Where to recruit future workers?

In order to fill some of the 259,200 vacant positions, it might be time to look at the inactive population ("inactive") among those aged 15 and over, i.

Where to recruit future workers?

In order to fill some of the 259,200 vacant positions, it might be time to look at the inactive population ("inactive") among those aged 15 and over, i.e. people who do not occupy no job, and who are not looking for one, for a thousand and one reasons, including age, studies, salary, constraints at work, family constraints, etc.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, last March there were 2.6 million inactive people, or 36.6% of the entire population aged 15 and over. Forget about 70 and over.

Still, there remains a pool of 1.5 million inactive people among 15 to 69 year olds.

By age group, here is the number of inactive people, with the percentage they represent in their respective groups.

If a portion of inactive people entered the labor market, it would help alleviate the labor shortage.

Compared to the number of inactive people listed in February 2020, the last month when the economy was operating at full capacity just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I noted that last March there was a higher percentage of inactive among 20-24 year olds (5.5 percentage points), 60-64 year olds (2.2 percentage points) and 65-69 year olds (1 point).

Which is, of course, negative in the context of the current labor shortage.

On the other hand, the percentage of inactive people fell somewhat (-1.1 percentage points) in the main category of workers, i.e. among those aged 25-54.

Good news also among 55-59 year olds, where the inactive rate fell by 3.7 percentage points compared to February 2020.

Severe lack of employees

The labor shortage is hitting hard in Quebec. Very strong. At the end of March, Statistics Canada reported that there were 259,200 vacant positions in our territory.

This is twice as much as barely 18 months ago, when in December 2020, Quebec posted 127,860 vacant positions.

And to say that during this same period from December 2020 to March 2022, 131,300 jobs were created in Quebec and found takers.

The vacancy rate, i.e. the number of vacant positions in relation to the demand for labor (occupied positions and vacant positions), reached 6.7% last March, i.e. the second highest rate in Canada. Only British Columbia does worse than us, with a vacancy rate of 7.3%.

Let it be said, the problem of the labor shortage is very serious in the province. All of Quebec is a loser since this represents a serious brake on the growth of our businesses, our productivity and the entire Quebec economy.

The labor shortage is affecting all sectors of economic activity, of which the following are the most affected according to the most recent data available on the number of vacant positions:

Apart from the “inactive” pool, where could we find workers to fill a large part of the vacant positions?

The unemployed and welfare recipients

While in March there were 259,200 vacancies, the number of unemployed stood at 208,300.

I dare to believe that it would be possible to tap into this vast pool of unemployed workers to fill tens of thousands of vacant positions based on the skills required.

We are no longer at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when it was more "paying" for many "unemployed" to stay at home thanks to a CERB (Canadian emergency benefit) more generous than the salary offered by several companies.

Another pool where it would probably be possible to recruit potential workers? Let's look at the side of social assistance recipients who have no constraints to return to the labor market.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, there are 83,440 social assistance recipients who are currently fit to return to work. Added to this is another potential pool of 46,500 claimants who will eventually be able to return to the labor market when their temporary constraints end.


As another solution aimed at solving the labor shortage problem, several interlocutors would like the Quebec government to increase the annual number of immigrants. But this is a long-term measure.

Take the Quebec Employers Council (CPQ). To deal with the issues related to the aging of the population and labor needs, the CPQ recommends the following measures:

The CPQ also recognizes that we must rely on Francophone or Francophile immigration. And, he adds, ensure the adequate offer of francization courses before and after the arrival of immigrants in Quebec in order not to deprive themselves of talents and interesting candidates because of their prior ignorance. of the language.