Facing labour shortage, parts of Quebec hope election brings more immigration
TORONTO -- In parts of Quebec, business owners are pushing federal election candidates for increased immigration to address a growing shortage of workers in the region.
Denis Coderre, the owner of of the trucking company SGT2000 Inc. in Drummondville, Que. told CTV News that those looking for a job came knocking at his door just three years ago, but now he travels the world in search of people to work for him.
“I am missing drivers,” he said in French. “I have about 50 trucks parked in the yard, no drivers."
One of the workers Coderre was able to find is Hechem Ben Amor, a mechanic from Tunisia who immigrated to Quebec three months ago.
“My father always encouraged me to come to Canada,” he said. “We know there is a labour shortage here.”
Coderre hopes whichever party wins the election will bring in more workers like Amor to help him out.
The Liberals have promised to boost immigration numbers, while the NDP pledge to end the cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents immigrating to Canada.
The Conservatives pledge to put an emphasis on the skills of the immigrants Canada accepts and improve the language training for them. They also promise to end illegal border crossings, of which Quebec has been a popular entry point.
Much like the Conservatives, the Greens want to create a system to evaluate an immigrant’s skills and training against the needs of the Canadian workforce and to add funding to train these immigrants in English and French.
The People’s Party of Canada plans to stop “mass immigration” by accepting fewer refuges, limiting the number of family members that can immigrate to Canada and making birth tourism illegal.
The Bloc Quebecois wants the federal government to grant the province a veto over any federal immigration law.
IMMIGRATION AND BILL 21
Chelbi Bouchera, a Quebec teacher, said there’s also a labour shortage in her field in part due to Bill 21, which prohibits the province’s public service workers from donning religious symbols while on the job.
Bouchera, who is allowed to keep her veil as Bill 21 is being grandfathered in, said some people are being denied jobs in the education system due to their religious clothing, despite the teacher shortage.
“It’s about human rights, it’s about fundamental rights,” she said.
She feels the federal leaders are in a tough spot because while some disagree with the law, the majority of Quebecers support it and seats in Quebec are crucial to an election victory.