Couillard bemoans lack of qualified labour in Quebec

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is bemoaning the dearth of qualified labour in the province, saying the problem is more glaring than any dangers posed by possible changes to trade deals.

Couillard estimates more than 1.3 million jobs will need to be filled in Quebec by 2024.

The premier was speaking in Quebec City today at a forum on diversity and discrimination that replaced previously scrapped consultations on systemic racism.

Quebec government statistics indicate the province's active population has been diminishing by 5,000 workers a year since 2014.

That translates into companies being forced to scale back on investments and turning down contracts.

Immigration Minister David Heurtel estimates more than 20 per cent of the labour shortage is going to have to be filled by immigrants.