Quebec businesses struggling to fill jobs as province leads Canada in vacancies

Quebec is the province with the most job vacancies in the country and while that might be good news for those seeking employment, business owners are complaining they may need to cut operating hours.

On Wednesday, Montreal grocery Milano announced it would be forced to close on Mondays due to being short-staffed. Owner Mario Zaurini said he lost half his staff during the pandemic and can't find enough workers, despite offers of higher pay.

“Employees didn't want to wear the mask, others were scared to get COVID so they stay home and were being paid by the government,” he said. “We lost them and they're still being paid by the government, staying at home while we're suffering.”

Marc Lanouette, owner of Rona St-Henri, said the labour shortage predates the pandemic.

“We used to be open seven days a week and we now we close Sundays and Thursday and Friday nights just to compensate and not have to juggle schedules,” he said.

There are currently 188,000 job vacancies in Quebec, accounting for more than five per cent of all jobs in the province.

Canadian Federation of Independent Business spokesperson Francois Vincent said manufacturing, construction and hospitality are feeling the shortage the most.

“First, they can't find candidates that fill the needs of the business. Second, problem is the demands of the candidate are too high for what the business can offer and, third, there's just a lack of candidates in the region.”

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