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The CAQ Says New Arrivals To Quebec Cannot Receive Government Services In English

An update from the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration.
The CAQ Says New Arrivals To Quebec Cannot Receive Government Services In English
  • The CAQ government announced today that immigrants and other newcomers will not be able to receive government services in English.
  • Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration made the announcement after a report released by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (CSLF).
  • Details about the report and Jolin-Barrette's announcement below.

The CAQ government is looking to make an example of crown corporations by laying down the law of la langue, particularly when it comes to government services in English.

New arrivals to Quebec will be made to receive government services in French only, after a new decision by Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration.

And if you're wondering when the CAQ changed the Ministry of "Immigration, Inclusion and Diversity" to the Ministry of "Immigration, Francisation and Integration" - that's a whole other story

This new announcement by the CAQ is less of a new policy and more of a firm stand on Title 1, Chapter 4 of Law 101, wherein "the public utility enterprises, the professional orders and the members of the professional orders must arrange to make their services available in the official language."

What the CAQ is insisting now is that anyone who is a new arrival to Quebec must receive their government services in French, in hopes of bridging the "gaps" in French-language services that were recently highlighted by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (CSLF).

In a new report by the CSLF, gaps in linguistic policies, as well as the absence of linguistic policies in general, were found within some Ministries and agencies within Quebec.  

According to this report by the CSLF, 90% of government employees are on board with enforcing or implementing official language policies within their ministries or agencies. 

Specific shortcomings listed within the report led the Council to "formulate recommendations regarding the use of French in the administration," some of which include:

  • Introduction of Francisation committees within the administration
  • Obligation to know French first and foremost with staff in contact with the public
  • Francisation committees are responsible for establishing criteria and procedures for verifying "knowledge of the official language appropriate to the function."

There is also a focus on forms and documentation, as we've seen in recent months with the push to have Hydro-Quebec send out only French invoices unless a client specifically asks for English.


The minister was sure to mention that the historical Anglophone minority has the right to communicate in English, as do Indigenous communities, but that other newcomers, such as immigrants, should not "benefit from this historical exception."

Which is how provincial bodies or Crown corporations will set a standard and be the exemplar going forward, as these "gaps" are tightened and English is pushed out... except for those who are meant to "benefit" from these "historical exceptions."

In a conversation on TVA's La Joute, former MP for Outremont and NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, was quick to point out the problems with this stance.

In particular, he mentions immigrants from countries like the Netherlands or Australia, who could feel inclined to abandon their immigration process if they face a wall of French bureaucracy without the confidence to speak well or the ability to properly understand the French language.

Moreover, as mentioned above, if the protection of the French language requires that French be the official language of communication of the state... that is already the case, as is laid out by the law. 

Meaning, if the Minister is not amending the law or enacting new things that are not in the law... what is this announcement really about?

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