language of work, is rising.

Table 2 – Admissible complaints over a four-year period (2011–2012 to 2014–2015), by part or section of the Official Languages Act
  2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015
Service to the public (Part IV) 341 252 282 320
Language of work (Part V) 79 83 103 126
Equitable participation (Part VI) 1 6 13 11
Advancement of English and French (Part VII) 45 39 30 37
Language requirements (Part XI, section 91) 42 30 44 45
Other parts or sections 10 5 4 11
Total 518 415 476 550

Table 3 shows how the number of complaints has changed over the past four years. For example, there were many more complaints from Alberta in 2014–2015 than in each of the previous three years.

Alberta also saw the greatest increase in the number of complaints. Conversely, the number of complaints from Nova Scotia and Manitoba has been dropping since 2011–2012.

Table 3 – Admissible complaints over a four-year period (2011–2012 to 2014–2015), by province and territory
  2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015
Newfoundland and Labrador 11 8 18 12
Prince Edward Island 3 3 4 4
Nova Scotia 33 9 8 13
New Brunswick 36 24 31 42
Quebec 55 70 59 56
National Capital Region (Quebec) 49 49 37 64
National Capital Region (Ontario) 200 152 182 193
Ontario 77 52 75 78
Manitoba 25 20 20 13
Saskatchewan 2 2 8 16
Alberta 13 9 9 28
British Columbia 7 8 19 18
Yukon 0 0 0 1
Northwest Territories 1 0 1 0
Nunavut 0 0 0 0
Outside Canada 6 9 5 12
Total 518 415 476 550

Audits

In 2014–2015, the Office of the Commissioner followed up on two audits involving Air Canada and Industry Canada that were conducted in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Air Canada

In 2010, the Office of the Commissioner audited the ways in which Air Canada provides its passengers with services of equal quality in English and French. The audit report contained 12 recommendations to help the carrier improve its compliance with Part IV of the Act, which concerns communications with and services to the public.

The audit follow-up, which the Office of the Commissioner completed in 2014, showed that the carrier fully implemented only one of the twelve recommendations.

Air Canada ignored five of the Commissioner’s recommendations. For example, although it should have, it did not review the way in which it notifies passengers of their right to use the official language of their choice in various service areas. Thus, the problems that were noted in 2010— such as signs in only one official language and pictograms that are improperly positioned or even non-existent—are still happening.

Air Canada only partially implemented the other six recommendations. For example, the carrier failed to establish all of the permanent monitoring mechanisms that would enable it to check the availability of quality services in English and French where they are required.

The only recommendation Air Canada fully implemented was to develop and communicate to staff a directive or policy concerning the carrier’s obligations with respect to the delivery of bilingual services.

Because of the shortcomings noted in the audit follow-up, the Commissioner had to reiterate to Air Canada the need to take action as soon as possible to rectify the shortcomings regarding official languages. For example, the carrier will have to set the language objectives to be met by its senior executives and managers, indicate how front-line employees will be informed about their obligations in terms of active offer and the delivery of bilingual services, and establish how it will increase its capacity to ensure that travellers’ language rights are respected. Air Canada will also have to develop mechanisms to monitor its performance with regard to official languages.

In short, Air Canada still has a lot of work to do before it is in full compliance with the Act. The carrier needs to take immediate steps to follow through on the 11 recommendations that have either not been implemented or been partially implemented, so that it has all the tools and mechanisms it needs to meet all of its language obligations.

Industry Canada

In 2012, the Office of the Commissioner published an audit report in which it examined the measures taken by Industry Canada to support the development of Canada’s official language communities. The report contained six recommendations.

The audit follow-up conducted by the Office of the Commissioner in 2014 showed that Industry Canada implemented all of the recommendations either fully or partially. The institution took proactive and systemic measures to encourage official language communities to participate in the development of programs that concern them.

However, Industry Canada will have to try to do a better job of supporting the advancement of English and French in Canadian society by including initiatives in its official languages action plan that deal specifically with the promotion of linguistic duality. The institution will also have to develop a structured and coordinated approach to ensure that its regional offices consult regularly with representatives of official language communities.

Other audits

In 2014–2015, the Office of the Commissioner continued audits of Elections Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. It also began a follow-up to the 2012 audit of Parks Canada.

The purpose of the Elections Canada audit is to determine whether the institution has taken steps to provide services of equal quality to English- and French-speaking voters. The audit will also show whether this independent organization takes into account the potential offered by the high level of bilingualism among members of official language communities when planning its employee recruitment campaigns.

The Canada Border Services Agency audit will seek to determine how the institution is meeting its obligations under Part IV of the Act at points of entry at Canada’s international airports and land border crossings.

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat audit will determine how, during the 2011–2012 strategic and operating review, the organization fulfilled its responsibilities to support the development of official language communities under Part VII of the Act.

The follow-up to the Parks Canada audit will gauge how the institution has implemented the Commissioner’s nine recommendations contained in the 2012 audit report. The recommendations concerned various subjects such as assessing the language skills of Parks Canada employees and taking the needs of official language communities into account.

Court Remedies

To protect the language rights of Canadians, the Commissioner played a major role before the courts by appearing as a party to proceedings.

In 2014–2015, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Canada both handed down important judgments in cases involving the Commissioner.

Thibodeau v Air CanadaFootnote 37

In 2009, Michel and Lynda Thibodeau made two international trips during which they were unable to receive services in French from Jazz, one of Air Canada’s contract carriers.

The fact that Air Canada had violated the couple’s rights under Part IV of the Act, which concerns communications with and services to the public, was not disputed before the Supreme Court of Canada. The only issue that was brought before the Court was what remedy would be appropriate.

In its judgment, Canada’s highest court reaffirmed the quasi-constitutional status of the Act, including Part X of the Act, which provides for a court remedy. However, the Court highlighted that, in the present case, there was an overlap between the Act and the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air (the Montreal Convention), a treaty that regulates airline liability for international flights. The Supreme Court found that, since the Montreal Convention precludes the payment of damages unless specified in the Convention itself, Canadian courts could not award monetary compensation for the violations of the Act committed by Air Canada on its international flights.

That said, Air Canada could still be ordered to pay damages when it fails to comply with the Act in other instances, including domestic air travel. Also, non-monetary remedies remain available when Air Canada violates its language obligations on international flights.

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-CanadaFootnote 38

In 2009–2010, the Commissioner received 876 complaints about CBC/Radio-Canada’s decision to make budget cuts to CBEF Windsor, a French-language radio station in Southern Ontario. In 2010–2011, the broadcaster’s reaction to these complaints, which related to Part VII of the Act concerning the advancement of English and French, led the Commissioner and a representative of Windsor’s French-speaking community to file an application with the Federal Court. In September 2014, the Federal Court confirmed that the Commissioner has jurisdiction to investigate language complaints filed against CBC/Radio-Canada under the Act and its parts, including Part VII. CBC/Radio-Canada is therefore required to cooperate with the Commissioner in future investigations, since “the Constitution, the [Act] and the constitutional principle of the protection of minorities do not tolerate an officer of Her Majesty claiming any immunity.Footnote 39

The ruling also established that the obligations arising from Part VII reflect Parliament’s willingness to fully recognize the equality of English and French and to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities. According to the Court, this is a “categorical, non-negotiable imperativeFootnote 40 for CBC/Radio-Canada and other federal institutions.

The judge’s decision was a milestone for linguistic duality, as this was the first time that the Court had stated that not only do federal institutions have to support the development of official language communities, they must also “act in a manner that does not hinder the development and vitality of Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minorities.Footnote 41

CBC/Radio-Canada has appealed this decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.

In summary

The decisions rendered in court cases reflect once again the importance of the Official Languages Act. Whereas the Supreme Court noted in the case of Thibodeau v Air Canada that the Act has a quasiconstitutional status, the Federal Court determined, in The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-Canada, that Part VII of the Act is a categorical, nonnegotiable imperative.

Unfortunately, some federal institutions are not taking all of the measures available to them to comply with the Act and the language rights it protects.

Federal institutions need to plan their actions in order to meet all of their language obligations. They also need to raise awareness among their employees, train their staff and regularly assess the outcomes of the measures they have taken. Above all, they need to show goodwill and steadfast determination.

In matters of respect for official languages, as elsewhere, if fortune favours the bold, it also favours those who work unfailingly to reach the goals they have set for themselves.

Conclusion

Where linguistic duality is concerned, 2015 will be a year to watch closely, because it will mark the launch of the Express Entry system as part of the federal government’s immigration policy, because a major international event—the Pan American and Parapan American Games—will be taking place in Toronto in July, and because preparations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation will be ramping up.

For official language communities to benefit from immigration, for English and French to have equal status during the Pan American and Parapan American Games, and for both official languages to enjoy their rightful place in the historical narrative that will be celebrated during the festivities in 2017, federal institutions must strive to treat linguistic duality as a fundamental Canadian value.

Specifically, federal institutions would do well to implement the recommendations set out in the report on immigration tabled by the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages in 2014–2015, as well as those in the joint report on Francophone immigration by the Ontario French Language Services Commissioner and the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, and those made by the Commissioner in this annual report to support Quebec’s English-language communities.

Throughout the Pan American and Parapan American Games, federal institutions should heed the advice given in Organizing a Major Sporting Event in Canada: A Practical Guide to Promoting Official Languages. In all major events leading up to and including the 150th anniversary in 2017, they should also adopt the best practices described in Celebrating Canada—A Guide to A Successful Bilingual Event.

Official languages are a powerful tool that Canada can use to its advantage, both at home and abroad. Let’s hope that the challenges that lie ahead serve as a springboard for strengthening the status of English and French in our society and, ultimately, of Canada itself.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

In their joint November 2014 report on Francophone immigration titled A Time to Act for the Future of Francophone Communities: Redressing the Immigration Imbalance, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario made seven recommendationsFootnote 21 to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to help achieve immigration targets. The Commissioner of Official Languages would like to reiterate these recommendations.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration implement all of the following recommendations by December 31, 2015:

  1. Rely principally on Francophone organizations as providers of services and support to French-speaking newcomers in the context of any calls for proposals.
  2. Develop a strategy and pre-departure tools in French for prospective French-speaking immigrants wishing to settle in French-speaking communities outside Quebec.
  3. Implement a mechanism to ensure that French-speaking newcomers are systematically informed by government, before and after their arrival in Canada, about the presence of services, resources and Francophone organizations in their new region of settlement.
  4. Develop, in concert with his provincial and territorial counterparts, a substantive action plan that includes targets for Francophone immigration and a timetable for enhanced efforts aimed at better supporting one of the objectives of the Provincial Nominee Program, which is to stimulate the growth of official language communities.
  5. Develop long-term tools and incentives for Canadian employers to assist in the recruitment and selection of French-speaking and bilingual workers outside Quebec, thus allowing French-speaking communities to address past shortfalls and catch up in terms of their levels of immigration.
  6. Report on the actual or anticipated impact of the changes to Canada’s immigration system, including Express Entry, on immigration to French-speaking communities.
  7. Report on the measures he has taken to implement all of the above-mentioned recommendations.
 

Recommendation 2

In 2013, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced funding from the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities for research on immigration to Quebec’s English-speaking communities. In order to benefit fully from this investment, these communities need a flexible and transparent funding process that responds to their needs and research priorities.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. make the necessary modifications so that the funding process for priority research projects identified by the English-speaking communities of Quebec is flexible, transparent and responsive to their needs; and
  2. report, by May 31, 2016, on the measures taken in this regard.
 

Recommendation 3

In its 2013–2014 review on official languages, Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Official Languages Secretariat included some examples of how the Department is working together with Quebec’s English-speaking communities. The Commissioner of Official Languages applauds these efforts.

Like all other federal institutions, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a duty under Part VII of the Official Languages Act to take positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language communities.

Under the Canada–Québec Accord Relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens, Quebec is responsible for delivering reception and integration services in the province.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. clearly identify the measures he intends to take to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking communities of Quebec through immigration;
  2. engage with the government of Quebec with respect to enhancing the vitality of these communities; and
  3. report on these measures by May 31, 2016.
 

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Bruce Hutchison, The Unknown Country: Canada and Her People, New York, Coward-McCann, Inc., 1942, p. 8.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

In this report, official language minority communities are designated by the term “official language communities.”

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Footnote 3

Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Seizing the Opportunity: The Role of Communities in a Constantly Changing Immigration System, Ottawa, December 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

In this report, English- and French-speaking minority communities are generally designated by the terms “English-speaking communities” and “French-speaking communities.”

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

In this report, the term “federal institutions” is used to designate federal institutions and organizations that are subject to the Official Languages Act.

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Footnote 6

Statistics Canada, “Migration: International, 2010 and 2011, Table A2: Percentage of landed immigrants in Canada by selected countries of birth, 1981 to 2011,” in Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 91-209-X, Ottawa, July 9, 2013, p. 12. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 7

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, “Canada – Permanent residents by gender and category, 1989 to 2013,” in Facts and figures 2013 – Immigration overview: Permanent residents, Ottawa, November 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 8

Statistics Canada, “Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity in Canada”, National Household Survey, 2011, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 99-010-XWE201100, Ottawa, May 8, 2013, p. 6. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 9

Doug Saunders, “Amid political tensions, Germany’s outspoken president praises Canada,” The Globe and Mail, September 26, 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 10

Unless indicated otherwise, statistics referring to English- and French-speaking communities are based on first official language spoken, which is calculated by Statistics Canada from census data on knowledge of official languages, mother tongue and language spoken most often at home. For more information, see Statistics Canada’s Definitions, data sources and methods: Language variables – First official language spoken.

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Footnote 11

In this report, French-speaking immigrants who settle outside Quebec are referred to as “French-speaking immigrants.” Similarly, “Francophone immigration” refers to the arrival of French-speaking immigrants in provinces and territories other than Quebec.

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Footnote 12

The analysis distinguishes between immigrants who speak French as their first official language and those who speak both English and French as their first official language. According to the analysis, there are differences between these two groups in terms of their demographic and socio-economic characteristics.

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Footnote 13

Statistics Canada, Statistical Portrait of the French-Speaking Immigrant Population Outside Quebec (1991 to 2006), Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 89-641-X, Ottawa, April 6, 2010, p. 92. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 14

La Passerelle, L’impact positif de l’immigration : fiche d’information, Toronto [undated]. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 15

Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Seizing the Opportunity: The Role of Communities in a Constantly Changing Immigration System, Ottawa, December 2014, p. 33. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 16

Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, Issue 7, Ottawa, June 2, 2014, evidence of Jeanne d’Arc Gaudet, Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick, p. 7:37. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 17

Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité Canada, RDÉE Canada promotes bilingualism as an asset for national and international trade, News Release, Ottawa, August 22, 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 17 referrer

Footnote 18

Ronald Bisson and Matthieu Brennan, Analysis of Reforms to Canada’s Immigration System and Its Implications on Communities of the Canadian Francophonie, Ottawa, 2013, p. 18. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 18 referrer

Footnote 19

Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, Proceedings of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages, 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, Issue 6, Ottawa, May 5, 2014, p. 6:42. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 19 referrer

Footnote 20

Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, Mémoire au Comité sénatorial permanent des langues officielles dans le cadre de l’étude des changements récents au système d’immigration sur les CLOSM, Ottawa, 2014, p. 9.

Return to footnote 20 referrer

Footnote 21

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, A Time to Act for the Future of Francophone Communities:Redressing the Immigration Imbalance, Ottawa, November 2014, pp. 29–30. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to first footnote 21 referrer

Footnote 22

Statistics Canada, French and the Francophonie in Canada, Table 2: “Number of people and proportion of the population reporting French by selected language characteristic, Quebec, 2006 and 2011,” Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-314-X-2011003, Ottawa, October 2012, p. 2. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 22 referrer

Footnote 23

In this report, English-speaking immigrants who settle in Quebec are referred to as “English-speaking immigrants.” Similarly, “Anglophone immigration” refers to the arrival of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec.

Return to footnote 23 referrer

Footnote 24

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Statistical portrait of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec, Tables 7.8 and 7.9, Ottawa, February 2012, p. 70. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to first footnote 24 referrer

Footnote 25

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Statistical portrait of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec, Ottawa, February 2012, p. 62. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 25 referrer

Footnote 26

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Statistical portrait of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec, Table 10, Ottawa, February 2012, p. 73. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 26 referrer

Footnote 27

Proportions include all immigrants who speak English as their first official language and half of immigrants who speak both English and French as their first official language.

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Footnote 28

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Statistical portrait of English-speaking immigrants in Quebec, Table 17.4, Ottawa, February 2012, p. 85. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 29

Statistics Canada, “The evolution of English–French bilingualism in Canada from 1961 to 2011,” in Insights of Canadian Society, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X, Ottawa, May 28, 2013, p. 3. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 30

Statistics Canada, “The evolution of English–French bilingualism in Canada from 1961 to 2011,” in Insights of Canadian Society, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X, Ottawa, May 28, 2013, p. 4. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 31

Fondation de l’entrepreneurship, Indice entrepreneurial québécois 2011 : La culture entrepreneuriale au Québec, News Release, May 4, 2011. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 32

Anonymous, “Les 10 découvertes de l’année 2013,” Québec Science, December 3, 2013. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015. To determine the first official language spoken by the 10 researchers who made these significant discoveries, a representative of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages e-mailed a questionnaire to each one of them.

Return to footnote 32 referrer

Footnote 33

Canadian Heritage and Statistics Canada, “Interprovincial migration,” in Languages in Canada: 2006 Census, Gatineau, 2013. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 34

Parliament of Canada, Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, The Vitality of Quebec’s English-Speaking Communities: From Myth to Reality, Ottawa, 2011, p. 67. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

Return to footnote 34 referrer

Footnote 35

Véronique Demers, “Anglophones : « Un atout pour Québec » – Graham Fraser,” L’Actuel, September 22, 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 36

Taïeb Moalla, “Plaidoyer du maire pour le bilinguisme,” Le Journal de Québec, June 14, 2014. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 37

Thibodeau v Air Canada, 2014 SCC 67. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015. A summary of the judgment can be found on our Web site.

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Footnote 38

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-Canada, 2014 FC 849. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015. A summary of the judgment can be found on our Web site.

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Footnote 39

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-Canada, 2014 FC 849 at para 54. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 40

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-Canada, 2014 FC 849 at para 42. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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Footnote 40

The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and Dr. Karim Amellal v CBC/Radio-Canada, 2014 FC 849 at para 33. On-line version accessed March 31, 2015.

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