Quebec signs deal with Ottawa to allow more temporary foreign workers in province

Temporary foreign workers from Mexico plant strawberries on a farm in Mirabel, Que., on May 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The government of Mexico won't send any more temporary foreign workers to Canada until it has more clarity on why two died due to COVID-19. The Mexican ambassador to Canada says his government wants to know more about the circumstances around the death of the two men and what's being done to prevent similar tragic outcomes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Quebec has reached a deal with Ottawa that will allow up to 20 per cent more temporary foreign workers in the province to work in low-wage jobs.

The federal government announced the pilot project Friday in a news release, saying it will run until Dec. 31, 2023.

Ottawa says the agreement also allows an extra 7,000 annual work permits to be given to people whom the Quebec government has issued a Certificat de sélection du Québec, which is required to become a permanent resident in the province.

A major employers’ association called Conseil du patronat du Québec welcomed the deal today, saying it will help alleviate the labour shortage in the province.

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It says the federal government’s temporary foreign workers program carries many restrictions that are not adapted to the country’s labour market.

Quebec’s unemployment rate was 6,1 per cent in July.

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