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Canada to Attract French Speaking Immigrants to Rural Prince Edward Island

Canada's new government has announced support and funding for a project organized by Carrefour d'immigration rurale (CIR) Evangeline in Wellington, P.E.I. (Canadian Province of Prince Edward Island), to assist in attracting immigrants to this rural Francophone community. A funding of $49,150 provided by Canada's New Government through the Official Languages Action Plan, is being used for a number of activities including community and school awareness programs, community cultural events and promotion of the Evangeline communities to immigrants and potential immigrants.

The goal is to welcome and integrate families and individuals into the community. When immigrants know they are welcome and there is a plan to support them, this reflects well on the community and can go a long way in attracting more newcomers.

Francophone refers to people whose cultural background is primarily associated with French language, regardless of ethnic and geographical differences. Mainly or partially francophone countries include France, Belgium, Canada (the province of Quebec is mostly francophone, and there are large French-speaking communities in Ontario and New Brunswick), Switzerland, Haiti, Lebanon and the French West Indies, several countries in Africa that are former French or Belgian colonies, and Tahiti in the South Pacific. These countries are members of the Francophonie organization.

"Canada's New Government is committed to helping small rural communities such as those of the Evangeline region in Prince Edward Island attract newcomers, and build a strong economy," said Canadian Immigrant Minister Finley. "It is especially important for us to work with small Francophone communities to ensure they have a solid future."

With the funding provided through the Official Languages Action Plan, the CIR Evangeline is raising the visibility of the Francophone and immigrant sectors of the community by improving integration information online and promoting cultural activities for immigrants in the rural community. CIR Evangeline will also be assembling a resources library for the local school and conducting educational awareness programs. These efforts will help to strengthen the community as a whole.

"Thanks to the work of Carrefour d'immigration rurale Evangeline, this community of about 1,000 families has been able to reach out world wide to show how the proud Acadian heritage is alive and well in P.E.I. and can offer a unique quality of life not found anywhere else," said Canadian Immigration Minister Finley.

Carrefour d'Immigration rurale Evangeline was established to encourage the social and economic development of the rural Francophone community in Prince Edward Island. The group recruits and welcomes newcomers to the community as well as establishing programs to encourage the retention and employment opportunities for immigrants.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is committed to supporting the vitality of Francophone minority communities. CIC shares the objectives of the Official Languages Action Plan with respect to working with partners to develop pilot projects to foster immigration to Francophone Minority Communities. In September of 2006, the Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities was announced. The five year plan seeks to increase immigration of French-speaking people to Francophone communities outside Quebec, and to help them to settle in their new surroundings. The Plan also suggests strengthening a number of integration services, including language and skills training, community awareness and local support networks. Working in partnership with organizations such as CIR is a concrete example of how the objectives of the Plan come to life.

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