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Final Report: Research on Settlement Services Available in French for Francophone Newcomers to Ontario

STUDY CONDUCTED FOR THE ONTARIO Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration


The purpose of this project was to identify emerging issues in the area of Francophone immigration to Ontario, not to make recommendations. Our observations suggest a number of areas for follow-up and a number of possibilities for further research that must be pursued in order to more fully understand the issues surrounding Francophone immigration in Ontario. Close to 70% of all Francophone immigrants outside of Quebec live in Ontario; close to 50% of all Francophone immigrants outside Quebec live in southern Ontario, in particular, in the Greater Toronto Area. Further research is, therefore, important; Ontario is clearly the most attractive province to Francophone immigrants who settle outside of Quebec.

11.1 The Definition of a Francophone Immigrant

The federal government and the province of Ontario use different parameters to identify Francophone immigrants. The federal government data present immigrants admitted to Ontario according to the preferences they expressed in their country of origin. The English term for this is “landings”. Where language is concerned, the federal government presents the data on immigrants according to mother tongue; however, the language parameter used by the federal government will be expanded somewhat here. Ontario uses the Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF). The definitions used by these two levels of government yield very different results in terms of numbers of Francophone immigrants. This difference is significant and involves a public policy issue because funding for settlement programs is allocated on the basis of numbers served. In terms of follow-up, it will be important to ensure consistency in the definitions used by these two levels of government, to guide future research.

11.2 Recruitment of Francophone Immigrants

According to the research, there have been few initiatives to recruit Francophone immigrants to Ontario. Our survey of the literature suggests that the recruitment of both Francophone and non-Francophone immigrants will become an increasingly important issue in the future. So far, the Provincial Nominee Program is fairly modest in Ontario; however, it offers some interesting possibilities for Francophone communities. This program has a different impact on Anglophone communities and Francophone communities. Recruiting 100 Anglophone immigrants to Toronto would have a minimal impact. On the other hand, recruiting 100 Francophone immigrants to a city such as Hawkesbury would have a major impact on the local Francophone community. We need to expand our knowledge of best practices that can be introduced to recruit Francophone immigrants to Ontario. Other provinces are making a major effort to welcome Francophone immigrants and help them to get settled. Ontario cannot take it for granted that Francophone immigrants will continue to settle here in the same numbers.

11.3 The Role of Community Organizations and Organizations in the Public and Broader Public Sectors in Welcoming Francophone Immigrants and Helping Them to get Settled

One interesting observation came out of the focus groups: approximately 50% of participants felt that their integration process had been successful from every standpoint. These individuals had made scant use of community group services. They had benefited from advice and support from their family and friends. Immigration involves a number of major steps; these include recruiting, welcoming, settlement, economic, cultural, and social integration, and putting down permanent roots. The research indicates that some Francophone immigrants need the services of specialized organizations very soon after their arrival in the province. These organizations include government organizations providing information on statutes and regulations, municipalities with economic development strategies for their territories, school boards and postsecondary institutions of learning that deliver educational services, and institutions in the broader public sector such as health centres. Generally speaking, these are services that community organizations are not able to deliver.

The research confirms that French-language services must be grouped together in a single place; immigrants who need ongoing services need a wide range of services. Delivering a critical mass of French-language services requires significant financial resources. As a result, we need to ask whether community organizations or organizations in the public and broader public sector are better equipped to deliver these services.

One avenue for research that was suggested is to expand our knowledge of the results achieved by those delivering services to Francophone immigrants in order to measure the impact of services to individual clients, where integration is concerned, in particular where economic integration is concerned. Well-structured research on this issue would make it possible to track the settlement, integration, and rootedness of Francophone immigrants and to identify critical areas where investments of public funds would have the greatest impact on the individual.

Francophone immigrants who need ongoing support in order to become integrated have great needs. The organizations that serve them must have the ability to offer accompaniment services over the longer term. Further research would make it possible to answer the following question: given the fact that the Francophone population is spread out over a vast area, in order to provide settlement and integration services to Francophone immigrants over the longer term, would it be better to invest in permanent Francophone institutions in the public or broader public sector or in community organizations that depend on yearly grants and contributions? This question is all the more relevant because the number of Francophones immigrating to Ontario is expected to increase.

11.4 The Efficacy of English Language Training Programs

Many of the participants in the research reported that their experience of learning English had not been satisfactory. Almost all of the welcoming and settlement organizations reported that English language learning was a major challenge. Our research did not explore this issue in depth. Discussions with officials from government programs confirmed that this is a complex issue. Given the increasing number of Francophone immigrants in Ontario, research into the efficacy of English learning techniques and the accessibility of these programs for Francophone immigrants would be appropriate. Several issues could be explored. For example, do Francophone immigrants and non-Francophone immigrants learn English differently? Does the fact that Canada has two official languages have a bearing on the motivation of Francophone immigrants living outside of Quebec to learn English? How can we ensure that Francophone immigrants learn English, while remaining within the sphere of the Francophone community?

11.5 The Challenges of Economic Integration

The research confirms that economic integration is a key issue for some Francophone immigrants. The research indicates that this issue exceeds the capability of community welcoming and settlement organizations. Our interviews confirmed that assistance with employability must involve more than writing a résumé and preparing for job interviews. The research suggests that the process by which public funds are invested in the economic integration of immigrants must be entirely re-thought and that the approaches that are adopted must be reviewed. The models currently in use do not appear to be achieving the desired results. We must expand our knowledge of this issue in order to find answers to a number of different questions. A few of these questions are: What are the determinants of successful economic integration for Francophone immigrants? What factors influence economic integration for Francophone immigrants, compared to Anglophone immigrants or immigrants whose language most commonly used is neither English nor French? Are there factors that are unique to Francophone immigrants? If so, what measures could be taken to influence these factors?

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
List of Tables
1. Mandate
2. Organization of the Report
3. Demographic Analysis
4. Review of the Literature
5. Survey of Settlement Service Organizations
6. Finding of Our Interviews with Service Providers
7. Findings of Interviews with Francophone Leaders
8. Findings of the Focus Groups
9. French Language Bridge Training Programs
10. Summary of Research Findings
11. Conclusion: Further Avenues for Research