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Quebec Premier Francois Legault plans to accept 20 per cent fewer immigrants this year compared with 2018.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier François Legault says the reason many industries across the province are having trouble finding workers is because they aren’t paying enough.

Mr. Legault was responding today to pleas from business groups for the government to significantly increase annual immigration to respond to labour shortages.

Quebec plans to accept 20 per cent fewer immigrants this year compared with 2018 and then slowly increase the annual rate of newcomers until 2022.

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Business groups have been telling a legislature committee holding public consultations this week on Quebec’s immigration policy that Mr. Legault’s government risks aggravating labour shortages and hurting economic growth.

But the Premier told reporters the vast majority of jobs in Quebec that aren’t being filled are low paid. Mr. Legault says his government is seeking to help companies increase their productivity and add value to their jobs so they can offer higher salaries.

Mr. Legault says his government needs to temporarily reduce immigration because too many immigrants can’t find work within the first five years of arriving, and many don’t speak French.

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