Au Quebec, there are 31,000 vacancies in the manufacturing sector.
The main political parties should commit to raising annual immigration thresholds to 90,000 people in Quebec to alleviate labor shortages, argues Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ), which has unveiled its demands on Wednesday for the next election campaign.
The effects of the scarcity of labor are not as visible in the factories as in the businesses open to all, but its consequences are very real for manufacturers, warns MEQ President and CEO, Véronique Proulx.
Often, the manufacturer has to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, she points out in an interview. We can't shut down a production line just the way we like it or because we don't have the workers. It puts a lot, a lot of pressure on the manufacturer.
The labor shortage is hitting the sector hard, where there are 31,000 positions to fill, writes the MEQ in the document presenting its proposals. Of its members, 70% say they have turned down contracts or paid penalties for late production due to understaffing.
The association, which represents the interests of more than 13,600 manufacturing companies, estimates that the immigration thresholds should be raised to 90,000 people for the next three years. The current threshold is 50,000. The labor market is finding it more difficult to bring experienced workers and young people back into the labor market, and that is where they say it will take longer. x27;immigration, explains Ms. Proulx.
The target proposed by the MEQ is higher than the figures mentioned by the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) and the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ). Labor and Employment Minister Jean Boulet said the target should stay around 50,000 because Quebec still has integration work to do, in an interview in Le Devoir newspaper last week.
At the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ), the leader, Dominique Anglade, mentioned the figure of 70,00 immigrants. In fact, Quebec already plans to welcome nearly 70,000 immigrants this year, which includes the target of 50,000, but also a catch-up for people who were unable to come to Quebec due to the pandemic, in 2020. The Liberals would propose leaving that figure at 70,000 in 2023, rather than lowering it to 50,000.
Ms. Proulx estimates that it is possible to integrate 90,000 new Quebecers into society. She points out that temporary immigrants, who already have jobs, are good candidates for permanent immigrant status. The government can also pay particular attention to immigration from the Francophonie, she adds.
To attract more newcomers to areas outside Montreal, the MEQ also suggests paying a non-taxable financial incentive of $10,000 to people who have been settled for less than five years.
This proposal is based on tax credits to attract graduates to the region, says Ms. Proulx. It can be an incentive for a person already settled in Montreal who says to himself: "If I go to the regions, there will be costs."
In total, the MEQ presented 12 electoral proposals which it hopes will be taken up by the main political parties. In addition to the labor shortage, the MEQ is making proposals to encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector and mitigate supply chain disruptions.
The association suggests in particular increasing tax credits for research and development (R&D) and aligning the type of eligible expenses with the federal government. It also proposes to adopt non-repayable contributions for the purchase of equipment related to robotization and automation of SMEs.
The MEQ would also like Quebec to improve its support program offer for companies that need to strengthen their expertise in ESG factors. Large companies that place greater importance on ESG criteria ask their suppliers to demonstrate that they comply with their practice. Not all companies are ready for this.