Recruit or close, the dilemma of superiors

Diane Bergeron is there.

It’s an imminent closure if things don’t change.

17 years ago, I opened a Point d’Exclamation store on the very busy Avenue Saint-Jean in Quebec City. Since all this time, she has been selling creations of artisans, mostly from Quebec. Clothes, bags, jewelry, dishes… the choice is wide.

She’s so full of hope that she’s coming out of the second shutdown in March and taking the helm of a refurbished store. To keep it running at full speed, it needs employees. And this is where you get stuck.

Job offers appear on storefronts, but candidates are rare.

Photo: Radio Canada/Colin Cote Polit

Within four months, she received only one application that she could not accept.

I need someone I can trust, of working age and a certain maturity. I leave the keys to this person who finds himself alone in the store. This means that it opens in the morning, runs the cash register, and closes in the evening.

Since she also works full time, Diane Bergeron has only been able to open her shop for two days since June 23. This is not without financial and moral consequences.

We mainly make our recipe in the summer. But there, things are not going well. Sometimes I cry, admit.

Less choice than last summer

The store owner is not the only one who is understaffed. A little further up rue Saint-Jean, Catherine Rouleau, owner of clothing store Roba et Murmure, makes the same note.

Hard to find staff this year. The students are not there. No CV coming, phone not ringing.

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A woman stands outside a store.

Catherine Rouleau, owner of clothing store Roba et Murmure, remembers that summer job orders have been pouring in last year.

Photo: Radio Canada/Colin Cote Polit

This situation frustrates her even more because the business is going well: the customers are there. Due to the insufficient number of employees, the working hours have been reduced.

Stories like this come as no surprise to François Vincent, vice president for the Quebec region at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

A small shop owner sold her business, exhausted, after working nonstop from March to January. We have restaurants that don’t open every day, dentists who find it difficult to provide services.

This fact is true in all regions of Quebec.

Quote from:François Vincent, Vice President of the Quebec Region of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Already in May, according to data from FCIIn Quebec, half of the heads of small and medium-sized businesses said the lack of staff was holding them back. The organization is in the process of conducting a survey of its members to assess where they are now.

How do you solve the problem? The FCI It presents some possible solutions. Reducing the tax burden on employers by reducing taxes and facilitating tax breaks is one of them. Just like increasing immigration thresholds and distributing new arrivals by region.

Meanwhile, Diane Bergeron fears having to stop working at the end of August at the latest.

It would be so sad to end like this, trust.

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With information from Colin Côté-Paulette

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