New funding to support businesses looking to hire temporary foreign workers has been announced by Quebec, with the province in the grip of a labour shortage.
The governing Coalition Avenir Quebec will spend nearly $55 million to help the recruitment and integration of temporary workers.
The funding comes as the CAQ follows through on an election promise to cut permanent immigration by 20 per cent, despite the protestations of the business community.
Quebec currently leads Canada with a job vacancy rate of 4.1 per cent. The latest figures show it has nearly 121,000 unfilled positions and a record-low unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent.
Figures show the rise is continuing in 2019 with 21 per cent more permits issued in the first quarter compared to the previous year.
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The new funding, announced by Labour Minister Jean Boulet on August 26, includes $20.9 million in assistance for businesses looking to hire TFWs.
The money will be spent in the following areas:
- Reimbursement of 50 per cent of costs for businesses taking part in a recruitment mission, up to $5,000.
- Reimbursement of 50 per cent of costs for international recruitment trips outside organized missions, for travel, accommodation and meals, up to $5,000.
- Financial assistance for relocation of recruited workers, up to $1,000.
- TFWs and their spouses to have access to all public employment services.
A further $33.9 million is to be spent on the employment integration of immigrant workers, enhancing the province’s Immigrant and Visible Minority Integration Program (PRIIME) and Internationally Trained Employment Integration Program (IPOP).
The new funding will see employers hiring an immigrant or visible minority candidate receive a gross wage subsidy of 70 per cent, up from 50 per cent prior to the new cash injection.
“To address the phenomenon of labor scarcity, the recruitment of temporary foreign workers is an option that more and more businesses are turning to,” Boulet said.
“Your government wants the inclusion of the greatest number of workers so that everyone has the opportunity to showcase their talents.”
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Hiring a TFW In Quebec
Employers must obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to bring in a temporary worker.
The LMIA is required to show the position could not be filled with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Foreign workers intending to work in Quebec must have their LMIA applications assessed by the Quebec immigration ministry (MIDI) as well as Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
If the Quebec government issues a positive LMIA, it will issue a Quebec Acceptance Certification, which must be presented by a foreign worker to a Canadian border officer when entering Canada for work in Quebec.