Quebec Needs More Immigrants To Address Chronic Labour Shortage

Quebec business groups have urged the provincial government to bring in more immigrants immediately to help address the chronic labour shortage and avoid slowing the economy.

Lobby groups and industry representatives say more newcomers are needed to avoid slowing the French-speaking province’s economy.

Quebec’s generally low unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent shows the struggles employers are facing with finding the right people to fill job vacancies.

However, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) and the provincial government, plans to gradually reduce immigration by Twenty (20) per cent to around 40,000 new migrants in 2019, with small annual increases thereafter.

Our main objective is we need more immigrants than what the government is projecting over the next three (3) years,” says Denis Hamel, vice-president of CAQ, a lobby group for business owners and employers in the province.

The CAQ government is planning to gradually increase that figure by 2022 when it projects bringing in between 49,500 and 52,500 newcomers.

According to business owners and employers lobby group, there are currently 120,000 vacancies in Quebec, ranging from skilled manufacturing jobs to low-paid work in the retail sector.

Labour Shortage
Quebec Annual Immigration Targets

The labour shortage, moreover, is only expected to get worse due to the province’s ageing population.

Many business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat because of a shortage of workers,” Hamel said.

When you add up the numbers, you need nothing less than 60,000 immigrants each year for at least the next six or seven years.”

As Labour Shortage looms, Government Want Fewer Immigrants For Better Integration

Simon Jolin-Barrette, the Immigration Minister has said the provincial government wants to make sure those who are immigrating to Quebec will be well integrated into the workforce.

The new system, according to CAQ, is created to better respond to the requirements of the labour market and ensure immigrants can speak French.

Decreasing immigration levels in 2019 is a transitional step toward overhauling the selection system and implementing an effective and personalized approach to the integration and francization of immigrants,” the government’s plan says.

While business owners have lauded the efforts to streamline applications that address labour market needs, many say the targets are significantly low to satisfy the demands of a flourishing economy.

The association representing Quebec’s manufacturers and exporters, for instance, said in a recent statement the current immigration thresholds “are insufficient to meet the needs of the manufacturing sector.”

In a news press release on its website ahead of this week’s hearings in Quebec province, Quebec’s federation of chambers of commerce (FCCQ) also warned the targets are very low that they would “massively contribute to the increase in the number of regional labour shortages.”

The hearings still continue from Monday to Thursday at Quebec’s National Assembly.