The government of Quebec is preparing to launch a consultation with people living in the province later this month. The consultation will cover issues relating to immigration, diversity and inclusion, and comes at a time when the current Liberal provincial government is organising changes to its immigration and integration policies.
The government will be asking for proposals on how to make Quebec, Canada’s only predominantly French-speaking province, more welcoming.
“Integration into the workforce, recognition of professional competencies — that is always the number one issue and it is the number one issue that we want to address," said provincial Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Kathleen Weil, who added that one of the biggest challenges that newcomers to Quebec face is finding skilled employment.
“The second generation [of immigrants] . . . are not finding jobs at the level of their competencies because they may be from visible minorities or their names don’t resonate as French speakers. So it’s important that we develop measures and have an action plan. It remains a huge frustration for people who come from other countries with quality baggage, and we have to find a way for people to contribute.”
The issue of integration has been to the fore in Quebec politics and society in recent years, with the previous Parti Québécois government having tabled a Quebec Charter of Values (Charte de la laïcité or Charte des valeurs québécoises), which, among other measures, would have prohibited certain public sector workers from wearing or displaying "conspicuous" religious symbols.
Ms Weil made it clear that she does not wish for the consultation to become a debate of such a Charter. “I think we have to talk about les vraies affaires (the real issues) . . . A charter of values is not les vraies affaires,” she said.