Montréal, August 23, 2016 ‒ The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presented its recommendations today to the Committee on Citizen Relations as part of consultations on immigration planning for 2017-2019. Given the demographic crunch in Québec, the president and CEO of the Board of Trade, Michel Leblanc, recommends that the government put in place targeted, concrete measures to improve the selection of immigrants based job market needs, facilitate their integration to the workforce and increase their numbers.
Align selection criteria with job market needs
The professional integration of immigrants is a major issue for the city’s business community. The unemployment rate among immigrants (11.1%) is higher than that of native-born Canadians (7.5%), despite the fact that there are unfilled jobs. “To tackle this major socioeconomic challenge, the Board of Trade recommends more effective selection of immigrants,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Selection should be more aligned with the needs of businesses. The Board of Trade welcomes recent initiatives by the Government of Québec to better adapt our immigration system to the economic reality of Québec and Montréal.”
“Foreign students and temporary workers are a strategic population,” Michel Leblanc said. “They are properly trained and understand the Québec job market. So it is important to make greater efforts to attract and retain more of them.”
Step up efforts to integrate immigrants to the job market
“Immigration is an invaluable asset,” Mr. Leblanc said. “It increases the active population and reinforces creativity, innovation and international trade. But the social integration of immigrants depends on their successful integration to the job market. So it is essential that we align selection efforts with measures to help integrate immigrants to the workforce. To do this, the Board of Trade suggests leveraging pre-immigration support programs so candidates can better prepare before arriving in Québec.”
Increase immigration in the medium and long term
“The availability of skilled labour is a major challenge for local businesses,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Plus, Québec’s demographic weight in Canada drops every year, which has an impact on our political clout. This is why the Board of Trade would like the government to increase the number of immigrants to Québec to 60,000 per year beginning in 2020 at the latest.”
Introduce an international mobility strategy
“With rapid technological change, many strategic sectors in Québec and Montréal, such as video games, have production cycles that are based on a project-driven and short-term approach,” Mr. Leblanc said. “These sectors need highly skilled, agile and often temporary labour. Yet the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is poorly suited to the needs of businesses. The Board of Trade calls on the Government of Québec to negotiate an international labour mobility strategy with the federal government that reflects the new reality of businesses and encourages the mobility of temporary skilled workers.”
The Board of Trade’s brief can be consulted by clicking here.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042
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