Workforce: rethinking collective agreements for people aged 60 and over

The employment rate for people aged 60 and over in Quebec is lower than the Canadian average.

Simply reducing the employment rate of this segment of the population to that of Ontario would theoretically fill half of the vacant positions in the province., according to the director of the center, Robert Gagné.

In a report to be published on Wednesday, he postulates that native Quebecers in this age category are over-represented in unionized circles and governed by a collective agreement, including the public service.

We often hear that from a certain age people work for practically nothing because they could have the same net income when they retire., emphasizes Mr. Gagné about these environments.



Not just a question of money

Only a little over 10% of collective agreements analyzed by the CPP include measures to encourage people to stay longer at work. Often the clauses relate to the gradual retirement, which supports exit from the job market rather than promoting retention.

The report cites a series of examples observed in different companies.

The Exceldor cooperative provides for the sharing of working days between two employees aged 50 and over with a certain seniority. Other solutions, such as additional vacations, lightening of tasks and flexible working hours, are mentioned.

More active measures are needed to encourage people to stay at work, but we have more often found the opposite with early departures. They are hints of another era.

A quote from:Robert Gagné, Director, Center for Productivity and Prosperity at HEC Montréal – Walter J. Somers Foundation

Robert Gagné invites the government of Quebec, as the largest employer in the province, to lead by example and to include such incentives for job retention.

In his view, the tax measures for experienced workers, including the career extension tax credit capped at $ 1,650, suggest that the decision is financial, but it is not only financial.

As for the use of more workers with an immigrant background, as demanded by employers’ representatives, it would above all be a solution. long-term.

What about automation?

If there pressure exerted by an aging population is not compensated in any way, the CPP calculates that Quebec will have to increase its productivity by 1.7% per year by 2029 to maintain growth in its standard of living. It would be twice as fast as in the past 20 years.

Automation is of course part of the solutions. Robert Gagné, however, does not see something that happens quickly.

It takes technology and expertise, he says, and hopefully companies will jump on it when there are opportunities.

Robotization is also not the panacea for all companies, especially for SME.

Although struck by the scarcity of labor, the manufacturer of recreational vehicles Safari Condo, in Beauce, has given up automating the production of certain components for reasons of profitability. Only two digital cutting machines are part of the assembly line.

We have little volume and a lot of differentiation between products, indicates President Dominique Nadeau. We are interested in automating our processes, but it is not easy.

His company explored automation for the manufacture of trailer doors, but the financial cost was too great.

A machine was also purchased to bend propane pipes. It had to be put away because the programming time was longer than simple human manipulation.

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