The manufacturing industry in Quebec is experiencing a chronic shortage of labors, despite boasting a record-breaking growth. The province has estimated 20,000 unfulfilled Quebec manufacturing jobs, therefore, needs more skilled immigrants to fill them. Both small as well as medium-sized manufacturing companies are struggling to find enough talented workers.
“The labour shortage is more and more critical,” said Richard Blanchet, the president of an association of Quebec-based manufacturers. Additionally, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Quebec (MEQ) also wrote an open letter to both the provincial and federal governments wherein they addressed the dire need of more workers and requested the government to take immediate steps to deal with it.
In the letter, the representatives from the manufacturing industry have highlighted the concern quoting ‘there are simply not enough workers in Quebec’, leading to less contract work and limited business opportunities, and slow investment for product development.
As per STIQ’s Quebec industrial barometer, Quebec’s manufacturing sector has witnessed an impressive growth in the past few years. However, the industry would not be able to grow further unless it does not employee more workers and develop new customers.
The letter was signed by over 25 manufacturers based in Quebec to show their consensus on the issue. Through the letter, the manufacturers have urged the government to review its immigration policies and rethink its decision of cutting the Quebec immigration by 20%. Apart from this, the letter has also persuaded the government to make changes in Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and reform it in a way that would bring in sufficient qualified newcomers without much delay.
Referring to the need of skilled workers, Jean Boulet, Quebec’s Labor Minister said that, “Their experience is an asset. They can share their knowledge and play the role of mentor.”
The C.A.Q government came into power in 2018, and despite Quebec’s strongest labor markets as compared to any other province in Canada, the current government went on to reduce Quebec immigration levels 50,000 in 2018 to 40,000 in 2019.
Though the C.A.Q gradually increased the immigration levels by 2022 after a while, the stakeholders still believe the government need to push the target a bit further to help industries recover.
What Quebec Government Can Do to Tackle Labor Shortages?
Of course, the government can’t control the aging population and baby boomers retire, it can definitely take some productive steps to invite foreign workers who applied for Canada PR Visa, and give them opportunities to live and work in the province.
The government can make the manufacturing sector more attractive for workers and simplify the process of hiring overseas recruits, if they can’t find locally.
In response to the skill shortages, the government of Quebec also created a national labor force strategy for 2018-2023. According to the strategy, the manufacturing sector received $810 million to sustain its employees and enhance the competitiveness of the industry.
Quebec economy also needs to ensure more education and training being imparted to its labor force, and less complications in the Canada immigration process.
Another proven way to recruit young and talented newcomers in the manufacturing sector is to overhaul the recruitment process and make it more appealing. Employers should move over with outdated methods of hiring and have to adapt innovative ways to get in touch with prospective candidates irrespective of their location. Employers can take help from social media platforms and online job portals to get an access to suitable candidates seeking ways to immigrate to Canada.