Where do you recruit future workers?

To fill some of the 259,200 job vacancies, perhaps it’s time to look at the inactive (“inactive”) over 15s, people who don’t have work and aren’t looking for one, thousand and one reasons , including age, studies, salary, professional constraints, family constraints, etc.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, there were 2.6 million inactive people, or 36.6% of the total population aged 15 and over, as of last March. Forget about 70 and older.

However, there remains a pool of 1.5 million inactive people aged 15 to 69.

Here is the number of inactive people by age group with the percentage they represent in their respective groups.

  • 15-19 years: 195,000 (45.3%)
  • 20-24 years: 122,000 (25.7%)
  • 25-54: 348,500 (10.6%)
  • 55-59: 127,200 (21.1%)
  • 60-64: 300,900 (48.4%)
  • 65-69: 426,100 (77.7%)
  • 70+: 1,087,000 (93%)

If part of the inactive would enter the labor market, it would help alleviate labor shortages.

Compared to the number of inactive people listed in February 2020, the last month that the economy was at full capacity just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I found that last March among the 20-24- Year-olds had a higher percentage of inactive (+5.5 percentage points), 60-64 year-olds (+2.2 percentage points) and 65-69 year-olds (+1 point).

Which is of course negative in view of the current labor shortage.

On the other hand, the share of non-employed in the main employed category, ie among those aged 25 to 54, has decreased somewhat (-1.1 percentage points).

There is also good news for those aged 55 to 59, where the inactivity rate has fallen by 3.7 percentage points compared to February 2020.

Serious lack of employees

The labor shortage is hitting Quebec hard. Very strong. At the end of March, Statistics Canada reported that there were 259,200 job vacancies in our area.

That’s twice as many as just 18 months ago, when Quebec had 127,860 job vacancies in December 2020.

And to say that in the same period from December 2020 to March 2022, 131,300 jobs were created and takers found in Quebec.

The vacancy rate, which is the number of vacancies in relation to labor demand (filled positions versus unfilled positions), reached 6.7% last March, the second-highest rate in Canada. Only British Columbia does worse than us with a vacancy rate of 7.3%.

The labor shortage problem is very serious in the province. All of Quebec is a loser as this is a serious constraint on the growth of our businesses, our productivity and the overall Quebec economy.

Labor shortages affect all sectors of the economy, of which the following are most affected according to the latest available data on the number of job vacancies:

  • Accommodation and catering services: 35,160
  • Health care and social assistance: 35,045
  • Production: 31,565
  • Retail: 29,515
  • Professional and Technical Services: 17,655
  • Administrative services, support, etc. : 14,995
  • Built: 14,890

Aside from the “inactive” pool, where could we find labor to fill a majority of the vacancies?

unemployed and welfare recipients

While 259,200 jobs were open in March, the number of unemployed was 208,300.

I dare to think that it would be possible to draw on this vast pool of unemployed people to fill tens of thousands of vacancies based on the skills required.

We are no longer in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many “unemployed” people “paid” more to stay at home thanks to a CERB (Canadian Emergency Response) that was more generous than that offered by several companies Salary.

Another pool where it would probably be possible to recruit potential workers? Let’s look at the side of welfare recipients who can freely return to the labor market.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, 83,440 welfare recipients are currently able to work again. Add to that another potential pool of 46,500 applicants who will eventually be able to return to the labor market when their temporary restrictions end.


As another solution to solving the problem of labor shortages, several interlocutors call for the Quebec government to increase the annual number of immigrants. But this is a long-term measure.

Take the Quebec Employers Council (CPQ). To address the issues related to population aging and labor needs, the CPQ recommends the following actions:

  • Raising permanent immigration thresholds, with more efficient selection to match labor market needs, and with shorter delays in processing applications.
  • Strengthening and effectiveness of the mechanisms for recognizing the skills and competences of immigrants.
  • Review the temporary foreign worker program rules by facilitating the arrival of workers who can meet employers’ needs by relaxing administrative requirements and expediting the processing of program applications.
  • Facilitate the access of temporary foreign workers to permanent residence.
  • Help SMEs access and integrate this workforce.
  • Implement real regional integration policies.
  • Attract and retain international students.

The CPQ also recognizes that we must rely on Francophone or Francophile immigration. And, he adds, ensuring an adequate supply of franking courses before and after immigrants arrive in Quebec, so as not to deprive themselves of talented and interesting candidates because of their previous ignorance of the language.

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