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Quebec’s easing of restrictions on hiring foreign workers applauded by Restaurants Canada


February 27, 2020
By Canadian Pizza

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Gatineau, Que. – Quebec employers seeking to fill vacancies for eligible occupations will no longer have to present proof that domestic recruitment efforts lasted at least four weeks before looking for international recruits. This easing of conditions will allow quicker and more efficient access to foreign workers for positions that cannot be filled by the province’s workforce.

The changes will also eliminate the need to submit multiple Labour Market Impact Assessments for similar positions.

Restaurants Canada welcomes the Quebec government’s latest changes to the province’s temporary foreign worker program as a significant step toward addressing labour shortages. In response to ongoing advocacy efforts, a total of 226 professions are now eligible for streamlined processing, including a number of occupations related to the food and restaurant sector.

“This was an excellent move by the Quebec government, and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration Simon Jolin-Barrette in particular,” said David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada vice-president, Federal and Quebec, in a news release. “This will provide much-needed relief for small businesses currently struggling with labour shortages across the province.”

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The list of professions eligible for streamlined processing includes chefs, certified and senior cooks, bakers, butchers and a few other occupations related to food preparation. In addition, several critical administrative positions to the foodservice industry are included, such as accountants and managers. Other related trades have been added as well, including tile-layer, repair person, etc. Ultimately this will provide restaurant operators with more options and better service from their suppliers, the organization said.

“The previous posting requirements for these types of positions were completely out of touch with the reality of foodservice business operations,” Lefebvre said. “The fact that the government is recognizing this and has taken action to ease restrictions for hiring foreign workers for jobs related to food preparation and foodservice shows that the issues faced by our industry are being heard. It is reassuring to see that the government is listening and has not hesitated to make necessary changes.”

RESTAURANTS CANADA CALLING FOR SIMILAR ACTION AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL

Restaurants Canada is calling on the federal government to similarly simplify its admittance procedures for temporary foreign workers. A key ask is that proof of recruitment of Canadian workers be valid for a longer period of time and that application fees be linked to a position to be filled rather than to a specific individual.

Persistent labour shortages put a damper on investment and growth and place existing businesses at risk if they can’t be staffed. A national labour development strategy is needed, recognizing the critical role of food service as one of Canada’s largest employers, the leading source of first-time jobs for youth and a key contributor to every community across the country. As part of this strategy, a fast-track channel for temporary foreign workers should be introduced as soon as possible for the foodservice sector.