Faced with a major labour shortage that is affecting the province's economy, Quebec says it will have to hire foreign workers to meet workforce needs in the coming years.

Quebec Minister of Employment Jean Boulet made the announcement on Monday at a news conference in Quebec City.

One of the ways to meet employers' pressing demand for workers will be to recruit 3,000 workers from different countries in the coming year; that number could increase over the next few years and is already double the amount of recruits compared to last year.

In the coming months, Quebec plans to organize 17 "Quebec Days," which will function as recruitment missions in countries where interested employers can participate.

Priority will be given to French-speaking or francophile countries, such as France and Morocco, to facilitate and accelerate the integration of recruits and their retention in Quebec.

Focus will be on sectors where needs are greatest in the short term, such as information technology, engineering, the construction industry, and health and daycare services.

Other sectors, such as the hotel and restaurant industry, will also get some help as they have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of staff losses and recruitment difficulties.

Boulet says the labour shortage in Quebec is "acute" in all sectors and in all regions. He anticipates no less than 1.4 million vacant positions to be filled by 2030.

"In the context of generalized scarcity, immigration is one of the options available to businesses," he said, adding it is an option that is likely to become increasingly important over the years.

Nevertheless, the government says it does not plan to increase Quebec's immigration threshold, which is maintained at 50,000 newcomers annually.

The government initiative announced Monday is being carried out in collaboration with Québec International, Montréal International and the Société de développement économique de Drummondville.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 25, 2022.