Montréal, February 2, 2016 ‒ Today the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal presented its brief on the Quebec immigration bill before a parliamentary committee. Board of Trade President and CEO Michel Leblanc told the committee that the system for selecting economic immigrants needs to aim for better alignment between the skills of immigrants and the needs of Greater Montréal businesses. Introducing a system that involves businesses more in the selection process will help speed up the professional integration of new immigrants and allow businesses to more readily meet their labour needs.
Adopt more effective selection mechanisms
“The Board of Trade reiterates its position in favour of a selection model based on an expression of interest from potential immigrants,” said the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal President and CEO. “This selection mechanism has been proven elsewhere in the world and was recently introduced in Canada. However, we remind the government that such a mechanism’s success depends on the choice and predictability of selection criteria. So the business community needs to be consulted in developing this criteria, without losing sight of forecast job market needs in Quebec and Montréal.”
“A new system also needs to reflect the fact that temporary foreign workers and international students are highly strategic, which the Québec Experience Program (PEQ) currently acknowledges,” Michel Leblanc said. “Close to 42,000 temporary workers and international students live in Greater Montréal, already demonstrating their potential for integration. Retaining them needs to be a priority for the Government of Quebec. If the government were to abandon the PEQ process, provisions need to be put in place within the expression of interest system to help shift their status from temporary to permanent.”
Improve the integration of new immigrants
“The Board of Trade applauds the government’s intention to improve services available to new immigrants to welcome and help integrate them,” Mr. Leblanc said. “But there is already a wide range of programs and services available for welcoming them, for francization and for employment assistance. So an in-depth study of these services and programs is required. Surveys show that in many cases better promoting services that are already in place is the most effective solution. This should be our first move.”
“On the other hand, few programs respond specifically to the needs of employers in Quebec and Montréal for integrating new immigrants and managing diversity,” Michel Leblanc said. “Yet they play a decisive role in integrating immigrants to the workforce. So the government needs to give them better tools so that they can hire a larger proportion of immigrant workers. This should be accomplished by making it easier to evaluate international work experience, developing professional integration support programs for businesses and fostering connections between employers and immigrant workers.”
“With a rapidly aging population, we have to take full advantage of every individual’s skills, whether immigrants or not,” Michel Leblanc said. “The government’s initiative to review Quebec’s immigration, diversity and inclusion policy, which will continue with multi-year planning later this spring, will respond to this challenge by laying the groundwork for the Government of Quebec’s strategic orientations. The exercise currently underway is therefore highly strategic for the Montréal business community and for all of Quebec.”
The Board of Trade’s recommendations fall into two areas:
1) Adopting efficient, transparent and flexible selection mechanisms that result in immigration that is more in line with the needs of businesses and the requirements of the job market;
2) Improving the integration of immigrants to the job market and Quebec society.
The Board of Trade’s brief can be consulted by clicking here.
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042
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