Montreal unveils 3-year action plan to help immigrants
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has unveiled a plan to help new arrivals to the city integrate into its society one day after the province tabled a proposal to cut immigration levels.
“I’m looking at what are those things that will make their lives easier,” said Plante.
The $24-million plan, called “Montréal inclusive,” aims to cut some of the barriers of entry that some of the city’s newcomers face. An estimated 50,000 migrants without status reside in Montreal.
Plante’s plan focuses on areas where about 62 per cent of new arrivals live. They include the boroughs of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Saint-Laurent, Pierrefonds-Roxboro, Villeray-Saint-Michel-Park Extension, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montréal-Nord and Saint-Léonard-Anjou.
She pointed out at a news conference that some aspects of life Montrealers take for granted that can be hard for immigrants, including activities like going to a public pool or a public library.
Plante also said that in the future they won’t have to provide addresses to use those services.
The plan also involves policies such as police turning a blind eye to status in some circumstances so that migrants are more willing to step forward they need help.
“We decided to work with the SPVM and other actors in the field at the grassroots level so that they can better protect people,” said Plante.
Plante said she is also dropping the term “sanctuary city,” as it refers to a legal context in the United States that doesn’t exist in Montreal.
“Legally the city cannot offer special protection against the expulsion of migrants to federal authorities,” she said.
Opposition warns timing is poor
The move also comes as the new Quebec government tabled its plan this week to lower immigration levels by 20 per cent.
The opposition at Montreal city hall is warning that the timing is poor given the province’s plan to admit less newcomers.
WATCH: Quebec government introduces immigration plan
“The question that we have is that is it not premature to have made this announcement today?” said Opposition leader Lionel Perez.
The Coalition Avenir Québec government seeks to slash immigration levels from 50,000 to 40,000 in 2019. However, it still requires approval from the federal government in order to be implemented.
The city’s plan is set to last until 2021.
— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise