Explained: The ‘values test’ that immigrants to Quebec, Canada must now pass

Interesting that the test is getting picked up in Indian media:

Quebec, Canada’s largest province, will soon require potential immigrants to take a “values test” as part of a new policy. Quebec is the only province in Canada where French speakers are in a majority.

“Effective January 1, 2020, a new selection condition related to the learning of democratic values and Québec values expressed in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms will come into effect in order to promote better integration of immigrants into Québec society,” a statement issued by Quebec’s immigration department said.

According to Canada statistics, there are over 22,000 (includes non-immigrant, immigrants and non-permanent residents) Indians in Quebec, and as of 2016, there were about 17,800 Indian immigrants (those who have Canadian citizenship) living in Quebec.

What is the values test?

The values test for immigrants was an election promise made by the ruling Coalition Avenir Quebec party. It will apply to immigrants in the “qualified worker” or “economic” category. Coalition Avenir Quebec is a rightwing nationalist and autonomist party that has been in power in the Quebec provincial government since 2018.

On Wednesday, the Montreal Gazette reported that Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette refused to make public the questions that would be asked in the values test, but released a sample of five questions out of a potential pool of about 100 drafted by a private consulting firm that the government has hired.

Candidates will be asked a total of 20 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and will need to secure 75 per cent marks in order to pass. The test will last 90 minutes, and will be unsupervised, which means that candidates can take it remotely even from their homes.

While making the announcement, Jolin-Barrette said that the questions would not be very much tougher than those the immigrants answer to qualify for Canadian citizenship.

Candidates can prepare for the test by taking online tutorials in the language of their choice at no cost.

In case the candidate fails the test, he/she can retake it after a period of two weeks. If the candidate fails twice, he/she will need to take a course prescribed by the Minister in Quebec or take the test a third time and renounce to obtain the learning attestation by participating in the course. The candidate needs to take the test within 60 days following the date of the Minister’s request.

What questions were asked in the released sample?

The sample includes questions such as:

a) In Quebec, women and men have the same rights and this is inscribed in law. True or False

b) Choose the illustration or illustrations that indicate who is allowed to marry in Quebec. The illustrations depict: two men, two women, and one man, two women, a man and a woman, and two men and one woman

c) Identify which situations involved discrimination. A job refused: to a pregnant woman, to a person lacking the required diploma and to a person because of their ethnic background

d) Since March 27, 2019 by virtue of the secularism of state law, all new police officers may not wear religious symbols. True. False.

d) What is the official language of Quebec? French, Spanish, English, French and English.

What is the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms?

The values test is based on the democratic values mentioned in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

As per the charter, “In exercising his fundamental freedoms and rights, a person shall maintain a proper regard for democratic values, state laicity, public order and the general well-being of the citizens of Québec. In this respect, the scope of the freedoms and rights, and limits to their exercise may be fixed by law.”

The Quebec charter was unveiled in 2013, with the aim of creating a secular society.

How has the idea of a values test been received in Canada?

An editorial in Le Journal De Quebec said: “I’m wondering. Here in Quebec, how many would pass this test of values? And how many disagree with the values that are presented as common to all Quebeckers? I am not sure that these values are shared by as many people as we think. I suspect that the results would be surprising, if not disturbing, depending on the language spoken, the religion of age and sex.”

Another editorial in the La Presse took a different line: “Whether we agree with the CAQ’s (Coalition Avenir Quebec) measures of identity or not, one thing remains: immigration is a two-way street. The host society has a responsibility, the newcomer has one too. The attestation of apprenticeship of Quebec values respects this principle.”

Source: Explained: The ‘values test’ that immigrants to Quebec, Canada must now pass

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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