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May 23rd, 2019

Rural Communities Deserve a Government That’s on Their Side

ROUYN-NORANDA – NDP Deputy Leader, Alexandre Boulerice, and NDP Rural Affairs critic, Christine Moore, are proposing measures to tackle the ongoing labour shortage in rural regions.

“An aging population, poor youth retention rates, the concentration of immigrants in large urban centres, and the services and infrastructure gap between cities and rural regions all directly contribute to an ongoing labour shortage in rural communities. Everyone is feeling the impacts of this unprecedented labour shortage in rural regions, either directly or indirectly,” said Boulerice (Rosemont — La Petite-Patrie). “This issue clearly isn't a priority for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. This government hardly did anything to help Quebecers tackle the labour shortage during their first mandate, and they clearly don't have a strategy.”

Many sectors and regions are facing this problem across the country and small businesses have been hit the hardest. Between 2004 and 2018, the job vacancy rate in Quebec almost doubled, from 2% to 3.9%. In Abitibi-Temiscamingue, the job vacancy rate is 3.3%. Yet, the Liberals proposed a pilot program with a goal of filling only 3,000 job vacancies across the entire country. It’s clearly insufficient. In the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region alone, there are 2,825 vacancies that need to be filled.

“Employers and workers want a coherent and diversified approach to address all aspects of this crisis,” added Moore (Abitibi — Temiscamingue). “The NDP is proposing many solutions encompassing the various problems related to the rural labour shortage. It’s time for a government that prioritizes this issue in rural communities. We will continue to fight to help our regions.”

The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to establish a non-refundable tax credit of up to $8,000 to recent graduates working in designated rural regions, which could be spread over a maximum of 5 years. This measure will encourage recent graduates to remain in rural areas. Moreover, to help businesses offer a better work-life balance and encourage parents to enter the workforce, the NDP is calling on the government to support businesses that want to create child care services in the workplace.