MONTREAL -- Reactions to the new values test for immigrants were mixed in Montreal on Wednesday.

Making sure newcomers understand Quebec's laws and customs is acceptable, as long as it's not used to discriminate against them, according to Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR).

"There's one very very important value of any liberal democracy since the second war and is now considered essential: it's the protection of minorities and the protection of minority rights," he said.

Stewart Istvanffy, an immigration lawyer, was suspicious of the government's entire approach to immigration, including the values test.

"I don't think we need a values test, but if it's just a piece of paper, you check off the boxes, some people accept it, I don't really care," he said. "My big worry about the CAQ is their general take on immigration and thinking somehow that immigrants aren't integrating well into Quebec."

"What I do have problems with," the immigration lawyer added. "Is this kind of an idea we'll have a values test because immigrants don't have good values, and somehow they're not integrating well."

Quebec's Employer's Council said it doesn't have a problem with the values test.

"It's about the same values that are asked when you ask for Canadian citizenship from the federal government, so at this time, we don't see it as a problem for immigrants to come to Quebec," said Denis Hamel, Vice-President of the Quebec Employer's Council.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec, who came to power in 2018, campaigned on reducing the number of immigrants, imposing a values test and adopting Bill 21, which bans people in the public sector from wearing religious symbols. 

With files from CTV Montreal's Stephane Giroux