Quebec has launched a new portal for anyone who wants to learn French
Published Monday, May 29, 2023 12:11PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, May 30, 2023 8:35AM EDT
As of June 1, anyone wishing to learn or improve their command of the French language will have to register via the Francization Québec portal, the government's new single point of service for coordinating all French language learning services.
Christine Fréchette, Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, and Jean-François Roberge, her colleague responsible for the French language, launched the platform on Monday morning.
The new service, which was developed over the past year in response to the new right created by Bill 96 to free access to francization services, will manage all French-language learning services for new arrivals, future immigrants wishing to learn French ahead of their arrival, workers and Quebec residents who do not speak French.
The whole process will be rolled out in different phases, Minister Fréchette emphasized, in order to simplify the process, harmonize the services offered and improve customer service.
Financial support will also be offered to clients who need it. The Francisation Québec programs will replace the current programs, the Programme d'intégration linguistique des immigrants and the Programme d'aide financière pour l'intégration linguistique des immigrants.
Although they speak of an unprecedented "craze" for francization, to the point where they expect more people to sign up for the various services over the coming months, the ministers have no targets or projections for the number of francization candidates in the province.
"The government will adapt" to demand, and Francisation Québec is "continuously recruiting" teachers to meet it, Fréchette said. Her department currently employs 550 teachers.
"As current francization services were fragmented due to the large number of partners, it was more difficult to obtain data on the number of people in francization," she explained. With Francisation Québec, we're going to consolidate, monitor and centralize this data, which will give us a more accurate picture of the situation."
In 2021-2022, more than 37,000 people took part in a francization process, an increase of 16 per cent over the previous year. For 2022-2023, the increase was even more pronounced, at 25 per cent, with a peak of nearly 46,000 registrants.
Fréchette attributes this growth to her government's investment in francization, which doubled between 2018 and 2022.
"In 2017, the Auditor General had said that the organization of francization services was a real fiasco," the minister recalled.
"The Premier reiterated: we are the government that will have recognized the reality, named the decline of French and taken concrete action to remedy it," added Roberge.
Francization services will continue to be offered online or face-to-face, in the workplace or even in certain early childhood settings, on a full-time or part-time basis, all to meet the needs of as many people as possible.
This report was written with the financial assistance of the Meta Bourse and The Canadian Press for news and was first published in French by The Canadian Press on May 29, 2023.