Premier François Legault, Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette, and French Language Minister Jean-François Roberge announced new immigration targets this week for the next two years. For the retail sector, key takeaways include:
- Quebec is maintaining the annual cap of 50,000 immigrants for the next two years, without taking into account the concerns of the economic community;
- Quebec adds 6,500 immigrants under the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEP);
- Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) workers will be required to demonstrate, upon arrival, sufficient oral knowledge of French (unless an agricultural worker), and;
- For the first time, the requirement to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of French (beginner level) will be imposed on economic immigrants (students or workers) who wish to stay in Quebec for more than three years.
The announcement of these new measures suggests the Quebec government isn’t taking the full measure of the seriousness of the current labour shortage. With the aging population exacerbating the shortage of workers, all socio-economic sectors of Quebec are likely to continue to suffer.