Premier François Legault, left, asked Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette to come up with the values test. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec to require values test for new immigrants

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The government of Quebec is moving ahead with its contentious plan to require that newcomers to the French-speaking Canadian province submit to a values test, provincial authorities announced Wednesday.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, new immigrants to Quebec will have to demonstrate that they understand and accept “democratic values and Quebec values” in order to obtain a selection certificate, the first step toward permanent residency for immigrants wanting to live in the province.

The test was a key promise made by Coalition Avenir Québec of Premier François Legault in last year’s election.

“I think it’s important when you settle in a new society to understand its values,” Legault told reporters Wednesday.

“If you want to come to live in Quebec, you need to know the values in Quebec. You must know that in Quebec, women are equal to men, the principle of secularism is important, that there is a separation between the state and religion.”

While exact details of the test have yet to be revealed, immigrants will be expected to obtain “an attestation of learning about democratic values and the Quebec values expressed by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms,” according to an official government publication released on Wednesday.

Only economic class immigrants and their adult family members will be required to pass the test. The test requirement does not apply to immigrants coming to Quebec as refugees or through family reunification.

Applicants will have to get 75 per cent of the answers right to pass. If they fail, they can take the test second time.

After a second failure, the applicant can take a class or try a third time.

The Quebec government, which has wide-ranging immigration powers, also wants to reduce the number of immigrants to the province, as well as increase the proportion of economic class immigrants among those it grants residency in the province.

With files from Radio-Canada and CBC News

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