Nadine Girault, a Haitian origin, and a member of Quebec’s governing party and who arrived in Canada from the United States, has been appointed the province’s new immigration minister.

Nadine Girault is also Quebec’s Minister of International Relation and the Francophonie.

She takes over from Simon Jolin-Barrette, who has held this position since the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party assumed leadership in October 2018.

Jolin-Barrette bills on the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) and secularism have been controversial not only among the opposition parties but also among a large portion of the population.

Last Nov, Jolin-Barrette tabled PEQ rules that significantly cut down the number of employees and students who could be accepted in the province at a time when labour shortages were affecting all regions. Attacked from all quarters for his reform project, Jolin-Barrette eventually withdrew these reforms so they could be reviewed.

Last month, May, the Quebec government once again announced new reforms to the Quebec Experience Program and the intention to start two new pilot programs.

In addition to her current duties, the new immigration minister will be responsible for carrying out the newly released PEQ reforms, launching new pilots and identifying routes to Canadian permanent residence for health care workers who claimed asylum in Canada.

Immigration policy affects Quebecers, Canadians, and non-Canadians alike, and the minister leading the ministry is often seen as a reflection of the government’s objectives. If that is the case, then Nadine Girault’s appointment may be viewed from a positive perspective.

The fact that the new immigration minister has a diverse cultural origin, may suggest an attempt by the Quebec provincial government to change the narratives that have been viewed as anti-immigration until now.

Many think that Girault’s style will be softer and more open towards immigrants than that of her predecessor.

During the press conference, Nadine Girault pointed out that Quebec’s immigration objectives have been cut down only temporarily to facilitate the integration and francization of new immigrants, but that she intends to continue to support this initiative.

Legault, on the other hand, reiterates the fact that the economic factor will continue to play a critical role in the immigration portfolio.

“Immigration is also an economic portfolio. We have the right, and even the responsibility, to recruit new immigrants who meet the requirements of the labour market,” he said during the briefing today.

Quebec’s vision and goals for immigration will remain the same, he added.

In addition to her duties as Minister of Immigration and International Relations, Girault will also co-chair the Action Group Against Racism, whose aim is to study the situation of visible minorities in Québec in several aspects of the activity.

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