Canada is a bilingual country. All English speaking provinces (outside of Québec) must also provide some services, by law, in French. English Canada is thus looking to increase its French-Speaking population, and in order to attract French-speaking foreign nationals (“Francophones”), it has announced some very interesting immigration laws.
The Francophone Significant Benefit Program is now designed to streamline the application by French Speaking foreigners for a temporary work permit. The program wishes to attract Francophones who will be working in a managerial, professional, technical or skilled trades job (Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)), in a province or territory other than Québec. A Francophone, who fits in one of these categories, is eligible for a renewable work permit for up to two years.
Receiving a work permit via The Francophone Significant Benefit Program is intended to be quicker than through the standardized Work Permit Application. The most significant aspect of this program is that Francophones, under this program, do not need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This not only attracts more Francophones to Canada, but it also simplifies the process for employers seeking to hire Francophones, who will not need to advertize, nor wait upwards of six months, for their employees to obtain the right to work in Canada.
It is clear that the legislature’s intent of this program is to disperse more Francophones across Canada, and not only in Québec. French is one of the official languages in Canada, yet it is a language many Canadians cannot speak. The population of Canada is approximately 35 million. According to the 2011 Census, close to 10 million people reported being able to conduct a conversation in French, and approximately 7.3 million people reported French as their mother tongue in Canada. Hence, less than half of the population of Canada can speak French. As a result, it is not a surprise that the government is willing to ease the work permit application process for Francophones. This program also helps dismiss the stereotype that Francophones only reside in Québec, and that Canada does not need to offer French speaking services elsewhere.
The Canadian Law Group feels that the Francophone Significant Benefit Program is a great benefit for Canada’s economic, social, political, and cultural spheres. The Francophone population, outside of Québec, will have more access to French speaking services. As a result, there may be less political tensions between Québec and the rest of Canada. The Francophone Significant Benefit Program could help bridge the gap between Québec and the rest of Canada by offering advantages for French speaking individuals outside of Québec. Ultimately, this program will help to promote Canada’s image as being a united bilingual country.