The Quebec manufacturing industry is currently facing a chronic shortage of nearly 20000 workers, say the representatives of the industry. In an open letter to the provincial and the federal governments, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Quebec (MEQ) has requested for an increase in immigration levels for effectively resolving the labour crisis.
In the letter, the manufacturing industry representatives have pointed out that there are not enough skilled workers in Quebec, which means contracts and business opportunities are being refused, leading to a slow down of investment and product development.
The letter is signed by 25 manufacturing industries. Another issue that has been brought to the attention of the government in the letter is of hiring unqualified labourers. The letter has urged the Coalition Avenir Quebec government to rethink its immigration policies, which cut the number of newcomers by 20 percent in 2019. The letter has also urged to bring about necessary changes in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program so that employers would be able to hire skilled workers without delay, the immigration reform being a long-term process.
The CAQ government came to power in Quebec in 2018. Though Quebec has one of the tightest labour markets in Canada, they reduced the annual immigration levels from 50,000 in 2018 to 40,000 in 2019. The government has plans to increase the immigration levels again to 50,000 slowly by 2022, but it is too little, too late, say industry representatives.
After coming to power, the CAQ government scrapped the 16000 existing applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. The move was aimed to speed up the introduction of Arrima, Quebec’s Expression of Interest portal. So far, Arrima has issued invitations only to those candidates with a job offer from Quebec, or those who are legally working in Quebec and had their applications terminated under the old system.
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