Ottawa to Override Quebec’s Immigration Limit for Family Reunification

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller plans to override Quebec’s immigration cap to expedite family reunification. Despite requests to Quebec to increase its family reunification limit, currently set at about 10,000 applicants yearly, the federal government will now issue permanent residence permits beyond this cap. This decision, driven by a humanitarian perspective, aims to address the backlog of approximately 20,500 applications by processing all eligible cases, prioritizing social justice and family unity over provincial quotas.

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Quebec’s Response to the Federal Government

Quebec labeled Miller’s action as an infringement on Quebec’s jurisdiction, emphasizing Quebec’s sole authority over its immigration levels and dismissing the federal intervention as unacceptable. Although acknowledging the delays in family reunification, Quebec maintains its immigration approach as balanced. Both the Bloc Québécois and Québec Solidaire criticized the federal move, highlighting jurisdiction issues and calling for a focus on real family impacts, urging Quebec to adjust its reunification threshold while opposing federal imposition.

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Importance of Federal Action

The Gagnon-Tremblay-McDougall agreement, also known as the Quebec-Canada Accord, solidified Quebec’s unique position in managing its immigration policies separate from the federal system. This landmark 1991 agreement granted Quebec more autonomy over immigration, allowing the province to select its immigrants and set its own criteria, reflecting Quebec’s distinct cultural and linguistic identity.



Due to this agreement, Quebec exercises significant control over its immigration, distinctively shaping its demographic and cultural landscape by prioritizing immigrants who can integrate into its primarily French-speaking society. This autonomy enables Quebec to tailor its immigration policies to meet specific provincial needs and goals, such as labor market demands and cultural preservation.



The federal government’s recent decision to bypass Quebec’s immigration cap marks a pivotal moment in Canadian immigration, challenging the province’s autonomy established by the Quebec-Canada Accord. This move underscores the federal government’s commitment to family reunification, positioning it as a matter of national interest and humanitarian concern, beyond provincial jurisdictional boundaries.

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The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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