More temporary foreign workers admitted to Quebec

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The government expects labor shortage issues to worsen as the economy rebounds.

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Quebec has reached an agreement with the federal government to allow more temporary foreign workers to work in low-wage jobs.

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The pilot project projects “a 10 to 20 percent increase in the maximum number of temporary foreign workers in low-wage positions” in certain industries, according to a press release issued by the Canadian Department of Employment and Social Development. In addition, for some occupations, it will no longer be necessary to try to recruit Canadians before opening the position to foreigners. The project will run until the end of 2023.

Employers in some regions will also benefit from a waiver of the policy of refusing to process labor market impact assessment requests, which will allow more foreign workers to obtain permits.

Although many Canadians found themselves unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government expects labor shortage issues to worsen as the economy rebounds. In February 2020, just before lockdown began, the unemployment rate in the province was 4.5%, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976.

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The Quebec employers ‘group the Employers’ Council welcomed the news, saying in a press release that “the changes that will be made, in particular that of doubling the hiring capacity, will give more flexibility to the companies concerned”.

The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal also applauded this decision.

The two organizations, however, denounced what they consider to be too low immigration thresholds, which they say represent the source of the problem.

“We must now correct the problem of immigration thresholds, which have been lowered when there have never been so many jobs available, in all fields. At the end of May, there were 188,000 vacant positions in Quebec. These labor needs will not go away on their own, ”said Karl Blackburn, Chairman of the Employers Council.

In its immigration plan for 2021, the CAQ government is targeting a maximum of 47,500 admissions. Before François Legault decided to limit immigration in 2019, the number was 53,000.

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