Advertisement

Saskatchewan francophone community hopeful for increased immigration

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan francophone community hopeful for increased immigration'
Saskatchewan francophone community hopeful for increased immigration
WATCH ABOVE: Fransaskois community praises federal government's commitment to minority language immigration program. As Carly Robinson explains, officials are seeing the difference it can make in Saskatoon – Nov 3, 2016

Francophones in Saskatchewan know they are the minority, but they hope that a continued stream of French-speaking immigrants and French immersion programs can strengthen their community.

The first week of November is National Francophone Immigration Week, and the Fransaskoise community is pleased to celebrate newcomers in their province.

READ MORE: New Liberal immigration plan seeks to woo overseas talent into moving to Canada

Éric Lefol, the general manager of La Fédération des Francophones de Saskatoon, said he believes “the Fransaskoise community knows that they are too small, and their future relies on welcoming more people to the community.”

Lefol knows this welcoming feeling first hand, having been a newcomer to the city over 20 years ago. He understands why so many like him, who think they are moving just for some work experience and to pick up on some English, end up staying long term.

Story continues below advertisement

Members of the community are pleased to see the federal government reinstate a program that fast-tracks employment options for francophones moving to areas of Canada where French is in the minority.

In a statement, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCalum said he was proud “to announce that my department had re-established the Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption that allows employers in Francophone minority communities to recruit French-speaking workers to highly-skilled jobs on a temporary basis.”

WATCH BELOW: Canada’s 300,000 immigration target to be ‘permanent’; become foundation of future growth

Click to play video: 'Canada’s 300,000 immigration target to be ‘permanent’; become foundation of future growth'
Canada’s 300,000 immigration target to be ‘permanent’; become foundation of future growth

The program was cut in 2014 under the Conservative government and the group representing all francophones in Saskatchewan, Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise (ACF), saw a decrease of those needing their French language welcoming service.

Story continues below advertisement

In 2013 there were 257 newcomers who came through their door, however in 2015, the first full year without the program, that number dropped to 130.

Zakaria Traore is an establishment and employment counselor for the program, stationed in Saskatoon, and says that many recent newcomers who need their service are coming from French-speaking areas of Africa.

There are currently 54 full member countries of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), many of these countries in Africa.
There are currently 54 full member countries of the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), many of these countries in Africa.

The program does everything from picking people up from the airport and helping with paperwork to introducing them to services in the community and signing them up for English classes.

WATCH BELOW: Canada to maintain immigration target in 2017

Click to play video: 'Canada to maintain immigration target in 2017'
Canada to maintain immigration target in 2017

Sponsored content