Quebec's major problem? Too many jobs, not enough workers: Couillard
With tens of thousands of jobs unfilled in Quebec, Premier Philippe Couillard’s Liberals said they have a $1.4 billion, five-year plan in which immigration would play a major part.
With unemployment at its lowest in the province in 40 years, the Couillard government said the good news is tempered by a labour shortage, which the premier called the province’s biggest economic challenge.
According to the Liberals, 225,000 jobs have been created since they came to power in 2014 but 90,000 jobs are currently open and they estimate over 1 million jobs will need to be filled over the next decade.
Couillard said the problem is especially pronounced in small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec’s regions and employers are increasingly looking to immigrants as part of the solution.
“’Bring me workers,’ that’s what I hear,” he said. “That’s a radical change.”
Couillard noted that his opponenet, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee unveiled his own immigration policy on Tuesday, one which would encourage immigrants to settle in Quebec’s regions.
“Listening to Mr. Lisee this morning, that’s also a change that should be noted,” said Couillard.
The premier took a shot at the Coalition Avenir Quebec, saying leader Francois Legault is now the only party that has “a negative discourse on immigration.”
The CAQ has proposed reducing Quebec’s immigration levels by 10,000 people a year, saying the province doesn’t have enough resources to properly manage higher numbers.