The province of Quebec has passed the 8-million mark in population, and most of that growth has been spurred by immigration, according to the latest data from the provincial statistics bureau.
Quebec gained 76,000 residents in 2010, of which 54,000 were immigrants. The top sources of new arrivals to the province were from francophone countries such as France, Algeria, Morocco and Haiti.
This is a drastic change from the 7-million population milestone reached 20 years ago when natural birth (and death) rates were still propelling the growth of Canada’s second most populous province. The increase in immigration is necessary to keep the economy steady at current levels, as the baby-boomer generation is set to retire in the coming years.
However, increasing immigration and the resulting increase in diversity has presented many challenges to a province which considers preservation of Quebec language and culture a top priority.
Experts are calling on the provincial government to set an example in healthy integration. Currently, only six percent of civil servants are of minority background (including ethnic minorities, aboriginals and Anglophones) while these groups account for about 20 percent of the population.
There has been much controversy in the province recently over ideas of multiculturalism, but Quebec may find itself falling far behind if officials do not soon find better solutions on how to find, retain and integrate the skilled immigrants flocking to the province each year.
Source: Montreal Gazette