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Fewer job opportunities for young people

Fewer job opportunities for young people

After being hit hard by labor shortages over the past two years, the majority of companies, especially in the restaurant and retail industries, have hired people who pitched in immediately.

It's not that simple this year. There are certainly job openings, but a young person who wants to work this summer should come with a good resume.

Anthony St. Hilaire, 14, wants to make some money this summer. “It will give me pocket money and allow me to put some of it aside,” he explains.

He wrote in his autobiography about his strong motivation for work and the tasks he performed at home, such as mowing the lawn.

He gave his resume to grocery stores in his neighborhood, but has yet to hear back. “When I brought my CV, I was told there was almost no place left. The young people working now are too old.”

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate among Quebec students ages 15 to 19 rose from 6.3 per cent to 11.5 per cent between December 2023 and April 2024.

This increase is due, among other things, to the economic situation. This has led to closures or reductions in working hours. Operators do not expect a significant improvement in passenger numbers this summer.

“We hope that the summer season will be good, but not to the point of changing the working hours,” notes the Vice-President of Public and Government Affairs of the Restoration Quebec (ARQ) Association, Martin Vezina.

New law and immigration

The Quebec government also changed the Youth Employment Act. New guidelines for under-14s and 14-16s are holding many businesses back.

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Zach, 13 in 2023, worked at McDonald's during the school year. When the law was passed on July 1, he had to leave his job. His boss told him he could rehire him as soon as he turned fourteen.

“When he called us back in February, we told him we didn't need him. The workforce was full.”

Isabelle Lambert, Zach's mother

In Ms. Lambert's view, employers have largely turned to immigrants to fill available jobs.

An analysis confirmed by the Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Communications at Village Vacances Valcartier, Sandra Nadeau.

“In recent years, we have been facing a severe labor shortage. This is no longer the case. The huge influx of immigrants has allowed us to employ adults who have fewer restrictions than young people.

Greater competition

The number of applicants for the position has increased significantly. For the first time since the end of the pandemic, employers can afford to conduct more rigorous selection before hiring young people.

However, a teenager between the ages of 14 and 16 can still find themselves in paid employment. As long as you put in the effort.

“Young people need to excel.”

Sandra Nadeau, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Communications at Village Vacances Valcartier

To put the odds in his favor, Zach, with the help of his parents, “professionalized his resume” before handing it out to different restaurants. “We marked his skills, qualities and jobs. We also added letters of recommendation,” says his mother.

Despite everything, Zach endured several rejections before landing a trial day at a Boston pizzeria.

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“Last year, McDonald's hired him on the spot. That's where we prepared to meet him. “His ingenuity and reliability had to stand out,” says Ms. Lambert.

Although he got a job during school, the little boy is still waiting for extra work this summer.

“The number of customers in restaurants is down. They have to make choices,” Ms. Lambert says.

There are still a few jobs available

Of the 200 positions to be filled at Village Vacances Valcartier, a few are still available for this summer.

“Young people who want to work, we notice them even if they have no experience,” Ms. Nadeau emphasizes.

But be careful, the work is worth it.

To keep their jobs, young people will have to respect instructions and introduce themselves.

“We try to respect their requests so that they also enjoy the summer. However, expelling someone is no longer a problem, and we can count on a bank of candidates.

As for Quebec City, recruitment for day camps is 95% complete at the time of this writing.

What the law allows

  • Since June 1, 2023, the minimum working age in Quebec is 14 years.
  • Between the ages of 14 and 16, a young person can work a maximum of 17 hours per week during the school year, including a maximum of 10 hours from Monday to Friday.
  • This schedule does not apply to school holiday periods of more than 7 consecutive days.
  • Must be able to be home between 11pm and 6am including summer periods, weekends and holidays.
  • Night restrictions do not apply to newspaper delivery workers, nannies and those involved in artistic production. It also does not matter to young people who work in a holiday camp when they have to stay there.
  • Before the age of 14, a young person can only hold certain types of jobs such as newspaper delivery or facilitator in a non-profit social or sports organization.
  • Must have a youth under 14 years of age Permission from a parent for work.
  • Youth ages 12 and older can do light agricultural work. The company hiring them must have fewer than 10 employees in total.
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Source: Government of Quebec