Immigration and linguistic duality
In 2002, the Office of the Commissioner of the Commissioner of Official Languages conducted two studies on immigration:
- Official Languages and Immigration: Obstacles and Opportunities for Immigrants and Communities
- Immigration and the Vitality of Canada's Official Language Communities: Policy, Demography and Identity
Too few immigrants choose to settle in Francophone minority communities
Our studies have highlighted a fact that is a cause for some concern: too few immigrants are making lives for themselves outside of large urban centres and in rural areas, which means many communities are not benefitting from the advantages of immigration. This problem affects Francophone minority communities in particular because a significant number of them are far from large urban centres or are in rural areas.
Although Canada's population growth increasingly depends on immigration, Francophone communities typically attract a small percentage of the country's immigrants. This situation is creating a worrisome imbalance: all Canadians should benefit from the advantages of immigration.
Minority official language communities need to be equipped to integrate immigrants
Immigrants settling in Francophone minority communities must be better informed about these communities.
Even before they arrive, but especially throughout their first few years in Canada, it is important that immigrants be accompanied on the path to integration. To encourage the successful integration of immigrants, the communities need better resources. The goal is to help immigrants fully contribute to a community towards which they feel a sense of belonging by the end of the integration process.
In June 2002, the rules for immigrating to Canada changed: the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act now states that immigration shall "support and assist the development of minority official languages communities in Canada."
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has created the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee, which developed an action plan in the fall of 2006. We will be following its implementation closely.