Understanding Quebec’s Own Immigration Policy in Canada
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Understanding Quebec’s Own Immigration Policy in Canada

Peter Fey



Immigration Policy in Canada

Quebec, as a result of its diverse selection criteria, distinctive immigration programs, and ability to select skilled workers from abroad holds more immigration influence than any other province.

In comparison to other provinces in Canada, Quebec places more of an emphasis on French and Francophone culture, which may make it easier for immigrants from similar backgrounds to immigrate, settle, and live there. This is especially true if they can meet the province’s economic requirements. Thus, for anyone wishing to move to the province, it is an important step to understand why Quebec’s immigration policy differs from that of the rest of Canada.

The Formation of Quebec

Older than English Canada, Quebec has a distinct historical and cultural history. Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, and diplomat founded Quebec in 1608 with the help of 28 men, claiming the province as a part of New France.

The integration of Quebec into the Canadian dominion was never as thorough as it was with English Canada since the Quebecois still adhere to many of the French-introduced languages, customs, legal systems, and religious practices.

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Quebec attempted to forge democratic links with France, the United Kingdom, and the United States in 1961, but the federal government stepped in, claiming there could only be “one interlocutor” with other nations. The incident would spark discussion over Quebec and French Canadians’ status in the Confederation. Hence, the first immigration ministry in Quebec was established in 1968 as a result of these cultural factors and a change in Canada’s immigration laws.


Quebec’s Negotiation for Immigration

The Constitution Act of 1867 stipulates that immigration occupies a distinctive place among powers and is subject to both federal and provincial control; nonetheless, Quebec currently has the most influence over immigration in any province.

The Quebec government renegotiated its provincial authority four times between 1971 and 1991 in an effort to assert greater control over immigration issues. Only small administrative adjustments were made by the first two agreements, the Lang-Cloutier Agreement (1971) and the Andras-Bienvenue Agreement (1975). However, the 1975 accord represented a significant turning point in terms of immigration selection. It compelled Canada to take into account, for the first time, Quebec’s viewpoint about each new immigration application on its territory. The Cullen-Couture Agreement (1978) advocated for more cooperation between the two governments by requiring the same for temporary immigrants.

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However, the most significant agreement reached between Canada and Quebec in regard to permanent and temporary immigration was the Gagnon-Tremblay-McDougall Agreement (1991), sometimes referred to as the Canada-Quebec Accord. The province was granted extensive authority under this document, enabling it to admit candidates who could work. This agreement gave the province entire control over the decision-making, francization, and selection of economic immigrants.

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