Temporary foreign workers: the “ugly” slowness of the federal government is holding back Quebec businesses
While the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismisses the idea of giving more power in immigration to the Quebec governmentour companies can no longer wait for their temporary foreign workers because of the federal government.
“We were supposed to have the first ones in November or December 2021, and we are still waiting for them. It’s really problematic,” laments Catryn Pinard, CEO of Nationex, a family business in Longueuil with 600 employees.
“These are about ten unionized night or evening handlers paid between $20 and $22 an hour,” continues the manager of the parcel transport company with about twenty sorting centers in Quebec and Ontario.
175 kilometers away, at the Scierie St-Michel, in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, one wonders why Ottawa did not see the wave coming in its rear view mirror.
“They didn’t see enough in advance what was coming. We have the lack of manpower in the face”, image René Gouger, superintendent of human resources at the sawmill of 125 unionized employees and 45 managers.
“In a remote region, it’s even worse for us,” sighs the man from the MRC de la Matawinie.
Mexicans, Tunisians, French
In the factory, he can already count on four Mexicans for daily work, six Tunisians in electromechanics and three French in work-study, but he would like a lot more to run at full speed.
According to René Gouger, there is an urgent need for requests for specialized trades to be shorter since it is often this type of key position that will “save a company”.
“If we don’t have people to repair the machines, the sawmill doesn’t work. The machines will be out of order,” he sums up.
For Rachel Mance, human resources director of the American Hood Packaging, the delays are becoming so long that the use of foreign workers is simply out of reach.
“The deadline for the work permit, at the moment, it is filthy”, blows the one who goes out of her way to recruit workers at her Saint-Léonard plant of 140 employees and that of East Angus of 80 workers.
« Investment is a game that is not worth the candle since it takes between six months and a year and a half before having them, » she says.
In industry, you have to pay about $10,000 per worker when you do business with an outside firm. Some don’t have strong enough kidneys.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) was unable yesterday to provide details on the pending foreign worker applications.
Last April, more than 13,179 temporary foreign worker files were still pending, the federal government had confirmed to the Log.