Promoting linguistic duality among newcomers benefits all Canadians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gatineau, May 7, 2015—Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser is urging the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to put concrete measures in place and provide the necessary funding so that immigration enhances the vitality of official language communities across Canada.
Greater federal support is required for English- and French-speaking organizations delivering integration services to ensure that immigration continues to enrich official language communities,” said the Commissioner. “
These communities make vital economic, social and cultural contributions to Canada, as they welcome and integrate immigrants upon their arrival.”
In the first part of his 2014–2015 annual report tabled in Parliament today, Commissioner Fraser provides an overview of the current state of immigration in official language minority communities. While Canada’s new immigration system focuses on the economy, on skills and on the increased role of employers in the selection of foreign workers, the Commissioner emphasizes the need to strengthen federal‑provincial‑territorial cooperation and to develop an action plan with tangible targets in immigration for official language minority communities.
As of 2011, immigrants constituted only 12% of the French-speaking population outside Quebec, compared with 22% for the English-speaking population. These figures demonstrate that French-speaking communities outside Quebec have not benefited from immigration as much as they need to in order to foster their vitality.
In Quebec, greater cooperation is needed between the federal and provincial governments so that Anglophone community organizations are provided with the funding they need to support English-speaking immigrants on their way to becoming full and contributing members of Quebec society.
Too many English-speaking newcomers in Quebec and French-speaking newcomers outside Quebec are unaware of the existence of official language minority communities, and that needs to change,” said the Commissioner. “
These communities are ideally suited to welcome newcomers, help them retain and leverage their linguistic background and integrate into the broader society.”
Every five years, more than one million people make Canada their new home. The federal government must do more so that this influx has a positive impact on the vitality of Canada’s official language communities and on Canadian linguistic duality. “
The recommendations I am making should help the government chart a more promising course for the future than what we have seen until now,” added the Commissioner.
The second part of the annual report covers Commissioner Fraser’s activities to protect language rights by investigating complaints, conducting audits and participating in court proceedings.
Careful planning, consulting with official language communities and ongoing assessment are the three essential steps federal institutions need to follow to respect official languages,” said the Commissioner. “
Leading up to the 150th anniversary of Confederation, institutions must give equal prominence and respect to both official languages and continue that commitment beyond 2017.”