Pet-friendly workplaces could help ease Quebec labor shortage: survey

Most young Quebecers are in favor of pet-friendly workplaces — a strategy businesses could use to attract workers during the ongoing labor shortage, according to a new survey.

The Leger survey, commissioned by the brand PetSafe, found that 65 per cent of Quebecers ages 18 to 24 support bringing four-legged friends to the office.

“Let’s look at this from an employer standpoint,” Leger’s executive vice president told CTV News. “The pool of available people is limited.”

In the survey, 15 per cent of adult Quebecers below age 24 said they would change workplaces if it meant they could bring their pet with them.

“It should be something that employers are looking at as a way to keep talent and entice people to work in those organizations,” Dave Scholz added.

The survey was published just two days before Montreal City Council voted to allow leashed dogs on the Metro by the end of 2022, a move Scholz says could make it easier for Montrealers to bring their canine companions to work.

This is especially true as more workers make their way back to the office with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, he explained.

COVID-19 stay-at-home orders led to a surge in pet ownership in Quebec: another Leger survey from last year found the population of cats and dogs increased by around 200,000 between March 2020 and November 2021, for a total of about 3.25 million .

“[Pets and their owners have] been locked for two years together and don’t know anything different,” said Scholz, adding that for many workers, this makes integrating pets into their work environment all the more appealing.

Quebecers appear to be less in favor of the idea when compared to Canada as a whole, however: while 51 per cent of Canadians are pro-pets in the workplace, the same isn’t true for Quebecers at just 37 per cent.

62 per cent of Quebec respondents said having a pet around them lifts their mood and reduces their stress — but for those with allergies or a fear of animals, this may not be the case.

Scholz said one way to mitigate these issues is by designating “pet-friendly and non-pet friendly spaces” within the workplace.

Currently, just over half of Quebec households are estimated to include a cat or dog

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