While the CAQ continues to carry on with its promise to reduce immigration numbers by 20% to 40,000 when compared to the 52,000 new immigrants who were allowed to come into the province last year, Quebec’s business community is warning the government to bring in more immigrants because the province’s economy needs more – not less – workers.
“Our main message is that we need more immigrants than what the government is expecting over the next three years,” said Denis Hamel.
As the Vice-President of the CPQ (Conseil du Patronat du Québec) Hamel said that there’s a minimum of 120,000 jobs, including everything from low-end maintenance to high-skilled manufacturing jobs that are still available and waiting to be filled throughout the province. While the “Nous Embauchons” signs continue to reflect the province’s faltering economy, the service industry is already getting to know what happens when you’re short of staff and someone doesn’t show up for their shift.
According to one of the Labour minister’s own reports, the CAQ is flying in the face of the province’s economic reality insofar as Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barette knows that up to 1.5 million jobs will be freed up over the next decade as the demographic boom catches up to the job market. As the boomers get ready to retire in record numbers, Hamel hopes the government will understand that Quebec will need more immigrants to fill the jobs that provide the money the government requires to pay all those baby-boomer pensions.
While the government quietly admits that there’s a problem, the CAQ’s Jolin-Barette still maintains that it must do more to help immigrants adjust to the province’s French-speaking workforce realities that will help them build a new life in Quebec. Although it expects to honour its election promise to immediately reduce the number of immigrants that will be presently allowed into the province, it’s also expected to gradually increase those numbers in order to absorb a minimum of some 50,000 immigrants by 2023. According to Hamel, that’s not enough.
“Many employers are struggling to keep their business alive because of a shortage of workers,“ said Hamel. “When you take a close look at the numbers, you realize that we need some 60,000 to 70,000 new people every year for the next six to seven years.”