According to l’Institut de la statistique, the drop in Quebec’s population growth may in part be caused by fewer people immigrating to Quebec. In 2013, the province’s population only increased by about 63,000, which signified a decrease of 10,000 people compared to 2012.
The majority of Quebec’s immigrants are coming from China, France and Algeria. Quebec also holds the largest proportion of Arabs in Canada relative to its population. Statistics Canada reports that the number of Quebeckers who identify themselves as Muslims has doubled between 2001 and 2011, reaching a total of more than 200,000.
However, the challenges of finding a job and integrating into the workforce may be one of the factors deterring immigrants from settling in Quebec. Many Arab immigrants from Northern Africa, although educated and fluent in French, have faced difficulty in securing positions based on their qualifications.
In addition, in September 2013, Quebec announced that The Charter of Quebec Values would ban state employees, including police officers, doctors, and teachers, from wearing headscarves, yarmulkes, or obvious crosses and other religious symbols. This announcement raised much concern over the Quebec government’s failure to accommodate and potential breach of constitutional rights. Ultimately, this plan was not implemented, and the proposed Bill died as of the 2014 election, which was won by the Quebec Liberal Party.
Nonetheless, the drop in immigration rates may in part also be related to the fall-out from these proposed government plans to restrict the wearing of religious symbols and the negative message it sent to new immigrants, who decided against immigrating to Quebec.
CBC News, “Quebec to launch consultation on immigration and diversity” (14 January 2015), online: CBC.
CBC News, “Quebec population growth slows due to fewer immigrants” (9 December 2014), online: CBC.
LuAnn LaSalle, “Cogeco CEO Louis Audet says Quebec’s proposed values charter harmful to economy” (28 January 2014),online: The Canadian Press.
Lysiane Gagnon, “How Quebec chooses immigrants” (20 November 2013), online: The Globe and Mail.