In 2018, Le Journal de Montreal commissioned a poll that revealed some discouraging figures about English-speaking Quebec youth. According to that poll, about 60% of respondents were considering leaving Quebec due to tensions between the anglophone and francophone communities.
That’s bad news for the Quebec economy at a time of record low unemployment rates, when finding top talent is more challenging than ever. Especially since many of the anglophones leaving the province, or considering leaving, are well educated, bilingual young people – people who could potentially fill some of those gaps in the labour market.
Y4Y (youth for youth) Quebec is a provincial non-profit youth network aimed at English-speaking Quebecers between the ages of 16 to 30. Their mission is to address the issues and concerns facing anglophone youth in the province, and build a sense of community and belonging among them. Through this mission, Y4Y hopes to help this demographic reach their fullest potential within the province, so that they ultimately decide to stay in Quebec.
So, what of bilingualism and support of the French language? Through their own research, Y4Y has found that anglophone youth are actually big supporters of bilingualism, with over 90% of poll respondents saying they believed that learning both English and French is important to Quebec youth. Over 50% expressed an interest in improving their French proficiency, and several more expressed confidence in their current French-language skills.
With such interest in learning French and, in many cases, existing bilingualism, why do so many anglophone youth consider leaving? Both Le Journal’s poll and Y4Y’s research uncovered a disconnect with Quebec society. The Journal respondents claimed tensions between the anglophone and francophone communities to be concerning, while over 80% of Y4Y respondents expressed a moderate to non-existent attachment to Quebec society.
This disconnect is what Y4Y is working to remedy.
Through their work, they hope to inspire English-speaking youth to build the confidence to begin taking on more leadership roles throughout the province.
Despite the tensions (or perceived tensions), many Quebec youth of both communities want the same thing: a vibrant, dynamic society with strong leadership, a healthy economy and a growing labour market, where francophone language and culture are celebrated, and learning both languages is accessible to all.
Bridging the gap between the communities is how this becomes possible, and it is organizations like Y4Y that are leading the effort.
If you would like to know more about Y4Y, join the network, or otherwise get involved, visit their website or drop by their offices at 5964 avenue Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
“Y4Y is now offering internships on an ongoing basis for cegep and university students in communications, marketing, political science, social sciences, and related fields. Please send your CV and a brief letter of intent to email@example.com with the subject heading “Request for Internship” ?
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