Immigration is an important aspect of the Québec policy agenda. Officially the provincial governmental authorities encourage immigration due to a low birth rate and a need to fill certain labor sector vacancies. As a result, immigration has been on a consistent rise for the past two decades. Many immigrants come from French-speaking regions, such as North Africa, the Caribbean and France. However, there has been an increased immigration flow from other parts of the world as well, especially from Asia and Latin America. Due to the intrinsic cultural importance placed upon the French language within Québec, many of these immigrants have a difficult time integrating into their adopted communities. In order to prevent marginalization, civil society organizations and government agencies are working together to create effective integration programs. I am currently looking at various integration programs provided by the third sector and the government. Key questions include: What are integration success rates? How do they determine/measure success? Do the government, civil society and/or the immigrants themselves measure success differently? Is language the major obstacle to social and economic integration or are other factors more important?
Improving my French over the past two summers in Montréal as a FLAS recipient has allowed me to more effectively conduct my research. I can now use a broader range of resources that are solely provided in French. Additionally, I have had a chance to develop a network of contacts.
As a graduate student in Public Affairs, Jennifer has focused her research on civil society and government cooperation in both Québec and Argentina. More specifically, she is interested in policies where civil society organizations, particularly NGOs, make up for weaknesses in government resources and/or accessibility.