Legault says Quebec can't take in more immigrants, after feds set 500K target by 2025

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault is maintaining that the province cannot accept more than 50,000 immigrants a year despite Ottawa's plans to significantly raise the country's immigration levels.

Legault told reporters today that the federal government needs to understand that Quebec is facing a special challenge to preserve the French language.

The premier's comments are in reaction to the federal government announcing Tuesday that it intends to welcome about 500,000 annual newcomers to Canada by 2025. By comparison, the Immigration Department says 405,000 permanent residents were admitted last year.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa today that immigration done correctly can help address labour shortages in Quebec and that Ottawa would be there to help the province create more economic growth.

Quebec's immigration agreement with Ottawa permits the province to welcome a percentage of newcomers equal to its demographic weight in the country — 23 per cent — which would equal about 115,000 people should Canada accept 500,000 immigrants a year.

Legault says the most annual immigrants the province can properly integrate is 50,000, adding that even the most ambitious plan presented by a political party during the recent provincial election set a maximum target of 80,000 newcomers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2022.

The Canadian Press