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Fifteen years ago, a code of behaviour for prospective immigrants was published by the small Canadian parish of Herouxville, urging them not to burn or stone women to death and to only conceal their faces for Halloween. In order to entice more immigrants, it is considering policies like subsidised housing. Herouxville today desires to be recognised for its diversity.

According to the most recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data from late 2021, Canada has the biggest labour shortages among Western nations. An unprecedented flood of retirements this year has made its predicament worse. The issue is especially severe in rural Quebec, which is frequently disregarded by the small number of newcomers who choose to remain in Montreal.

Immigrants, according to Statistics Canada's census, now make up 23% of Canada's population, up from 21.9% in 2016, and they have contributed 80% of the country's labour force growth in the previous five years.

Also Read: Canada: Undocumented migrants may get permanent status soon

As governments in cities like London and Washington, Canberra, and Tokyo weigh political and popular pressure to limit immigration against grave labour shortages, Herouxville's outreach is a response to a bigger dilemma that, to varying degrees, affects Quebec, Canada, and many other countries.

Herouxville's long-held apprehension about accepting immigrants at the expense of its French-speaking Quebec character has given way to a more urgent concern: the requirement for more families to help fill jobs, send their children to its schools, and maintain its population.

Also Read: Work for Canadian government as a student: Everything you need to know

The personnel shortage is affecting both low-paid and skilled occupations, from hospitality and manufacturing to transport and agriculture, and is caused by ageing populations, a rise in the number of people retiring, COVID travel, and corporate turmoil.

New results from the most recent census in Canada support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign to increase immigration to fill labour and skills shortages, which analysts say are driving up wages and endangering lower productivity.

Also Read: New anti-racism strategy: Canada immigration may never be the same again

More than any other province in Canada, Quebec - with a large degree of autonomy over its own immigration policy - is fighting change. The new data revealed that only 14.6% of its 8.3 million residents were foreign-born, far less than the national average.

With its immigration caps, Quebec seems to have had some success encouraging French-speaking people. 28.7% of recent immigrants to the province, up from 25.7% in 2016, were found to speak French as their first language, according to the most available census statistics.

(With Reuters inputs)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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