Published On: Tue, Jul 31st, 2018

Labor Shortages in Quebec Lead to Economic Uncertainty

While tourism in Quebec City has reached record heights, with 2017 seeing the highest number of visitors in its history, it would seem that business in the area should be doing well.

Yet, business owners, especially restaurants, small shops and hotels in Quebec are claiming that the opposite is in fact the reality. For many, the problem is not the lack of customers but the shortage of available workers to serve those customers.

The summer is a season where there are actually more workers available than the rest of the year because many university students are done with classes and looking for seasonal jobs. Once the students resume studies the labor situation will become even more dire for local businesses.


“Workforce shortages is the number one concern of businesses and entrepreneurs right now. We estimate that Quebec will need to find 100,000 workers over the next 10 years to fill our labour force needs,” said Pierre-Yves Boivin with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec.

Based on data and future projections, the workforce for workers aged 15 to 64 in Quebec has been shrinking since 2014 and will continue to decrease for at least the next decade.

One solution to the problem is immigration. Yet, due to delays and bureaucratic setbacks in both the federal application and the provincial application processes, getting workers into the country to fill empty positions in a timely manner is not always easy.

Even when employers are ready to pay money to sponsor employees from other countries the process is complicated. The application itself can be very lengthy, meeting criteria complex, and there are often long waits for approval, especially from certain countries like those in Africa. In many instances, employers seek the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer in Toronto or Quebec to facilitate the process.

Without a better solution, businesses are resorting to different methods to make up for the labor shortages including increasing overtime, making changes to their work structure, subcontracting, raising salaries, closing early, and more. Yet, these methods are far from perfect and not a sustainable solution for most businesses.

To deal with the issue, last year the Quebec government and 46 professional, educational and healthcare associations and institutions came together to work towards creating a more streamlined process of immigration for workers seeking to come to Quebec.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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