Quebec started 2022 with a low unemployment rate and many job openings. Quebec’s provincial and federal governments have proposed several initiatives to address labor market shortages and facilitate immigration.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Quebec’s job market was already in disarray. The public health measures in response to the pandemic have only exacerbated pre-existing issues.
According to Mia Homsy, CEO of the Institut du Québec, Quebec began 2022 with one of the lowest unemployment rates in decades and a record number of job openings.
According to Mia, with a shrinking pool of available workers and a significant decline in labor market participation among individuals 55 and older, the shortage of workers will undoubtedly be the most significant impediment to recovery unless businesses, unions, schools, and governments embrace a significant shift in their approach to human resource management.
Shortages in the labor Market are Expected to Worsen in 2022.
Despite low unemployment and numerous job opportunities, Quebec’s aging population will continue to impact the labor supply. Given that some workers have yet to return to work (particularly those over 55), convincing early retirees to do so will be difficult.
The ongoing difficulty in recruiting in the hospitality, food service, and retail sectors has forced employees to rethink their old business structures.
Employers having difficulty finding new employees may need to relax their hiring criteria, particularly those related to academic credentials. Prospective employers may become less interested in jobs that do not allow remote or hybrid work. As a result, businesses and employers can focus their efforts on professional development and in-house training to maintain competitiveness.
Quebec will require candidates with enhanced reading comprehension, writing, and complex problem-solving abilities and applicants who currently struggle with digital literacy.
In Quebec, high-demand industries include healthcare, social services, education, information technology, and construction.
Companies Entice Workers with Salary Increases as the Labour Shortage Persists.
Many hiring managers are responding by raising pay for difficult-to-fill positions. Over the last two years, the average wage increase for those available jobs has been 5.6 percent. While Canada is currently experiencing historically high levels of inflation, the average wage increase provided to job seekers over the last two years was significantly more significant than the Consumer Price Index increase over the same period.
Quebec’s solution to these labor shortages has made it easier for businesses struggling to find qualified employees to hire temporary foreign workers.
Since January, businesses in nine industries ranging from food to healthcare and manufacturing have been allowed to employ up to 20% of their workforce through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
In addition, in February, the francophone province pledged to invest $65 million in a two-year plan to attract 1,000 international nurses from francophone countries.
Immigration Policies Designed to Address Labor Shortages
Quebec has implemented several policies to address the province’s chronic labor shortages. The province intends to increase immigration and make hiring temporary foreign workers easier for businesses experiencing labor shortages.
The Immigration Level Plan issued by Quebec on October 28 anticipates 52,500 new permanent immigrants in 2022. The Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and the Quebec Experience Program will accept most of these newcomers (PEQ).
Quebec also expects an additional 18,000 admissions to meet intake targets missed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, implying that Quebec will receive more than 70,000 immigrants in 2022.
Quebec also established several temporary skilled worker programs.
Employers in Quebec can now hire up to 20% temporary workers, up from 10%. Furthermore, jobs classified as National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C will be included in the Simplified Training Program (facilitated processing). This procedure has the potential to give businesses more leeway when it comes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
According to an Institut du Québec survey, Quebec immigrants have a high employment rate. Immigrants who have been in Canada for less than five years have significantly contributed to the country’s employment recovery. The employment rate for these newcomers was 76 percent in 2021, up from 64 percent in 2019. By 2021, the overall immigrant employment rate would have risen to 83%, up from 78% in 2019.