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  • Writer's pictureEva Tomlin

Quebec Government Allocates $603 Million to Bolster French Language

The Legault government has unveiled plans to inject $603 million over the next five years into measures aimed at strengthening the French language, which it argues is facing a decline.

A significant portion of the funds, totaling $320 million, will be directed towards assisting temporary immigrant workers and asylum seekers in learning French. French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge revealed the action plan on Sunday during a news conference in Montreal.

This financial support will be channeled through the Francisation Québec agency, with the goal of increasing its capacity. Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette noted that the investment will allow the agency to expand its pool of teachers from 500 to 750, thereby reducing waiting lists for individuals and companies seeking French language services.

The creation of the Francisation Québec agency was part of Bill 96, which revamped the Charter of the French Language in 2022. Since its inception, the agency has aided a total of 70,000 newcomers in learning French, a significant increase from the 28,000 served by other services in 2017.

Among the 21 new measures outlined in the 17-page French action plan, the allocation for immigration emerges as the largest chunk of new spending. Some initiatives, such as increasing tuition fees for out-of-province and international students and enforcing more French-language studies for them, are already underway.

Additionally, the plan includes new French language requirements for temporary immigrants and economic immigration, areas which Quebec has jurisdiction over.

Roberge emphasized to reporters that while the Coalition Avenir Québec government took steps to protect French with the adoption of Bill 96, it recognized the need for further action.

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