30 new occupations eligible for simplified processing in temporary worker program
Quebec has added over 30 new occupations that will be eligible for simplified processing under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
The changes will allow more workers to be employed in the restaurant, hotel, retail and food processing sectors.
Quebec would also all for an increase from 10 per cent to 20 per cent when it comes to the threshold for the number of TFWs per workplace in low-wage positions in given economic sectors. They will also expand the eligibility for simplified processing to include low-skilled (level C) occupations.
Further, an exemption would be granted to certain low or non-specialized professions (level D) when it comes to the posting and demonstration requirements of recruitment efforts.
The changes would be in effect until Dec. 31, 2023.
Recently, Ontario announced its plan to remove the requirement for Canadian work experience from immigrants looking to get licenced in certain regulated professions and trades.
Call to feds for immigration support
Quebec’s announcement follows an agreement concerning the TFWP and the International Mobility Program (IMP), which Quebec reached with the federal government on Aug. 4. The provincial government then held consultations with partners in the labour market to draw up lists of professions eligible for flexibilities of the TFWP to help out the province’s economy.
On Oct. 13, the Labour Market Partners Commission (CPMT) adopted a consensual resolution of employer and union partners highlighting the importance of TFWs in order to fight against the labour shortage in Quebec. Taking into account the opinion of the CPMT, the Quebec government sent the list of new sectors and professions to the federal government on Nov. 1 for quick implementation of the program.
“Now that we have clarified the sectors of economic activity and the occupations that will benefit from the flexibilities, we expect the swift implementation of the flexibilities by the federal government. These workers must obtain their work permit as soon as possible,” says Jean Boulet, minister of labour, employment and social solidarity and acting minister of immigration, francization and integration. (All quotes are translated from French.)
Canada is well poised to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic by relying more on new immigrants to help alleviate the labour shortage, the country’s immigration minister previously said.
In August, Ottawa announced it would help Quebec youth get a good start on their careers by investing up to $36.7 million through the Fédération des chambres du commerce du Québec to create work placements for post-secondary students.
Welcome news for employers
Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) applauded the changes to the TFWP program.
“In the current context, the labour shortage is a real obstacle to the competitiveness of manufacturing companies. The manufacturer is the winner of these flexibilities since it is the sector, after agriculture, that makes the most use of temporary foreign workers. We are now asking the federal government to ensure that these temporary measures can be deployed quickly on the ground, because the needs are important and urgent,” says Véronique Proulx, president and CEO of MEQ.
The Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ) or Quebec Employers Council also signalled its support.
"Food processing, retail trade, accommodation and catering are finally considered priority areas when the needs have been known for ages. Expanding the list of occupations and increasing access to temporary foreign workers was more than urgent,” says Karl Blackburn, president and CEO of the CPQ.
Quebec made the news recently when the government announced it has decided to postpone its vaccine mandate until Nov. 15 instead of Oct. 15 to avoid losing up to 25,000 employees in the healthcare sector.