Quebec To Have A ‘Values Test’ For All Newcomers

People attend a demonstration opposing Quebec's Law 21 in Montreal, Sunday, October 27, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

QUEBEC CITY: Quebec is moving ahead with its controversial values test for newcomers wishing to settle in the province but the new requirements are less strict than what was initially proposed.

Starting Jan. 1., anyone seeking permanent residency in Quebec will need to score at least 75 per cent on a 20-question, multiple-choice exam, to be completed in 90 minutes, Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced Wednesday.

“The successful integration of immigrants increases their contribution to the dynamism of Quebec’s economy,’’ Jolin-Barrette said during a news conference.

The test was a key component of the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s 2018 election platform on immigration. The party’s campaign pledge spoke to fears in the province that immigrants weren’t properly integrating into Quebec society. Would-be immigrants would be at risk of deportation if they failed the exam, voters were told.

But more than one year after being elected, the CAQ government decided on a softer approach. The details of the test rules were published Wednesday in the province’s Official Gazette, but the wording of the questions was not.

Simon Jolin-Barrette Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness arrives to unveil new measures, including a test for immigrants, Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Nonetheless, Jolin-Barrette brought some examples of test questions for journalists during his news conference in Quebec City.

“In Quebec, women and men have the same rights and this equality is written into law. True or False?’’ reads one example.

Would-be immigrants will beable to take the test online, either in their home country or in Quebec. If a prospective immigrant fails, they will be able to take it again. If they fail a second time, they will have the option to sit through a 24-hour class on Quebec values.

If the test-taker is already in Quebec and fails the exam twice, they will be required to sit through the course. If the test-taker is in another country and fails twice, they can take it one more time or register for the course once they come to Quebec.

Anyone who fails all the steps will not be allowed to immigrate to Quebec or will be subject to deportation. Butthose who fail will be able to start the test-taking process again. Premier Francois Legault said it was important that those wishing to live in Quebec understand the province’s values, namely gender equality and secularism of the state.

“The test is implying that immigrants have a problem when it comes to our values,” said Haroun Bouazzi, co-president of the Association of Muslims and Arabs for Laicity in Quebec.