Canadian Immigration News

Quebec Needs High Immigration Targets to Ensure Post-Pandemic Recovery

2.6 minute read
"On October 28, 2021, the Quebec government announced its immigration level target of inviting 52,500 new immigrants in 2022. This comes after the province’s plan to increase immigration post-pandemic to support economic recovery."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Nov 23, 2021
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On October 28, 2021, the Quebec government announced its immigration level target of inviting 52,500 new immigrants in 2022. This comes after the province’s plan to increase immigration post-pandemic to support economic recovery. 

Why Does Quebec Need High Immigration Numbers?

Currently, Quebec has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. In September, the unemployment rate in Quebec was at 5.9% while it was 7.1% nationally. The low unemployment rate can be attributed to its retiring population. Over 20% of Quebec’s population is 65 years old or older, compared to 18.5% nationally. Quebec also has low birth rates compared to the national average and the lowest immigration rates per capita. 

All these factors contribute to a labor shortage in the province. Quebec has the highest job vacancy rate in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. These labor shortages make it difficult for employers to operate at full capacity and meet the demands of their consumers. It also hurts the economy and makes it difficult for employers to invest in the province. 

Labor shortages are among the most significant problems faced by Quebec. Stakeholders across the province have argued to increase the immigration rate to meet these shortages. In July, the Quebec Employers Council wrote an article providing 10 solutions to the labor shortage problem. Two of these were concerned with increasing immigration levels by reforming the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). According to a report published by the Quebec Manufacturers and Exports, labor shortages cost the province over $18 billion in the last 2 years. Therefore, the only way to solve this is by inviting more immigrant workers to settle in Quebec. See Quebec Immigration for its programs.

What Are the Current Immigration Levels in Quebec?

Before the 2018 election, Quebec was inviting around 50,000 immigrants every year. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party won the 2018 election by promising to reduce the immigration levels by 20%. After winning the election, the CAQ reduced the immigration levels target to 41,800 immigrants every year. This resulted in added pressure on the Quebec economy. Even though Quebec has the authority to set its immigration levels target, they continue to keep them low. Quebec welcomes only 12% of all new immigrants in Canada despite being home to over 23% of the Canadian population. 

Quebec is aiming for an immigration rate of 0.6% on a per capita basis. This is very low compared to the 1% per capita immigration rate target set by the Canadian government in the Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-23. While increasing immigration will not magically solve the existing labor market shortages in Quebec, it is still a key part of the solution. 

What Should Be the Immigration Level for Quebec?

Given the current demographic and labor challenges faced by the province, Quebec needs a much higher level of immigration. Quebec can do this by following the targets set by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Given its population of 8.4 million people, Quebec should pursue an immigration target of inviting 84,000 new immigrants every year. 

While this is a significant increase from the current level, it would bring the immigration levels in Quebec at par with the national average. That way Quebec can catch up with its labor shortages in a dramatically short period. The government can set a multi-year plan to reach this target over the next 5 years or so. 

However, the current democratically elected government has mandated that immigration levels be set low. Despite that, the CAQ government must work on ensuring the prosperity of the Quebec economy without compromising the uniqueness of the province. 

Since the immigration targets for 2022 have already been set, little adjustment can be expected until next year. However, by that time, the election will happen to elect the next government. This will give the opposition parties in Quebec a chance to share their plans for the future of immigration in Quebec.

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