Montréal, October 6, 2021 – Just as it is managing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec is confronted with its failure to prepare for the impact of an aging population. As a result, the province is facing a labour shortage that may undermine its economic recovery. “Essentially, Quebec’s problem is simple,” says Robert Gagné, Director of the Centre for Productivity and Prosperity – Walter J. Somers Foundation (CPP) and co-author of the study. “Its employment rate is lower than that of Ontario and the Canadian average because fewer Quebeckers 60 and over are on the labour market. To give a general idea of the extent of the problem, merely bringing the employment rate for this portion of the population up to the level in Ontario would theoretically make it possible to fill half the vacant positions in the province.”

In a report titled Vieillissement démographique : solutions pour un Québec mal préparé, the authors note that the relatively low employment rate among people 60 and over in Quebec is basically attributable to the low native-born labour market participation – meaning people born in Quebec. “Our analysis shows that the employment rate for the Canadian-born population age 60 and over in Quebec is lower than that of other categories of workers in the same age group, whether they were born in other provinces or immigrants living in Quebec or elsewhere in Canada,” he explains. “This led us to conclude that the over-representation of native-born Quebeckers in the public service and unionized jobs in Quebec would explain this situation.”

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