Environmental Scan - Quebec

Infography - May 2022
Quebec Environmental Scan 2021
Image transcript



  • 8.5 M People living in Quebec in 2021, an increase of 4.1% since the 2016 census
  • Quebec's demographic weight is 23.0% in Canada, compared to 23.2% five years ago.
  • The median age of Quebecers is 43.2 years, which means that the population is aging more rapidly than the rest of Canada (41.6 years).
  • Proportionally, Quebec has more people aged 65 and over (20.6% compared to 19.0%) and slightly fewer young people under 20 years old (21.4% vs. 21.7%) than the Canadian average.
  • According to the A2021 reference scenario from the Institut de la statistique du Québec, one out of four people (25.1%) will be 65 years of age or over by 2031, which represents an increase of 4.5% in 10 years.
  • Between 2015 and 2021, the number of permanent immigrants coming to Quebec remained relatively stable (from 48,975 to 50,280). However, the percentage of people who reported Quebec as their destination dropped from 18.0% to 12.4% due to a larger increase in the number of permanent immigrants in the rest of Canada.
  • The number of employed immigrants in Quebec peaked at 818,700 in 2021. All immigration groups by period of arrival in the country benefitted from the growth, but immigrants who landed less than five years ago had the largest increase with 21.4% in one year. By comparison, employment increased by 2.0% for the Quebec-born population.
  • Indigenous people account for 2.3% of Quebecers (2016 census), which is more than 50% less than the rest of Canada (4.9%). The pandemic affected employment among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in similar proportions, but the Indigenous population had a slower recovery.
  • Nearly 45% of Quebecers (2016 census) reported having knowledge of official languages. Just over 62% of those who are bilingual are concentrated in Montréal's census metropolitan area.
  • The employment rate for persons with disabilities was 54.7% in 2017, compared to 75.3% for people aged 15 to 64 who do not have a disability. However, the labour shortage could help more persons with disabilities find jobs. In addition, the widespread implementation of telework since the beginning of the health crisis is helping to create workplaces that are more inclusive.


  • In 2021…
    • Employment increased significantly(+4.1%)
    • The number of unemployed people decreased significantly (-30.1%)
    • The employment rate jumped from 58.1% to 60.1%
    • The gap between the employment rate for men and women is widening
  • Employment trends in Quebec
    • The job market bounced back quickly in 2021 due to a strong economic recovery and unprecedented government support for individuals and businesses. Although pre-pandemic levels still have not been reached, Quebec has 169,400 more jobs than in 2020.
    • After having reached 8.9% in 2020, the unemployment rate improved in Quebec and fell to 6.1% in 2021. However, the annual average remains higher than it was in 2019 (5.1%), which can be explained by the fact that some industries were still affected by health restrictions at the end of 2021.
    • Some groups have not fully returned to the job market, namely experienced workers aged 55 and over and young people between 15 and 24 years old, who continue to be less active in the job market than prior to the pandemic.


2021 economic factors in Quebec

  • Household consumption on the rise
  • Quebecers' high savings
  • Low interest rates

2021 overview

  • After an unprecedented economic crisis in 2020, Quebec had a strong recovery in 2021 with higher GDP growth than the rest of Canada (4.6% compared to 6.2%).
  • The annual inflation rate in Quebec rose to 3.8% in 2021, whereas it was 3.4% for the rest of Canada, which is the highest that it has been since 1991. Upward pricing pressure was primarily caused by disruptions to the global supply chain, increased household consumption and a high savings rate among Quebecers.
  • Interest rates remained very low throughout the year, which helped the real estate market peak in 2021.

Regional issues

  • Changing demographics (aging population and a drop in the birth rate) and a decline in immigration due to the health crisis have resulted in a smaller labour pool, which has exacerbated the labour shortage issue.
  • Young people (aged 15 to 29) have a greater presence in the job market, but their weight is decreasing at the same time as there are more people aged 60 and over, who are normally less active in the job market.
  • Recruitment challenges during the pandemic increased the mobility of workers who left the accommodation, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation and business sectors to go into industries with better conditions of employment (health, construction, professional services, finance and insurance and public administration).

Main risks for Quebec's economy in 2022

  • The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on economic activity.
  • The uncertainty surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its effect on rising energy prices and global economic growth.
  • Ongoing and longer than expected inflationary pressure.
  • An increase in the number of job vacancies and difficulties in filling them to meet the needs of the economy.


  • Employment increased in most sectors in 2021, which offset the losses incurred in most cases during the pandemic.
  • The production of goods accounts for more than half of the growth, although it represents only 21.0% of the overall employment. In particular, the construction industry had a record year with 31,200 additional jobs. However, manufacturing had only a modest increase of 1.9% compared to 2020 and did not recover all the jobs lost during the crisis.
  • In terms of services, growth was noted mainly in education, finance and public administration, which returned to pre-pandemic levels. For health care and social assistance, even though the entire sector grew only by 1.0% compared to 2020, hospitals (+2.5%) and social assistance (+11.8%) experienced higher growth. Information, culture and recreation, accommodation and food service industries, which were particularly affected by health restrictions, suffered losses in addition to those incurred in 2020.


  • Most of Quebec's economic regions experienced growth in 2021, particularly Greater Montréal and its suburbs, where more than 80% of the job creation was observed. The regions of Montréal (+62,600), the Laurentides (+36,000), Montérégie (+26,900) and Laval (+16,300) created 141,800 jobs.
  • On the other hand, the Chaudière-Appalaches (-7,600), Lanaudière (-4,800) and Mauricie (-3,000) regions suffered the greatest losses, even though they are still modest. However, they were the only regions that recorded gains in 2020, as though the effects of the pandemic had been delayed there.
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