Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.
Yesterday, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the honourable Ahmed Hussen, announced the creation of a francophone immigration policy hub, at a round table with francophone organizations and related partners.
The hub will ensure a more coordinated approach on francophone immigration policy outside Quebec. I am very happy about this news, but I have some concerns.
Could the Government Representative in the Senate ask Minister Hussen whether the hub will help increase francophone immigration to British Columbia?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. She’s quite right that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Minister Hussen, made a commitment to supporting and enhancing the vitality of Canada’s francophone communities by increasing the number of French-speaking newcomers.
As the senator referenced in her question, the francophone immigration policy hub, which is being established within the department, is the centre that will enhance collaboration among departments, the provinces and territories as well as community stakeholders to develop action plans that put meat on the bones of the commitment the minister has made.
The policy hub is also working to finalize, by October 2018, a departmental strategy to reach the francophone immigration objectives. This objective was supported in the investments that have been co-announced by the Minister of Heritage with Minister Hussen of $40.8 million over five years to support a consolidated francophone integration pathway and coordinating immigration policies and programs to assure French-speaking immigration.
I cannot anticipate for today what the impact of this might be in British Columbia, but I can assure the honourable senator — and all senators who will be interested in this area for their respective regions — that this is a pan-Canadian approach that will involve stakeholders from provinces and communities across Canada.
Senator Jaffer: I would also like to know whether Franco-Columbians can expect the francophone immigration policy hub to help strengthen their community.
Senator Harder: Of course, that is the objective of the government and of the minister, and he and his department are working faithfully with the stakeholder groups.