Hiring blitz at Quebec businesses considered ‘essential services’

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Some Montreal-area companies hiring extra employees'
Coronavirus outbreak: Some Montreal-area companies hiring extra employees
WATCH: While thousands of Montrealers are being laid off, some companies are on a hiring blitz. As Global's Dan Spector explains, companies that offer food delivery services are desperate for workers – Mar 25, 2020

While operations at many Quebec businesses have come to a grinding halt due to novel coronavirus safety measures, others are scrambling to find new employees.

All non-essential businesses are now closed in Quebec in an effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been ordered to stay that way until at least April 13.

The lockdown means countless businesses have been forced to lay off staff, but some employers say they don’t have enough workers to meet demand, especially the health care sector.

“It’s a funny paradox,” said Dalia Toledano, executive director of community health and partnerships at the West Island CIUSSS. “We’re all deployed, we need a lot of people, and [in] other sectors, they’re being laid off.”
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Click to play video: 'How COVID-19 impacts employees'
How COVID-19 impacts employees

Toledano said the West Island regional health authority desperately needs many types of help.

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“If they’re looking and available they can apply, and we have a fast-track system because we are looking for helping hands during this time,” she explained.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Unions brace for layoffs at airlines, hotels and casinos

“If you’re willing to take on just about anything, there’s something out there for you if you want to work,” said HR expert Sherri Rabinovitch.

With people being encouraged to stay at home and have their necessities, including groceries, delivered, Rabinovitch said delivery drivers have also been in high demand.

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On Wednesday, Global News found postings for driving jobs at all the major food delivery services like Uber Eats and Foodora.

Meal prep services like Goodfood are also noticing a big spike in demand — they too have a need for more staff.

“We started seeing surging demand March 13, when Quebec closed down schools and daycares,” said Goodfood CEO Jonathan Ferrari.  “It’s been pretty much flowing from there.”

Ferrari said the company is hiring 500 people across the country right now, with about a quarter of them in Montreal.

READ MORE: WestJet announces layoffs for nearly 50% of staff due to COVID-19, Air Canada reduces pilots

Veg Pro, the maker of Attitude pre-washed vegetables also needs workers at the Sherrington, Quebec plant south of Montreal. They’re even willing to hire people who just need work temporarily.

“The main point is to help out people in the current context, helping people get into the plant, entry-level roles they don’t need specific training experience,” said Jean-François Thériault, executive director of human resources at Veg Pro. He added the company is filling multiple full-time positions as well, and that they would be open to having people who seek temporary jobs stay on for the long term.

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New poll shows how Quebecers feel about COVID-19 pandemic

Rabinovitch says companies making medical equipment and hand sanitizer are also hiring.

“I think it’s important to go to LinkedIn, tons of jobs are being posted,” she said.

Though times may seem bleak, there are jobs to be had.

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