When the government announced its aggressive targets of up to 500,000 new immigrants a year, the province of Quebec, which gets to set its own immigration limits, said it would not take in more than 50,000 a year. That would mean that Quebec, which has 23% of the country's population, would only be taking in 10% of the country's immigrants.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he is concerned more immigrants would weaken the French language in the province.

"Already at 50,000 it is difficult to stop the decline of French," he said.

And while it's true that Canada may have more room to grow, some places are still feeling the crunch. Major cities like Toronto and Vancouver - where about 10% of the population currently lives - have affordable housing crises.


How can Quebec restrict immigration if it's part of Canada? I am asking this question, because Canada wants to accept 500,000 immigrants while Quebec says it wants to accept 50,000 and that seems to be weird since immigrants can enter Canada live in Toronto and then move to Quebec, so Quebec cannot prevent immigrants coming and living in Quebec, so is there some kind of restrictions in place that would allow Quebec to limit the number of immigrants living in its province?

  • 4
    “that seems to be weird since immigrants can enter Canada live in Toronto and then move to Quebec” No they can’t. There’s a separate Quebec residency permit that is heavily dependent on your ability to speak French.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 11 at 0:24
  • @user71659 is it a restriction for any Canadian PR holder?
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 11 at 0:46
  • What about Section 6 – Mobility rights of Canadian charter of rights and freedoms? Commented Mar 11 at 4:38
  • 1
    @littleadv The Certificat d'acceptation du Québec is not necessary after permanent residency or citizenship is granted.
    – user71659
    Commented Mar 11 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


The Canadian Constitution, section 95 states:

In each Province the Legislature may make Laws in relation to Agriculture in the Province, and to Immigration into the Province; and it is hereby declared that the Parliament of Canada may from Time to Time make Laws in relation to Agriculture in all or any of the Provinces, and to Immigration into all or any of the Provinces; and any Law of the Legislature of a Province relative to Agriculture or to Immigration shall have effect in and for the Province as long and as far only as it is not repugnant to any Act of the Parliament of Canada.

So the Canadian Parliament can pass a law overriding a Province's immigration law but it's easier on everybody if they agree. In Quebec's case, that agreement would be the Canada–Québec Accord relating to Immigration and Temporary Admission of Aliens which gives them the right to limit immigration into Quebec.

  • 2
    In addition, note that Quebec has long run its own immigration processes and vetting mechanisms. Commented Mar 10 at 21:09
  • 1
    Le Québec, c'est un pays libre selon Charles de Gaulle, n'est-ce pas ? So that's probably why they want to have their own immigration restrictions.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 10 at 22:44
  • 3
    It's worthwhile to note that Quebec's ability to restrict immigration is limited since, as mentioned elsewhere, once an immigrant becomes a permanent resident there is indeed nothing preventing a move to Quebec.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 11 at 14:50

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