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The province of Quebec is pledging an additional $2.1 million to assist employers in their efforts to recruit temporary foreign workers.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region, Jean Boulet, announced the funding on October 16.
Boulet said the additional funds will be used to reimburse up to 50 per cent of eligible recruitment expenses, without exceeding $1,200.
Eligible expenses include the hiring of recruitment experts such as lawyers or immigration consultants recognized by the Ministry of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI).
The Quebec government called the measure “a targeted response to a need clearly expressed by businesses” and said the additional funding complements an earlier pledge of around $20 million for international recruitment efforts made in August.
Quebec is facing widespread labour shortages and recent cuts to the number of permanent residents admitted to the province have contributed to a growing number of employers recruiting temporary foreign workers instead.
It is estimated that nearly 1,750 companies could benefit from this financial assistance over the next two years.
“This new measure improves the services offered to Quebec companies that are in the process of recruiting foreign workers,” Boulet said in a statement. “In the context of labour scarcity, this support comes at the right time.”
That sentiment was echoed by the Quebec Employers Council (QEC), which welcomed the funding announcement.
“Although international hiring is an option for employers to overcome the challenges of labour shortage, it can be costly and complex,” Yves-Thomas Dorval, President and Chief Executive Officer of the QEC, said in a French press release. “The measure announced today, with a budget of $2.1 million, will certainly be appreciated by employers.”
“For many small and medium-sized companies, doing the international recruitment process themselves or participating in a government mission to recruit candidates abroad is too onerous a task that must necessarily be entrusted to a third party.”
According to Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, the number of vacant positions stood at 114,215 for Quebec companies in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 21,365 (+23%) compared to the same quarter in 2018.
Over the past year, the number of vacant positions has plateaued between 114,000 and 120,000 vacancies.
In the first quarter of 2019, Quebec had the second-highest job vacancy rate among the provinces (3.1%), ahead of Ontario (3.0%). British Columbia has the highest job vacancy rate in Canada, at 4.4 per cent.
Four Quebec regions have job vacancy growth rates that are among the 10 fastest growing in Canada. Quebec’s Mauricie region had the highest growth rate in the number of vacant positions in Canada (+89%), followed by the Laurentians, Laval and Chaudière-Appalaches regions.
The Montreal region had the largest number of vacant positions in Quebec, at 38,515.
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