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Immigration Assessment


OTTAWA, November 22, 2005 — In the presence of the president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, the president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the secretary general of the HEC Montréal, the Quebec Minister of Immigration et Communautés culturelles, Lise Thériault, announced that a new agreement had been negotiated between the Quebec government and the Government of Canada on off-campus work permits for international students. This new agreement, made public today at the HEC Montréal, opens the door to off-campus work for international students in all regions of Quebec, including Montréal and Québec City. In total, nearly one hundred institutes of higher education in Quebec will be eligible to participate in the program.

“I am delighted with the broadening of this program,” said Minister Thériault, “because it responds to the specific request of the Quebec government, expressed unanimously by the participants of the Forum of Generations. This agreement will make Quebec more attractive on the international scene and allow it to remain competitive with other Canadian provinces that plan to implement such a program and with other countries where off-campus work is permitted.”

“International students bring with them new ideas and cultures, enriching campus and community life,” added federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Joe Volpe. “Off-campus work agreements will enable these students to acquire work experience on the labour market, strengthen their ties to local communities and improve their experience in Canada.”

An off-campus pilot project was implemented in the summer of 2004. Since the project does not apply to the Montréal and Québec regions, over 85% of international students are currently excluded from it. The new agreement is therefore raising a great deal of interest.

Aside from including the Montréal and Québec regions, the new program will also be open to students enrolled in pre-university college. The program will be offered to recognized private institutions that are considered to be in the public interest and that are subsidized by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) and to public institutions that are subsidized by a ministry other than the MELS. The new agreement provides for a limit of 20 hours of off-campus work per week during the school term rather than 15 hours as is currently the case. In compliance with the memorandum of understanding between the two governments, eligible students must obtain satisfactory grades in order to receive an off-campus work permit. The work permit will now be valid until the expiry date of the study permit.

“I am proud to say that a number of changes were made to the program in response to the expectations of Quebec and the institutions participating in the pilot project. I would also like to make special mention of the constant support we have received from the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec on this matter,” added Minister Thériault.

“International students contribute to the vitality of their educational institutions and their host cities, to our openness to the world and to the knowledge of Quebec abroad, which is what makes this program so important,” concluded the Minister.

Before students can apply for an off-campus work permit, the province will have to come to an agreement with each post-secondary educational institution wanting to participate in the program. Agreements between the province and the educational institutions must make provision for monitoring foreign students. The monitoring, in the form of reports, must show that students are in good standing with their institution.

International students who are participating in an exchange program or who are registered in English- or French-as-a-second-language courses, as well as those who have received scholarships from the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan or the Government of Canada Awards Program are not eligible for the off-campus work program for international students.


For further information (media only):

Marie-Hélène Paradis
Press Officer
Minister’s Office, Ministère de l’Immigration et
des Communautés culturelles
(514) 873-9940

Stephen Heckbert
Director of Communications
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 954-1064

Claude Fradette
Public affairs and Communications
Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles
(514) 873-8624, extension 20443

Mylène Beauregard
Communications, Quebec Region
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(514) 283-7222