Quebec businesses urge premier to prioritise labour shortage

Following the government's re-election, employers are hoping to see a change in talent pools

Quebec businesses urge premier to prioritise labour shortage

Businesses across Quebec are calling on its re-elected government to prioritise the province's fight against labour shortage and address issues surrounding immigration. After congratulating all elected leaders in the recent polls, the Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ) said it expects them to address the ongoing labour shortage in the province.

"Labour shortages are holding back our economic development. Supply chains remain disrupted by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, while the risk of recession adds a good dose of uncertainty to our business plans," said FCCQ CEO Charles Milliard.

Read more: Quebec to resume processing skilled workers’ immigration bid

Quebec premier François Legault won his second conservative majority government this week, with his Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) winning in 90 districts, 27 seats more than what's needed for a majority. During the campaign, Legault spoke about reducing annual immigration to 50,000 from 70,000, the Leader-Post reported. According to the premier, having too many immigrants in Quebec would put the French language at risk.

These remarks have been met with criticism from business leaders, who’re calling on the government to tap on immigrants to address the labour shortage. The FCCQ said it’s recommending the establishment of annual immigration thresholds "on the basis of facts and studies" to "avoid abrupt changes of course". According to the federation, there are 271,000 vacant positions waiting to be filled in Quebec, and it’s "important not to leave aside any pool of potential workers."

Read more: Quebec drops proposed health tax on the unvaccinated

"Now that the campaign is behind us, it is time to work together to determine, as independently as possible, the real reception capacity of Quebec," said Milliard. "And beyond the total number, it is absolutely necessary to reduce the processing times for the files of candidates for economic immigration so that they can occupy the job they want as quickly as possible."

The FCCQ, which represents over 45,000 companies in Quebec, also raised other suggestions to address the labour shortage in the province. These recommendations include offering tax incentives for experienced workers who wish to remain in the province, as well as the establishment of a voluntary training savings scheme so workers can invest in their own training.

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