Senator Enverga questions why immigration policy should give extra credits for French and not English

It was recently announced by the Liberal government that changes would be made to the Express Entry Immigration Program, which program is largely responsible for attracting many highly skilled foreign workers to permanently live and work in Canada.  Through this program, applicants can score a maximum of 1,200 points depending on their education, training, work experience and language skills.  The proposed changes, announced by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, would look to unfairly award an additional 30 points to applicants with strong French language skills, while awarding no points to those who possess strong English language skills.  Concerned about the inequity demonstrated by the Trudeau government with regards to Canada’s two official languages, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Ontario Senator, asked the Government Representative in the Senate the following question:


Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Every year, Canada accepts thousands of people from all over the world, people with different mother tongues such as Spanish, Portuguese, Filipino, Arabic, Chinese, German and many other languages.

Earlier this week, Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen announced troubling changes to the Express Entry immigration program. It is largely through this program that Canada attracts highly skilled foreign workers who want to live and work permanently in Canada.

Under this Express Entry program, applicants can score up to 1,200 points, depending on their education, training, work experience and language skills. The newly announced and worrying changes to this program would see candidates receiving up to 30 additional points for those who possess strong French-language skills. Possessing strong English-language skills would not score you any additional points.

Could the government leader please make inquiries and let us know if Canada is a truly bilingual nation. Why is the Trudeau government only awarding additional points for those who possess strong French-language skills and is not awarding additional points to those candidates who possess strong English-language skills?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I welcome the honourable senator’s question and want to assure him — and, of course, I will be happy to convey the intent of his question to the minister—that the adjustments being made are to ensure that there is a reward given to French-language capacity in our immigration program so that it too is a useful tool of nation building.