A decades old immigration funding agreement between the federal government and Quebec is causing a stir due to skyrocketing costs.
The program involves settlement funding for newcomers and last year awarded the province of Quebec $284.5 million which amounts to approximately $5100 for each new immigrant or refugee to the province. That amount is much larger than the approximately $3000 per newcomer received by British Columbia.
A new federal study has found that the deal, which was made between Quebec and the federal government back in the early 1990s, contains a little-known and very high-cost clause which allows for constant funding increases, regardless of immigration levels each year.
Over the years, the amount has gone up over 279 percent, despite Quebec seeing an increase of only 4 percent in terms of immigration. These numbers have sparked outrage, as they reflect a long-standing imbalance among provincial powers – most of which have been granted in an effort to appease the separatist movement in Quebec.
In this particular instance, however, the federal government is stepping in and has asked Quebec officials to account for where and how the resettlement funding is spent.
“Many immigrant communities in Quebec have raised with me their concern that [the full transfer is] not actually spent on settlement or integration,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who added that the government will face a challenge in keeping up with the escalation clause in the original agreement.
Source: Ottawa Citizen