MONTREAL -- The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government is gearing up to impose its Quebec 'values test' on new immigrants as of Jan. 1, 2020.

The test will be part of the province’s selection process and must be taken within a two-year period before candidates can apply “for selection for permanent immigration,” states the official Gazette of Quebec, the official publication of the Quebec government.

"If you compare our test to the test that already exists in Canada about knowing Canada, it's not very different," Quebec Premier François Legault said Wednesday.

"I think it's important in Quebec because we are a nation, we are a distinct society, we have our values, we have our charter."

The exam requires that anyone who wants to live in Quebec prove they have proficient knowledge of the province’s values. The test will be made up of 20 multiple choice and true/false questions.

Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette gives one example: "Since March 27, 2019, Bill 21, the secularism of the state, says every new police officer cannot wear religious symbols on the job. True or false?"

Other potential questions include: 

  1. Who is allowed to legally marry in Quebec? Circle the options: M/F, F/F, M/M
  2. Men and women in Quebec have the same rights. True or false?
  3. Identify the situation(s) where there could be discriminatory hiring practices: A woman who is pregnant, a person who doesn’t have the right qualifications or a person of colour.

Prospective immigrants wil have a total of 90 minutes to complete the exam.

It will cover topics like Quebec democracy, francophone culture, secularism, rights and responsibilities and equality between men and women.

To pass, new immigrants will have to receive a score of at least 75 per cent.

Parti Québécois (PQ) Immigration Critic Méganne Perry Mélançon says she's not convinced the test will work.

"We can assume some people are going to lie on the test," she said. "If they really, really want to come to Quebec, they are going to do everything they can."

Selected candidates will be allowed to obtain their Quebec selection certificate, which is issued according to several criteria, such as age, education and work experience. This certificate is what allows them to apply for permanent residency, and then citizenship.

"It's important, before deciding to come to Quebec, to know that if you expect to be in a job in a position of authority, you will not have the right to wear religious signs," Legault said.

"So, I think it's important that you understand the values of where you want to live."

Children or applicants who have a medical condition that could prevent them from taking the test will be exempted.

The Quebec Liberals argue the test serves no purpose.

“Really, the question for us is how necessary it is at this particular stage,” said Pierre Arcand, leader of the official opposition. “This values test doesn't seem to serve any need right now.”

People will have the option to take the values test or enroll in a course “prescribed by the minister pertaining in particular to those values.”

“In case of failure, it is possible to again take the assessment. Two weeks must elapse before a person…may again take the assessment,” the official Gazette of Quebec writes.

“After two failures, they may choose to participate in the course or again take the assessment a third time.”

If a person fails the exam repeatedly, they will have to resubmit their immigration application from scratch.