“What we need is qualified labour,” said Campeau, who was representing L’Orienthèque — a non-profit employment organization in the Pierre-De Saurel et de Marguerite-D’Youville regional county municipalities.
With a shortage of labour in the region, Campeau was in Montreal on Wednesday at Événement Carrières, a large career fair, hoping to entice recent arrivals with the promise that L’Orienthèque will help them adjust to life in Sorel-Tracy — from finding a place to live to finding a daycare for their kids.
For years, Quebec had some of the highest unemployment rates in Canada. Now, unemployment rates in the province are among the lowest.
In March, the unemployment rate in Quebec was 5.6 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. Only Ontario, at 5.5 per cent, and British Columbia, at 4.7 per cent, had lower unemployment rates.
In some parts of the province, the unemployment rate is even lower. In Chaudière-Appalaches it was 3.4 per cent in March, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue it was 4.5 per cent.
“There’s a big shortage of labour,” said Robin Gendron, a recruiter for Groupe minier CMAC-Thyssen, a mining company in Abitibi, who was also at the job fair. “In Abitibi, the unemployment rate is very low, almost everyone is working, that’s why we have to broaden our horizons and look for new people.”
Over the past year, Quebec’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 per cent. It’s down 1.8 per cent since March 2016 (over the same time period, the participation rate has also risen — meaning that a larger percentage of the population is either employed or actively looking for work).
All of the job creation in the province over the past year has come from full-time jobs, according to Statistics Canada.
Between March 2017 and March 2018, the province added 149,900 full-time jobs — more than any other province in Canada — an increase of 4.5 per cent, the largest percentage increase in full-time employment in any province.
While Ontario added more overall jobs than Quebec over the past year, that was because there was a decline in the number of part-time jobs in the province.
That’s pushing employers to make better offers, said Éric Boutié, the president and founder of Événement Carrières.
“Because unemployment is very low, (employers) have to explore new strategies to increase recruitment,” he said.
Some employers are actively looking for immigrants to fill the gap.
But it can be a challenge for new arrivals to enter the workforce. This year, the career fair has more non-profit organizations that help immigrants integrate into the workforce exhibiting, Boutié said.
The biggest challenge immigrants face entering the workforce is language, said Sanny Liu, who works for the Alliance pour l’accueil et l’intégration des immigrants-es, which helps immigrants integrate into the workforce. Lack of French, as well as lack of English, can hold people back, she said.
Many skilled immigrants also struggle to find jobs in their fields and take jobs that don’t require the qualifications they have, she said.
Carla Garcia, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic a year ago, said she doesn’t think it’s difficult for new arrivals to find work in Quebec.
“There’s a lot of information that we can find,” she said.
Garcia, who is currently taking French classes, said her biggest challenge in the job market is language.
Source: Montreal Gazette