Canada simplifies rules for companies and firms in Quebec. This will help the firms to hire contract and temporary foreign employees in vital industries such as food and health care, the latest step to alleviate one of the country’s most acute labour shortages.
The new regulations will come into effect from Monday. Now the temporary employees from outside Canada can represent up to 20% of the workforce for low-wage roles in some sectors, an increase of 10% previously, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ministry in a news release.
The measure is part of a pilot program unveiled in August, which also relaxes some hiring rules. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which conducted a study of small businesses in November and found Quebec to be the province severely afflicted by labour shortages, applauded the actions.
While obtaining a permit to bring in labour takes time, it is still “a significant improvement,” according to Francois Vincent, Quebec vice-president of the industry lobbying organization, in an interview. “Temporary foreign workers is one of the solutions.”
With unemployment in Quebec at 4.6 per cent last month and job openings up 73 per cent in the last two years, the provincial government has declared the employment market a primary focus for 2022. It allocated around C$3 billion ($2.4 billion) over five years in a November budget update to help train or attract personnel in critical sectors.
Quebec firms, like firms across North America, have struggled to fill low-wage employment since the economy emerged from pandemic lockdowns. However, the province’s pre-crisis situation is influenced by ageing demographics, a stricter policy on immigration, and a skills mismatch.
According to a November analysis by the Institut du Quebec, the number of Quebec citizens of working age increased by only 120,000 between 2010 and 2020, a 60% decrease from the previous decade, and is expected to reduce by about 100,000 between 2020 and 2030.
In comparison to other Canadian provinces, elderly workers in Quebec exit the labour at a quicker rate. In 2021, the participation rate for Quebeckers aged 60 to 64 was 54 per cent, compared to 60 per cent in Ontario and 58 per cent nationally.
It is also giving scholarships of up to CAD$20,000 to entice students to pursue degrees in information technology, engineering, or nursing. Whereas Premier Francois Legault’s government initially reduced the number of immigrants it would take, it has since softened its stance and pledged to do a better job of identifying newcomers’ credentials and talents, which has long been one of the province’s problems.