Quebec sweetens pot in effort to get more immigrants to learn French

Tel que promis durant la campagne électorale, la Coalition Avenir Québec amorce sa réforme du système d'immigration. Le projet de loi 9, déposé aujourd'hui à l'Assemblée Nationale, ne s'attaque pas au nombre d'immigrants, mais plutôt à la façon dont ils seront sélectionnés.

Quebec announced tens of millions of new dollars Friday aimed at getting more newcomers to learn French.

One of the Coalition Avenir Quebec's main pitches to get elected last fall was to temporarily reduce immigration and ensure the newcomers who are accepted can integrate by learning the province's only official language.

Not only are French classes free for immigrants in Quebec, but the state pays them to take the courses. It also subsidizes daycare costs for immigrant parents who study French.

Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette told reporters Friday he's sweetening the pot to gently push more newcomers to register for courses.

His department will spend an extra $70 million a year, he said, to create 300 new classes, hire 80 more teachers, and increase the weekly stipend for people who take full-time courses from $141 to $185.

Immigrants who take part-time French will now receive $15 a day, up from nothing.