Under the Constitution, immigration is shared between the federal government and the provinces, with federal legislation prevailing. The Immigration Act (Section 108) allows the Minister to enter into agreements with the provinces to facilitate the co-ordination and implementation of immigration policies and programs.
Since 1978, seven provinces have signed immigration agreements (British Columbia and Ontario have yet to do so). Discussions are under way with several provinces toward new or revised immigration agreements or other types of working arrangements.
These federal-provincial agreements outline specific responsibilities and establish formal mechanisms by which the provinces can contribute to the development of immigration policies and programs.
The Canada-Quebec Accord, the most comprehensive agreement to date, was signed in February 1991. It gives Quebec sole responsibility for selecting independent immigrants and refugees abroad who are destined for Quebec. It also allows Quebec to provide its own reception and integration services -- linguistic, cultural and economic -- for permanent residents of the province. Federally, Canada maintains responsibility for defining general immigrant categories, setting levels for admitting persons to Canada and enforcement.
Other mechanisms are also in place to facilitate federal-provincial co-operation. Federal, provincial and territorial deputy ministers responsible for immigration meet on a regular basis. As a result of these meetings, federal-provincial working groups have been formed to examine specific immigration issues. These include access to professions and trades, sponsorship, business immigration, promotion and recruitment, settlement and language training, and information sharing and research.
THE CANADA-QUEBEC ACCORD
Due to Quebec's responsibilities in immigration, as defined in the Canada-Quebec Accord, persons destined for this province may have to meet different requirements.
VISITORS, STUDENTS AND FOREIGN WORKERS
People coming to Quebec to study, receive medical treatment or work in a position requiring a job validation (a condition that no Canadian is available to perform the work) must first obtain the province's consent.
The Accord specifically gives Quebec exclusive responsibility for selecting all independent immigrants and refugees abroad who are destined for Quebec. Those selected by the province will receive a document called Certificat de s�lection de Qu�bec (CSQ). The federal government ensures that statutory admission requirements, such as medical and criminal checks, are met before issuing a visa.
For the Family Class category, Le minist�re des Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (MRCI), Direction de l'aide � l'immigration d'affaires assesses if sponsors are financially able to meet sponsorship obligations and, once approved, notifies the appropriate visa office.
The Quebec government has set fees for some of the immigration-related services provided by MRCI. People seeking information on current fees should contact MRCI directly.
The province provides reception and integration services to new permanent residents of Quebec. These services must be equivalent to those provided by the federal government elsewhere in the country.
CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CANADA
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