No French language testing available for immigrants in Yukon

Francophone immigrants in the North face higher fees and more hurdles when trying to complete language requirements for permanent residency. Proving language proficiency is part of the process and while English testing is in done in Whitehorse, francophone immigrants must travel to Vancouver.

Francophone immigrants in Yukon must travel to Vancouver to complete residency requirements

Chrystelle Houdry (left) says she will have to fly south, because French language tests are not available in Whitehorse. English tests are. (submitted)

Francophone immigrants in the North face higher fees and more challenges when trying to complete language requirements for permanent residency.

To become a permanent resident in Canada, newcomers must prove language proficiency in one of two official languages by scoring high on a test recognized by the Canadian government. 

A Radio-Canada investigation revealed the cost of doing the test in French is higher than in English, across the country. French tests can cost up to $225 more. 

For newcomers who settle in the North, there's an additional hurdle — they have to travel south to take the test in French.

​"The English test, if you want to do it in Whitehorse you can because it happens about once a month," said Chrystelle Houdry in Whitehorse.

"You can have the English test, but not the French one."

Houdry will have to travel to Vancouver for the test, which she estimates could cost about $1,300 — for the flight, accommodations and the actual test.

"It's a lot for us," she said. 

Seeking solutions

Frédéric Nolet of the Association franco-yukonnaise said Houdry is not alone — in the last few weeks, he's heard of several French-speaking immigrants in the territory in similar circumstances.
Frédéric Nolet of the Association franco-yukonnaise said he'll look to see if there are other options for francophone immigrants in Yukon. (Philippe Morin)

"As far as I know, all the territories are in the same situation, and I think Newfoundland and Labrador, too, has the same problem with the French test," Nolet said.

Nolet said his office will look to see if there are any solutions for francophone immigrants in the Yukon.

Canada's Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is also looking into the difference in cost between English and French language testing. 


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