Employment is doing well in Quebec, so much so that the province is gradually catching up with Ontario and is even doing much better in integrating young people and women into the job market.

“The catch-up was important,” says Jerome Lussier, deputy director of the Institut du Québec and one of the three co-authors of the comparative study of the labor markets in the two most populous provinces of Canada.

Entitled “If the trend continues…”, the study published today reports on Quebec’s continuous progress in the past three years in terms of employment.

“In the case of young people and women, Quebec now exceeds Ontario,” points out the researcher.

Quebec also does better than Ontario in integrating young people into the job market.

Ontario continues to do better than Quebec in integrating immigrants into the job market. The unemployment rate for immigrants is lower there. However, the unemployment rate of immigrants to Quebec has dropped significantly over the past three years.

Quebec is different from Ontario for the availability of labor, and it is not for the best. “This is the most worrying challenge for the Quebec job market,” stress the researchers.

The labor pool has shrunk in Quebec since 2011 while it continues to grow in Ontario. “This is particularly a problem outside of Montreal, when we are seeing depopulation of the regions,” says Jerome Lussier.

In Montreal, the pool of workers has not decreased, due to the contribution of immigration.

The problem of labor availability in Quebec is particularly worrying because labor productivity is lower than in Ontario, and that this gap is widening.

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The aging of the population and insufficient immigration to renew the pool of workers appear to be an important limit for Quebec’s prosperity. We will have no choice but to increase labor productivity, he insists.

There is no miracle cure, according to him, insofar as an important part of Quebec’s productivity problem – one third, according to the researcher – comes from its industrial structure. “In Ontario, productivity is driven up by the finance sector, where the added value is high and wages are high,” he illustrates.

There is no miracle cure to make up for this delay, but possible solutions. “We must encourage the companies we have to modernize and focus on sectors with greater added value, such as life sciences or aeronautics,” says the deputy director of the Institut du Quebec.

Canadian workers’ wages benefited from a significant rebound during the third quarter ended September 30, reveals a review of the Canadian economy’s GDP results released last Friday. It was in Quebec that this increase in wages was the strongest of all the Canadian provinces: at 7.2% at an annualized rate, compared to 5.1% for all of Canada.