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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 three French-language postsecondary institutions that offer bridge training programs for foreign-trained professionals in Ontario took part in the research: Collège Boréal, La Cité collégiale, and the Alfred Campus of Guelph University. French-language bridge training programs are a fairly recent phenomenon in Ontario; most of these programs were created between 2008 and 2010. The oldest programs were introduced between 2003 and 2004 in the form of pilot projects and became regular programs around 2008. Descriptions of the bridge training programs are available on the websites of these institutions and are therefore not provided here.

Approximately 400 Francophone immigrants received support from these institutions to enter the labour market. It is not possible to calculate the benefit of the bridge programs alone, because immigrants also take Occupation-Specific Language Training (OSLT), Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), and Enhanced Language Training (ELT) with an employability component, which in some cases included a supervised work term.

During the interviews, key respondents from these institutions confirmed that the challenges encountered by immigrants related to their knowledge of the English language, their lack of Canadian experience, and their lack of professional references from Canada, other than academic credentials. Students who register in these programs come from North Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa. Many clients come from Latin America, the West Indies, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Recently, there has been an increase in clients from Asia.

Respondents report that approximately 80% of the graduates of bridge training programs find employment. Approximately 20% are still looking for work for a variety of reasons, including insufficient knowledge of English, difficulty adapting to Canadian business culture, and onerous family responsibilities.

Not all students registered in a bridge training program achieve their objective. Some drop out of the program due to multiple personal, family, and systemic challenges: learning difficulties, adaptation difficulties, psychological problems due to trauma, difficulty obtaining equivalence for foreign training and experience, restricted access to certain professions, a difficult personal economic situation, and so forth.

The challenges that these professionals encounter in becoming integrated often have to do with their language skills in English and their ability to adapt to the Canadian business culture or with certain forms of discrimination that persist in certain communities and sectors. The main difficulties in finding a work placement are the negative perception that certain employers have of immigrants, particularly where their knowledge of English is concerned. Another challenge mentioned was the inability of some students to take constructive criticism from employers during work terms.

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