(Quebec) The federal government is offering $750 million to Quebec to offset the costs incurred in managing the influx of asylum seekers into the province. François Legault demanded 1 billion from Ottawa for the years 2021 to 2023.

Federal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met his Quebec counterpart François Legault Monday afternoon in Quebec as part of a bilateral meeting focusing mainly on the management of asylum seekers and immigration. Mr. Legault has regularly stated that in his eyes the current situation was “untenable”. The two prime ministers will give successive press briefings during the afternoon.

In response to requests from the Quebec government, Ottawa is committed to processing asylum applications more quickly, to “working with other provinces to promote the voluntary movement of applicants outside Quebec” and to “improving” the visa system, among others. The federal government is also committed to reducing the processing time for the issuance of a work permit for an asylum seeker from 100 days (the current time limit) to 30 days “for requests submitted to airports” and interior of the country.

In the future, “workers renewing their work permit after 3 years under the PMI will have to prove their skills in French, with the exception of certain aspects”. More precisely, “Canada is committed to harmonizing the language requirements, where applicable, of the IMP and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.”

“This would demonstrate the commitment to supporting the acquisition of knowledge of French from foreign workers. The components that would not be covered are those established under international trade agreements to assist with family reunification or to respond to international humanitarian crises,” specifies Ottawa.

The federal government is also committed to working “with Quebec to introduce French knowledge requirements as part of the renewal process of the Certificate of Acceptance of Quebec” for temporary foreign workers.

On March 15, Justin Trudeau rejected the request made by François Legault for Quebec to obtain full immigration powers. The Prime Minister of Quebec later threatened to organize a sectoral referendum on immigration, an idea that he quickly put aside.

Mr. Legault also said in recent weeks that Mr. Trudeau had an “obligation of result” regarding immigration. He wants the subject of immigration to become “the main issue” in the coming months, particularly during the federal elections which must be held by the fall of 2025.

Ahead of the meeting held Monday at the Château Frontenac, François Legault demanded that Ottawa significantly reduce the number of temporary immigrants and allow Quebec to approve temporary immigrants chosen in under a federal program and that it achieves a better distribution of asylum seekers.