Temporary foreign workers | Retaining employees is difficult

(Drummondville) Faced with a labor shortage, Quebec employers have never been more likely to recruit temporary workers from abroad. A healthy option that not only makes people happy.

Posted yesterday at 6:00 am.

Nicolas Berube

Nicolas Berube
The Press

When Daniel Mongrain and Chantal Thibodeau wanted to recruit French employees to fill vacant positions at their eight Tim Hortons locations in Drummondville earlier this year, they told themselves no. they can do otherwise.

“We’ve never done that,” said Mr. Mongrain. Local work can no longer be found. »

In order to accommodate the seven French workers recruited through the Young Professionals program of International Experience Canada (IEC), the couple bought two houses in Drummondville, furnished them, and bought two vehicles for workers.

The wage offered is $15.35 per hour after two months, and the asking rent is $650 per month, including electricity, heating and internet.


PHOTO PATRICK SANFAÇON, THE PRESS

The house that Daniel Mongrain and Chantal Thibodeau rent to their employees

We think it’s a good deal. Many of our employees in Quebec are jealous.

Daniel Mongrain

However, three employees from France who landed this summer resigned after just a few weeks, when their contract lasted two years.

The reasons given range from lower pay than first thought, due to taxes, to the working climate and the cost of living.

Mégane Boudou was one of those who left.

“I don’t like the working atmosphere, and the restaurant is not clean,” said the young woman from the south of France. I also expected that the salary would increase over time and I would get more responsibility, but I was told that would not be possible. »


PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

Megane Boudou

Mr. Mongrain says that the cleanliness of the restaurants must be ensured by the employees, and that the salary is set in the contract that the workers signed before arriving in Quebec.

“We were warned, many people will leave, we expect it,” said Mr. Mongrain.

Despite some problems, the Young Professionals program, which allows young people aged 18 to 35 from around the world to easily work in Canada for two years, is more popular than ever.

me Maxime Lapointe, a lawyer specializing in immigration law, says he brings nearly 300 young people to Quebec each year with this program.

“It’s generally good, people like their experience here,” he said.

One of the ways to solve the problem of the lack of workers is to increase the quotas in this program, said M.e The point. “For France, the program is limited to 2,200 people this year. It is very quick. »

Not a quick fix

Besides the Young Professionals program, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is also beneficial for employers.

Usually associated with foreign workers working in the field, this program also serves to meet the needs of other sectors, such as the manufacturing sector, which is secondary to the importance of welcoming foreign workers to Quebec.

Véronique Proulx, CEO of Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEC), says that the program is not a miracle solution, however: it costs up to $ 12,000 to bring a worker, who must be trained, regularly in one year.

“There is francization to do, you have to find a job for the spouse, find a place in the daycare, in the school… And, after two years, they have to leave. So it is not viable, from an economic point of view , and from a human perspective. »


PHOTO DAVID BOILY, THE PRESS

Véronique Proulx, CEO of Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters

Businessmen, mostly in the regions, do not understand why the government does not allow workers to stay longer.

“They have been integrated. Their French may not be at the required level, but we have to find a way to support them, because people often go back to other Canadian provinces. »

Martin Vézina, vice-president of public and government affairs for the Association Restauration Québec, points out that the employer also has the burden of obtaining a labor market impact study (LMIA), which confirms that no Canadian is ineligible for the position to be filled.

“It could take six months to get it,” he said. It’s a long time if you’re in a situation of need. »


Michel Pilon, coordinator of the Network for the Assistance of Migrant Agricultural Workers of Quebec (RATTMAQ), says that Service Canada’s policy of issuing a closed work permit, which binds temporary employees to an employer, is not good.

“Employees don’t have the power to go somewhere else if it doesn’t work,” he said. To rectify the situation, RATTMAQ has been asking the government for years to issue work permits in the sector.

As for Mégane Boudou, she left her dream in Quebec. Back in France, he recently got a job in catering.

“The work atmosphere is good, and the salary is three times what I was offered in Quebec,” he said.

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