Labor Shortage: Is Immigration the Solution?

Labor shortage: Is immigration the solution? Analysis of the CPQ

In the context of increasing labor shortages in Quebec, the Quebec Employers’ Council (CPQ) recently published a White Paper. The latter presents this issue in detail and proposes solutions.

The Context

First caused by the aging of the population, the health crisis that began in 2020 strongly influenced the job market in Quebec. Immigration to Canada has also suffered from the pandemic, significantly reducing the number of expatriations.

The closure of many companies has caused a redirection of workers to other sectors of activity. This causes today a high number of vacancies, in many sectors, in Quebec and in the country in general.

Although measures have been announced and put in place by the government, in particular a 4.1% increase in jobs between 2020 and 2021, the CPQ believes that this remains insufficient and uneven. The CPQ notes in particular that these jobs concern certain categories more, such as small businesses or individuals with university degrees.

The CPQ then became interested in this economic issue, which has affected Quebec for more than two years. The white paper on immigration then presents this problem and the solutions it proposes to remedy it.

The Solutions Proposed by the CPQ

Based on its analysis of the situation, the CPQ has established 18 areas for improvement. Appearing as one of the main solutions to this problem, these tracks are all turned around immigration, and the integration of newcomers.

In a desire to facilitate and promote the integration of immigrants in Canada, the CPQ offers solutions focused on permanent immigration, temporary workers, foreign students, and knowledge of French.

Permanent Immigration

With more than 108,000 permanent residents already admitted to Canada in the first months of 2022, the country intends to welcome a total of 431,000 new residents during the year. With regard to permanent immigration, the CPQ proposes to:

  • Facilitate the acquisition of Permanent Residence for Category C and D jobs through bridges in the Quebec Experience Program
  • Flexibility of the Regular Program for Temporary Foreign Workers
  • Make the recognition of skills and achievements more accessible for international workers;
  • Put certain programs intended for investors back into force
  • To increase the quotas of immigrant people during the multiannual Planning of immigration from the years 2023 to 2025. The proposed goal is to reach 80,000, or even 100,000 immigrants during this period.

Temporary Workers

This category represents an important part of immigration to Canada, which seems all the more necessary today. Here then is what the CPQ proposes:

  • Apply in the long term the temporary measure aimed at increasing the hiring capacity of low-wage foreign workers to 30%, for priority sectors
  • Consider a “multi-employer” work permit for temporary foreign workers in the region
  • Accelerate the development of the “trusted employers” program
  • Make LMIA anonymous
  • Depending on the labor market, integrate professions C and D into the simplified treatment process;
  • Review the organization regarding the processing of ESDC and MIFI LMIA.

International Students

Foreign students also represent an important part of temporary immigration to Quebec. The health crisis has strongly impacted their arrivals, we counted 44,000 within the Province in 2020, compared to 250,000 in 2019.

The CPQ Thus Proposes:

  • To increase the reception capacity of international students and facilitate their integration.
  • To coordinate the requirements at the level of the Government of Canada and the provinces to facilitate the requests.
  • To encourage student and trainee exchanges between partner universities of the international Francophonie.

The Necessary Command of French

Since Quebec is a French-speaking province in Canada, proficiency in French is a significant asset for the integration of individuals. To facilitate their integration, the CPQ suggests:

  • To consider lowering the level 7 French requirement as part of obtaining a CSQ
  • To adjust the relevance of the Francization courses to the field of the individual
  • To prioritize the expatriation of adults who have already mastered French
  • To adjust the French test to the French spoken in Quebec.

Economic immigration appears as a solution to the labor shortage present in Quebec. The CPQ, therefore, proposes these improvements in order to optimize the immigration of workers and students to Quebec.

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