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Hospitality Candidate Shortage in Quebec City

The last Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Quebec City closed it’s door the last week of December, 2019. The sudden closure surprised the 20 employees of the Wilfrid-Hamel Boulevard location. There once were 14 KFC outlets in the area, but most closed last fall.

This is disheartening to hospitality workers in Quebec City and Montreal. The employees will receive severance pay and any other money’s due, according to the union.

“The Ministry of Labour, as well as union representatives, were notified of this restaurant closure to ensure compliance with all Provincial regulations and legal requirements,” said Barbara Allen, human resources director at Olympus Food, which operates KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in Quebec.

“These closures are in no way a reflection of the dedication and contributions of our valued team members,” said Jamie Hood, KFC Canada’s director of development.

Currently there is a lack of qualified candidates for hospitality jobs in Quebec.

Tourism in Quebec City is booming. 2019 year saw the highest number of visitors in its history. But this is not good news for the hospitality industry. “2017 was a disaster, an absolute disaster,” said Kevin Quinn owner of La Nouvelle France in Old Quebec.

Quinn like many business owners in Quebec are struggling to find workers, especially kitchen staff. It has been dubbed ‘the perfect storm’. Too many customers, not enough workers. Last summer restaurants were closing amid the busy tourist season due to over worked staff, and no relief in sight.

When the students went back to school the situation became critical. While Quebec’s economy is growing, the population is not.

According to a study, from 1981 – 2010 the number of people between 15and 44 have decreased by five percent. According to globalnews.ca about 7000 Quebecers move to other provinces each year.

“Workforce shortages is the number one concern of businesses and entrepreneurs right now. We estimate that Quebec will need to find 100,000 workers over the next 10 years to fill our labour force needs,” said Pierre-Yves Boivin with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec.

Quebec is looking to immigration as a solution. There is a major opportunity for anyone in the hospitality industry, especially restaurant managers, general managers, and chefs.

Quebec is anxiously waiting the new immigration rules set to come out in 2020. This should make it easier to match skilled labour with employer needs. Many of the job vacancies only require a professional or technical diploma, not a college degree.


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