MONTREAL -- The proportion of mother-tongue English speakers in Quebec‘s civil service hasn't increased since the 1970s.

It's still languishing at around 1 per cent, according to a report from Concordia University’s Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN).

“It’s something we’re looking at,” Christopher Skeete, the MNA responsible for the English Secretariat, said Thursday in Quebec City, acknowledging it’s a longstanding problem.

The report, titled ‘Employment of English Speakers in Quebec’s Public Service, was commissioned by the Quebec government’s English Secretariat.

The authors write that English-speakers have “long been underrepresented in the QPS," a reality that's existed since the 1940s, “despite evidence of some interest among English speakers in working for the government of Quebec."

Christopher Skeete says the issue came up several times during his consultation sessions with Anglo communities over the past few months.

A common refrain he said, was their level of French “is just not high enough to be admitted into the civil service, so we have to fix the level of French that English speaking Quebecers have.”

Recommendations to the government include:

  • implement action plans to encourage the hiring of English-speakers
  • encourage English-speakers to apply for government jobs
  • establish clear goals, integration measures and budgets to address the issue

“It’s a starting point," the authors say, also noting research would be required to determine “whether creating more public sector jobs where most English speakers currently live,” for example, in the Montreal region, would help with recruitment.

Quebec's English Secretariat has no definitive plan yet to address the problem, but Skeete said the issue is on his "top-5" list of priorities.