Montreal

In midst of labour shortage, Quebec to subsidize recruitment of temporary foreign workers

The Quebec government is looking to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to recruit temporary foreign workers to help counter the province’s labour shortage.

Province is on track to cut immigration levels by 20%

Labour Minister Jean Boulet announced new measures Monday aimed at addressing the province's labour shortage. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The Quebec government is looking to make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to recruit temporary foreign workers to help counter the province's labour shortage.

The $21-million plan includes subsidizing recruitment missions by Quebec companies overseas and offering to cover $1,000 in moving expenses for temporary foreign workers.

Labour Minister Jean Boulet said Monday businesses are increasingly turning toward temporary foreign workers to deal with the shortage.

Boulet also announced $34 million for measures aimed at better integrating immigrants into the workforce.

In a statement, Quebec's Exporters and Manufacturers Association welcomed the announcement. 

But the association stressed the government needs to go further and do more to help foreign workers settle permanently in Quebec.

"If the government really wants to solve the labour shortage problem, it must accept more permanent immigrants," said Véronique Proulx, the group's president.

The Coalition Avenir Québec committed to slashing immigration levels by 20 per cent this year, despite calls from business groups to bring in more people.

The province has seen a jump in the number of foreign workers so far in 2019 even as the number of immigrants has gone down.

Experts have said the strategy is unsustainable economically and makes newcomers more vulnerable to exploitation.

At hearings into the CAQ's immigration plan earlier this month, business groups warned the government that with Quebec's aging population and low birth rate, the labour shortage will only get worse in the years ahead.

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