Madam Speaker, allow me to answer the hon. member for Fredericton's question.
As members may know, November 1 to 7, 2020, was National Francophone Immigration Week, an opportunity to recognize the contributions of francophone newcomers and draw attention to the vitality of francophone communities outside Quebec.
The government firmly believes that all newcomers, including francophone immigrants, contribute to Canada's vitality. As a result, we must create welcoming and inclusive communities for francophone newcomers and provide them with customized support in a timely manner so that they integrate into and build ties with these communities.
To demonstrate the government's commitment to attracting francophone newcomers to Canada, on October 27, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that francophone and bilingual candidates would receive extra points in Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's express entry program, the department's online system for managing the applications of qualified workers who want to become permanent residents.
Applicants to the express entry program receive points for various factors, and this change will increase the number of points awarded from 15 to 25 for francophone candidates and from 30 to 50 for bilingual candidates. We believe that awarding additional points to francophone and bilingual candidates in the express entry program will increase the admission of francophones. I am also convinced that this will help the government reach its target of 4.4% French-speaking immigrant admissions outside Quebec by 2023.
Progress towards meeting this target will also depend on travel restrictions during the pandemic. However, I think this is something we can do in the long term to increase the admission of francophones and support francophone minority communities. I am not alone in thinking that this measure is a concrete means of achieving that.
Last Friday, when we announced our 2021-23 immigration levels plan, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, or FCFA, called our initiative “a tangible step forward for francophone immigration”. Following this announcement, its president also stated, “What is clear is that the minister takes francophone immigration seriously and is taking concrete action.” This change is in addition to other initiatives and priorities of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Government of Canada to promote inclusion and bolster the diversity of Canada's communities.
For example, as part of the official languages action plan, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is investing more than $40 million over five years to support a consolidated francophone integration pathway and the development of coordinated policies. This approach is part of our francophone immigration strategy, which includes initiatives to boost francophone immigration, support the integration and retention of francophone newcomers and enhance the vitality of francophone communities.
Alongside the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada pandemic response initiatives, some organizations that provide settlement and integration services in Canada have adapted their services to the realities of COVID-19. For example, the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité is working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to organize a virtual fair this December to educate employers about recruiting francophone immigrants and how they can help businesses grow.
I am proud of the measures that Canada has been taking to attract francophone immigrants, and despite the pandemic, I remain confident that francophone minority communities in Canada will continue to attract and welcome newcomers and help them integrate.