1709091029 The Labor Minister wants to reduce the number of foreign

The Labor Minister wants to “reduce the number of foreign workers”

Quebec wants reduce the number of foreign workers» by finding other ways to improve business productivity to prevent our SMEs from missing out on automation.

“Of course we want to work to reduce the number of foreign workers by increasing productivity, but we need to support our companies. That's what we're doing,” Labor Minister Kateri Champagne Jourdain said in an interview with the Journal on the sidelines of an announcement Monday in Montreal.

Even if these workers “respond to urgent labor needs across multiple sectors,” she says there is a real absorption problem.

As of December 31, there were 59,820 workers in the temporary foreign worker program and 107,615 in the international mobility program. (See table opposite)


“Provided by IDQ”

To alleviate the shortage, a number of solutions are needed, according to Kateri Champagne Jourdain.

“We support companies in all areas related to machinery and technology with Investissement Québec and with training here at Employment. We are here,” she emphasized.

  • Listen to the interview with Kateri Champagne Jourdain, Minister of Labor, and Karl Blackburn, President and CEO of the Conseil du Patronat du Québec QUB :

Automation, robotization, exclusion of customers from the labor market… Our SMEs must roll up their sleeves and expand opportunities to increase their productivity, explained the minister.

“We have to make sure our companies have everything under control. There will be massive retirements. It's happening right now,” Kateri Champagne Jourdain continued after announcing a project aimed at keeping 60- to 69-year-olds in work.

Impact on salaries

On Monday, Le Journal reported that a study by the Institut du Québec (IDQ) suggested that more “foreign temporary workers” were being employed [que les 59 820 actuels] could have a negative impact on the wages of local workers.

“If there is less competition in certain occupations, wage inflation will be lower if we hire workers from abroad,” said IDQ Director General Emna Braham.

Asked about the issue, Minister Kateri Champagne Jourdain declined to comment on the issue until she had read the detailed study.

“We will take the time to consider how it has been brought into this report and that will also inform our considerations,” she concluded.

– In collaboration with Gabriel Côté


According to the Institut du Québec, more than 23% of approvals for the temporary foreign worker program are for the agricultural sector, but manufacturing and IT are also increasingly participating in the program.