Study suggests Quebec needs to attract skilled migrants

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A new report by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC) says that Quebec could face a shortfall of 292,000 workers by 2025, rising to 363,000 by 2030. One possible solution would be to increase immigration of skilled migrants.

The non-profit research outfit's report, entitled 'From Baby Boom to Labour Crunch: Quebec's Impending Labour Shortage', stated that the amount of available skilled labor most likely peaked in 2007 and will gradually subside over the long term. By 2030, the labor shortage will amount to 8.5 percent of Quebec's total labor force. Ontario, in comparison, only has a projected labor force shortfall of 6.2 percent.

"Tight labour markets are no longer an exclusively Western Canadian concern. Quebec is already facing a lack of workers with specific trade skills, and more generalized labour shortages could be felt in the broader economy as early as 2010," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director.

CBC said that, in practice, a large fall in the number of available workers is not economically sustainable. A severe labor shortage would result in a quick increase in wages, prompting companies to replace labor with capital equipment.

CBC feels there is no "simple solution" to the impending shortfall. However, the organization proposed a few possible approaches, including attracting more skilled migrants and streamlining recognition of foreign credentials.

Yolanda James, Quebec's immigration minister, also stated that the French-speaking province of Canada needs to increase immigration. Her party would like to see the annual quotas raised from 46,000 migrants to 60,000.