MONCTON (GNB) – The federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for the Canadian francophonie and immigration will be meeting on March 30 and 31 in Moncton to discuss francophone immigration.

“Immigration helps to increase our social and cultural resources and has a definite beneficial effect on economic growth in New Brunswick,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault, whose responsibilities also include immigration. “Your government sees immigration as a tool for economic development with a positive impact on our two linguistic communities, which is why the discussions and decisions arising from this forum are so important.”

Francophone immigration has been of interest to many governments in Canada for several years. In 2015, the number of francophone immigrants outside Quebec represented 1.3 per cent of all newcomers. The federal government and several provincial governments have set specific targets for francophone immigration and have adopted means of achieving them.

On July 21, 2016, during the meeting of the Council of the Federation, the premiers of the 13 provinces and territories agreed to ask the federal government to increase the level of francophone immigration outside Quebec to five per cent. The federal target is currently 4.4 per cent. New Brunswick has set an objective of 33 per cent francophone immigrants by 2020. Ontario’s target is five per cent, and Manitoba’s is seven per cent.

This first forum will enable the ministers to meet and take stock of the situation, to find out about each other’s practices, and to discuss means of working together better to enable everyone to obtain results in this sector.

“This ministerial forum is a preliminary initiative designed to establish long-term co-operation between the provinces, territories, and the federal government on francophone immigration,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also minister responsible for La Francophonie. “The discussion and presentations will give us an update on the possibilities and issues related to francophone immigration, while fostering ongoing exchanges between communities, researchers, and governments.”

Participants will also establish strategies designed to expand the scope of government efforts and will support the implementation of federal strategies to achieve their objectives.