More training in French for Anglo workers requested in the face of the shortage

More training in French for Anglo workers requested in the face of the shortage

In a report published on Monday, an organization representing English-speaking employers and workers in Quebec asks the Quebec government to strengthen support in French for them in professions regulated by professional orders.

This non-profit organization, known as the Provincial Round Table on Employment (PERT), is mandated and funded by the Secretariat for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers. Its purpose is to relay to the government the political demands of English-speaking workers in Quebec.

It asks the government to grant professional orders the necessary resources so that they can offer more French language support to their candidates and members. Especially since with Bill 96, “the demand for courses in French will increase”, according to the director of engagement and communications.

There is currently no comprehensive approach to support Quebecers who are professionally qualified to practice their respective professions, but who need to improve their French language skills.

Nicholas Salter, CEO of PERT

“We fear this will further exacerbate the current labor shortage,” he said in a press release. This is particularly the case in the fields of health and social assistance, which have 37,120 vacant positions. These professions are precisely regulated by numerous professional orders.

According to the PERT, the examination of the Quebec Office of the French language (OQLF) represents a first barrier for allophones and Anglophones to integrate professional orders. In addition, only 14 preparatory courses exist across Quebec.

“It represents an obstacle for certain qualified individuals, but who have difficulties with French”, analyzes Chad Walcott, director of engagement and communications at PERT, in an interview with Métro. Especially in the regions, where its training is less accessible than in Montreal.

There is also “a lack of bridging programs that allow professionals to work in their profession while receiving the necessary French training to pass the OQLF French language exam,” according to the PERT report.

Free French training

“We are asking to improve these services [de formation en français]. We need to invest more in access to these programs,” says Chad Walcott. PERT therefore made 10 recommendations “to better support [les apprenants du français] in their ability to obtain and maintain their professional certifications”.

One of them would be to offer free, multi-level training in French to anyone wishing to practice a regulated profession in Quebec. PERT would like to expand eligibility for French learning programs and “universalize access to financial assistance programs” to integrate these courses.

“There is concern among people already in the profession, who have not maintained a sufficient level [en français]. They are afraid of losing their professional licence”, analyzes Mr. Walcott. The PERT report suggests that online French learning resources be more visible, more accessible and can be done continuously, throughout a professional career.

“There is an opening [du gouvernement] but we also want to see action. We will continue to make demands,” says Mr. Walcott.

According to the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI), Jean Boulet, the program Francization Quebec which will be implemented in March 2023 “will help improve and simplify access to francization resources”.

“Professional orders that wish to see French courses adapted to their workplace can submit a request to the ministry,” he told Subway. The development of specialized French courses by field as well as “formulas of francization with immersion in employment” are also part of the major ongoing projects of the MIFI.

A lack of available data

The PERT report does not include figures on the percentage of Anglophones and Allophones in regulated professions in Quebec.

This lack thus “makes it difficult to determine the extent of language support needed for French-language learners in Quebec.”

PERT then asks the government to collect and publish this data in order to be able to better identify the number of workers concerned and to define appropriate solutions for their learning of the French language.

Source

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