English-speaking Québecers experience higher unemployment and earn lower incomes than their francophone counterparts


Montreal, February 17th, 2022 – The Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) has released an employment profile of English speakers across Québec. This profile, which looks at the employment status of Québec’s English-speaking population in each of the province’s 17 regions, outlines the challenges that English speakers face in Québec’s labour market.

“This report challenges the myth of Québec’s English-speakers as a wealthy and homogenous community,” explains Nicholas Salter, Executive Director of the Provincial Employment Roundtable.

PERT’s report shows that English speakers are trailing behind their francophone counterparts in the vast majority of Québec’s regions. The report also highlights that English-speaking Quebecers experience higher rates of unemployment and lower after-tax incomes compared to French speakers. The report explains that these disparities are often caused by the difficulties English speakers face when integrating Québec’s largely French labour market.

“Given the current labour shortage, this report demonstrates the importance of developing solutions to ensure that Quebec’s English-speaking communities are able to fully contribute to building a strong and vibrant Quebec economy,” concludes Salter. 

The report’s key findings include:

  • Québec’s English speakers have an unemployment rate of 8.9%. This is higher than the provincial unemployment rate (7.2)% and 2% higher than the unemployment rate of French speakers (6.9%).
  • In 15 of Québec’s 17 administrative regions, English speakers have higher unemployment rates than French speakers. This is especially true in Côte-Nord where the unemployment rate of English speakers is 25.5%.
  • In 14 out of the 17 administrative regions, English speakers have a median after-tax income that is lower than that of French speakers and the total population. 
  • English speakers tend to have lower labour force participation in resource and manufacturing oriented regions such as Estrie, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the Laurentides. 
  • English speakers often face difficulties in adapting and transitioning into French-language workplaces and require additional support in making the transition into the labour market.
  • For those that seek out French-language training, programs are not always accessible and are not usually targeted towards individuals looking to enter or advance in the labour market or specific sectors of the labour market.

The report relies on 2016 census data as well as more recent data from the Institut de la Statistique du Québec.

For more information:

Chad Walcott
Director of Engagement & Communications
Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT)
1-855-773-7885 ext. 737