Last Updated on August 20, 2021
Six regional plans to provide settlement service for immigrants in the francophone province of Quebec are now up on the website of that province’s immigration department.
“These action plans are the result of the collaboration between the regional networks of the immigration department and its economic, community and municipal partners,” wrote Benoit Dagenais, deputy minister for Quebec’s immigration department, the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI).
The province was already facing a labour shortage prior to the pandemic.
In some regions of Quebec, that paucity of people to fill positions is now so great some businesses are remaining closed on some days of the week for lack of staff.
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Quebec sees immigration as being its best option to fill those jobs and rebuild its economy.
“Quebec is experiencing an unprecedented situation. The health crisis has disrupted the labour market and affected the most vulnerable, most notably immigrants and particularly newcomers,” wrote Dagenais in French in the introduction to the regional plans.
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“Despite all that, the pandemic has also highlighted that these same people are up to the task of meeting our urgent need in several sectors of the economy, including healthcare. It is now more important than ever to improve those services to help immigrants settle, integrate and contribute to the economy and culture of our society.”
There are regional plans for settlement services for each of the following regions:
- the greater Quebec City and eastern region of the province;
- the Eastern Townships, the Mauricie and central part of Quebec;
- Laval, the Laurentians and the de Lanaudière region which stretches from the Saint Lawrence River north of Montreal to the Laurentians;
- the Montérégie, an area that includes the cities of Boucherville, Brossard, Granby, Longueuil, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Hyacinthe, Sorel-Tracy, and Vaudreuil-Dorion;
- the greater Montreal area, and;
- the northern and western parts of Quebec.
Regional Plans Highlight Quebec’s Priorities
“The regional action plans for 2021-2022 set out the priorities and regional initiatives which will be put in place during the coming year,” wrote Dagenais. “They identify milestones for the innovative solutions and will guide the local interventions of the immigration department in each of the regions of Quebec.”
This year, Quebec earmarked $15 million in extra funding for settlement services in the province’s regions. That funding was part of the $246 million invested into programs to attract and retain immigrants.
“Attracting and retaining immigrants to our communities, particularly those in the outlying regions, allows businesses to grow due to these skilled workers and helps resolve labour shortages in several of our economic sectors,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault earlier this year.
Quebec, which is bullish on immigration, has lately doubled the limit on the percentage of temporary foreign workers that businesses in some sectors of the economy can hire, going to 20 per cent of the workforce from 10 per cent.
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“The recruitment of temporary foreign workers is one of the options Quebec businesses will now have to deal with the labour shortage,” Quebec Labour Minister Jean Boulet said in French in a statement.
“With this flexibility in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, we are supporting businesses suffering from an urgent need for workers.”
Quebec is also offering up Temporary Open Work Permits, (the Permis de travail ouvert transitoire – PTOT) to those who have submitted an application for permanent residence as skilled workers. These will be two-year work permits that can be renewed for an additional year, provided the worker remains in Quebec.
These work permits will also be offered to the applicant’s spouses regardless of that spouse’s type of employment.
The province has also announced a new pathway to permanent residency under the International Mobility Program that will allow 7,000 workers per year to be brought in without having to complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment.
“We have listened to temporary foreign workers and Quebec businesses,” said Quebec Immigration Minister Nadine Girault. “As a result of these agreements, we have taken an important step in supporting economic development in Quebec, its businesses and its regions, to make things easier for foreign workers applying for immigration.”