Quebec businesses struggle to hire employees due to labour shortage

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Quebec facing labour shortage crisis amid third wave'
COVID-19: Quebec facing labour shortage crisis amid third wave
WATCH: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, Quebec is experiencing another epidemic of sorts; a labour shortage. Many businesses say they just don't have enough skilled workers to fill demand. Global's Tim Sargeant explains – Apr 16, 2021

Businesses in Quebec are struggling to hire new talent as the labour pool is extremely limited.

There are close to 150,000 job vacancies in the province, one of the highest in Canada according to Quebec’s largest employer’s association, the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) while the unemployment rate sits at 6.4 per cent, the lowest in Canada.

“This labour shortage really puts economic recovery at risk,” Denis Hamel, VP at the CPQ told Global News.

The CPQ released a survey indicating that 94 per cent of its members are struggling to find new workers and more than half of Quebec’s largest employers have had to turn down contracts due to the labour shortage.

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The lack of talent to draw upon is putting the squeeze on many businesses.

Amir Karim runs Polykar, a sustainable plastic packaging manufacturing plant in Montreal. The CEO tells Global News trying to recruit new staff is a major challenge.

“We have technical jobs and also administrative functions where it is is becomingly increasingly difficult to hire,” Karim said.

Analysts say lawmakers need to increase immigration levels so that more foreign workers can be hired.

They also want more funding for job training and cuts to payroll taxes.

“To increase salaries, to pay for training, to be more competitive,” François Vincent, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (VP Quebec), told Global News.

The shortage is occurring in almost every industry in the province from tourism to manufacturing.

“When the government looks at these 150,000 jobs that are vacant right now, the focus needs to be put on manufacturing — those who can add a lot of value and restart the economy,” Véronique Proulx, the CEO of Quebec’s Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told Global News.

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