Quebec May Opt-Out of Proposed Immigration Program That Could Fill Over 100,000 Job Vacancies in The Province
The Canadian Liberal Party’s election platform has promised to help small, rural municipalities access more immigrants to help curb labour shortages through a new immigration program.
If the Liberals are elected during the upcoming federal election, the program would help address the massive amount of job vacancies across the country, particularly in Quebec.
But because the Quebec provincial government has pledged to reduce immigration, the province may choose to opt-out of the program, which could negatively affect many communities in desperate need of more workers.
The proposed program would be called the "municipal nominee program” and would mirror a similar program in place at the provincial level.
The Liberal platform has not revealed too many details about the program, but claims that it will create at least 5,000 spots for newcomers. This is actually quite minimal compared to Canada's overall immigration numbers, as the country is set to accept over 330,000 new immigrants by the end of this year.
Unfortunately, for many rural communities across Quebec experiencing a massive labour shortage, this program does not line up with the province’s goal of reducing immigration.
The Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), a group that lobbies for Quebec business interests, told CBC that the labour shortage across the province is dire and expected to worsen as more baby boomers continue to retire.
In recent years, Quebec communities such as Saint-Georges have welcomed thousands of newcomers to help fill job vacancies. The population of Saint-Georges in particular has grown to 32,000 in the past five years and is booming due to the increase in immigration.
However, throughout the rest of Quebec, labour shortage persists, with an estimated 120,000 vacant positions and not enough workers to fill them.
The municipal nominee program proposed by the Liberal Party could potentially help communities fill these vacancies.
Despite the widespread labour shortage in the province, since the Coalition Avenir Québec was elected back in 2018, the party has promised to reduce the number of economic immigrants allowed in Quebec by 20 per cent this year.
The Liberal Party on the other hand has said they would not be able to force Quebec to take part in the municipal nominee program, as the province has the authority to control economic immigration.
Whether or not Quebec will actually opt-out of the program if the Liberals are elected is currently unknown, as a spokesperson for Quebec's immigration ministry told CBC that it would not be commenting on any federal election promises.