Francophone immigration to P.E.I. almost triples

·1 min read
Angie Cormier expects the number of francophone immigrants to continue to grow. (Submitted by CIFÎPÉ - image credit)
Angie Cormier expects the number of francophone immigrants to continue to grow. (Submitted by CIFÎPÉ - image credit)

La Coopérative d'intégration francophone, which provides settlement services for francophone immigrants to P.E.I., is dealing with a sharp spike in arrivals.

CIF director Angie Cormier said the group had 200 clients last year, up from about 75 just two years before.

"It just exploded last year," said Cormier.

"[It] is wonderful for us, but it's also causing us a bit of strain because we're still building, let's say, our resources and our personnel."

CIF has been getting support from Immigrant and Refugee Services Association P.E.I. and P.E.I. Community Navigators in helping the newcomers to settle.

The challenge is not just the increased numbers. The immigrants are coming from new areas. Traditionally they would be from France and Belgium, but more are now coming from countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Cameroon.

'Our people come with jobs'

The province has been working with CIF to grow the number of francophone immigrants, because they are needed to fill jobs that require knowledge of French.

"Our people come with jobs, always," said Cormier.

"There are shortages all over the province, especially in education and health, and we're working really hard with the province on recruiting efforts."

Even with many of the immigrants settling outside of the Charlottetown area, finding a place for them to live has been one of the biggest challenges.

"Trying to find housing is a nightmare," she said.

"The housing crisis, we are deep into it. As much as we want more people to come."

Despite the difficulties with housing, Cormier expects the number of francophone immigrants to continue to grow, because the demand for them to fill vacant jobs remains high.

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