Labor shortage Immigration to save our infrastructure works

Labor shortage: Immigration to save our infrastructure works

Quebec, which is preparing to invest billions of dollars in aging infrastructure, doesn’t have the luxury of forgoing immigration to urgently fill key positions in our engineering firms.

• Also read: A record number of job openings in Quebec’s manufacturing sector

• Also read: Lack of “good jobs” worse than ever

• Also read: Immigration and training as solutions to labor shortages

“Due to the lack of staff, sometimes there is only one or no bidder per project and you have to postpone it. If it gets worse, it will end up costing a lot more,” warns Daniel Mercier, president of Groupe ABS, a civil engineering laboratory with 600 employees.

According to him, the glaring shortage of site technicians could one day even bleed Quebec taxpayers’ wallets by skyrocketing the cost of certain infrastructure works.

“We have to subcontract certain activities abroad. That’s not my primary wish. There is a technical drawing that I must have made in Mexico,” says Étienne Rivard, Big Boss of engineering firm Infrastructel.

“We have 250 employees. About 20% comes from immigration. We can easily accommodate 10 or 12 technicians and engineers in the fields of electrical, mechanical and civil engineering,” continues Longueuil’s manager.

Public lighting, inspection, surveillance… a company like his doesn’t have the luxury of missing out on those talents to whom he owes a proud candle.

The key to more income

As Career Events opens next week in Montreal with more than 12,000 vacancies to fill, more than 84% of exhibitors are clamoring for more immigrants to be welcomed.

“These newcomers will allow the companies to generate much higher revenues,” even says founder and president Éric Boutié.

“We have to welcome more because there are jobs,” he stresses.

Quebec has one of the highest job vacancy rates in the country at 5.9% and 246,300 job openings as of this past July, according to Statistics Canada. The patience of SMEs is being tested.

“It makes sense that these companies would want people, immigrant or not, to fill vacancies,” said Simon Savard, senior economist at the Institut du Québec (IDQ).

“We cannibalize each other”

For their part, in recent days entrepreneurs have told the Journal how important the contribution of immigrants is to their factory, beyond the political debates surrounding the issue.

For Étienne Rivard, CEO of Infrastructel, the labor shortage is eating up a lot of time for companies fighting each other.

“We cannibalize each other among companies,” conjures up the big boss.

“If we had 50 more employees, we would hire them tomorrow morning,” adds Daniel Mercier, President of Groupe ABS.

Employees with a migration background are therefore gold in the bar in the middle of the crisis. At Groupe ABS, every second employee comes from abroad.

“These are often people who are engineers in their country of origin and accept technical positions,” observes Daniel Mercier.

For engineer Josue Syrion, who has landed in Quebec for a month, employers’ appetites are a blessing.

“I love everything that has to do with technology and construction,” says the 53-year-old, who lived in the United States before settling here.

manufacturer too

And it’s not just the engineering firms that are stepping on the pedals.

A record 31,985 jobs are up for grabs at the maker, which has just lost $18 billion in two years to the shortage.

“Almost half of our 250 employees have a migration background. We’re looking for a hundred more skilled workers,” says Benoit Broncales, head of human resources at display manufacturer JPMA Global inc.

Carpenters, painters, grinders, welders, machinists, mechanics… the company needs hands to keep going.

“With hundreds of thousands of vacancies to fill, there has never been a better time to ensure positive immigration,” concludes François Vincent, vice president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Quebec.

Do you have any information about this story that you would like to share with us?

Do you have a scoop that might be of interest to our readers?