Montreal

Quebec to launch consultation on immigration and diversity

The provincial government is getting ready to launch a consultation later this month, asking Quebecers what they think about immigration, diversity and inclusion.

Government wants input from Quebecers on how to make province more welcoming for immigrants

CBC’s National Assembly reporter Ryan Hicks sits down with Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil to talk about why the government is launching a public consultation on immigration, diversity and inclusion. 2:23

The provincial government is getting ready to launch a consultation later this month, asking Quebecers what they think about immigration, diversity and inclusion.

The measure comes as the government prepares to overhaul its immigration policy.

Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil says one of the biggest challenges that new Quebecers face is finding a job.

“Integration into the workforce, recognition of professional competencies — that is always the number one issue and it is the number one issue that we want to address," Weil told CBC in an exclusive interview.

She also said it will be a priority for the province to recognize foreign credentials.

“It remains a huge frustration for people who come from other countries with quality baggage and we have to find way a for people to contribute.”

Weil says if new immigrants can’t find work, they feel shut out and excluded from Quebec society.

She says it’s critical employers also be involved in the discussions around the new immigration policy.

“The second generation [of immigrants]...are not finding jobs at the level of their competencies because they may be from visible minorities or their names don’t resonate as French speakers. So it’s important that we develop measures and have an action plan,” Weil said, adding that she does not want to get into a debate over a secular charter.

“I think we have to talk about les vraies affaires (the real issues)… A charter of values is not les vraies affaires,” she said.

“People do not want a divisive debate. They want a responsible debate.”

PQ leadership candidate Bernard Drainville is set to announce a new version of his secular charter bill on Thursday.

He says integration and the secularism go hand in hand.

“I strongly agree that a neutral state is the necessary complement to diversity.”

Consultation on the Liberal government's new policy on immigration, diversity and inclusion begins at the end of January.

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