Raise immigration levels to battle labour shortage: Quebec employers group

Of note, given lower levels than the rest of Canada:
The Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), the province’s largest employers group, is urging the Legault government to tackle the labour shortage by rethinking immigration levels and encouraging older employees to stay longer in the workforce.
The recommendations are among 10 made public by the CPQ as 181,000 jobs went unfilled in the first quarter of 2021. The labour shortage in the same period in 2020 was 150,000.

Quebec immigration levels must be “quickly raised” to meet the province’s labour needs, CPQ president Karl Blackburn told Presse Canadienne, noting that since 2015, the number of immigrants to the province has never been higher than 53,000 when “the need is for 64,000.”

Blackburn said employers are not looking for “cheap labour,” although there are worker shortages in agriculture and food processing, where salaries are low. But he added there is also a need for workers in the health, education and information technology sectors, where the pay levels are higher.

“We have to avoid categorizing good job and jobs that are less good,” he said.Quebec Premier François Legault has said if an immigrant is earning a minimum salary of $56,000, it’s to the province’s advantage to bring them here. The CPQ thinks “salary should not be a limit to entry.”

Blackburn said the province’s economic recovery will depend on all kinds of jobs, and Quebec limiting its interest to only positions with higher salaries will slow down that recovery.

Another suggestion from the CPQ is to encourage workers between the ages of 60 and 69 to stay longer in the workforce. Blackburn said Quebec is being outperformed by Ontario in this area, and if the policy was adopted “we’d have 75,000 more workers.”

That encouragement could include tax credits for older employees remaining on the job and a revision of the contribution levels to the Quebec pension plan for workers 60 and over.

The CPQ also thinks there’s room for improvement in the area of job training, with Blackburn saying that “30 per cent of employers are ready to train their workforce themselves if given financial support.”

Source: Raise immigration levels to battle labour shortage: Quebec employers group

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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