The last summer season was difficult on the Islands and many businesses did not have the capacity to accommodate all the employees they needed, indicates the director general of the Chamber of Commerce of the Islands, Antonin Valiquette.

The labor shortage is greatly exacerbated by the lack of housing on the Islandshe explains.

It is a very common practice to recruit workers outside the territory during the summer. We attract workers by saying: ”come to the Islands, you will have a job, you will have accommodation”, but there, the question of accommodation was a problemcontinues Mr. Valiquette.

Antonin Valiquette is outside, in front of trailers.

As of the end of the 2021 summer season, the Chamber of Commerce of the Islands was looking for solutions to the lack of housing which complicates the recruitment of seasonal workers, according to its general manager, Antonin Valiquette.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

In this context, the LA Renaissance des Îles processing plant has decided to innovate by buying trailers to house the Mexican workers it receives during the months of May and June, during the crab and lobster.

The owner of Déli Station, Élie Chevrier, has agreed to accommodate the trailers on his property, in accordance with municipal regulations.

For the industry, I thought it was still important to take part in this missionexplains Mr. Chevrier. Personally, I think that the only solution to help companies find the labor they need necessarily involves recruiting immigrants.

A smiling man stands in the kitchen of the trailer he lives in.

The trailers measure 32 feet in length and are equipped with electricity, a small stove and a shower.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

A project offered to all employers on the Islands

When he heard about this collaboration, Mr. Valiquette approached the management of LA Renaissance des Îles to rent 12 trailers starting in July and offer them to employers on the Islands who need them for the accommodation of their workers. seasonal. This is how the pilot project took shape.

I would like to highlight the fine example of mutual assistance by two private entrepreneurs. It’s not their job to support the entrepreneurial community, but they gladly did it.emphasizes Mr. Valiquette.

As LA Renaissance des Îles has acquired 16 trailers and is renting a few others, the 29-space site at Déli Station will be almost entirely dedicated to workers this summer.

It will be a season that is a little longer than normal, from May to September, but the main objective is to meet demand. »

A quote from Élie Chevrier, owner of Deli Station

Mr. Chevrier indicates, however, that he is ready to welcome tourists for one night if necessary, if land is vacant. We will live the experience. Probably on a daily basis it will be less of a concern than dealing with rentals for one or two days for many peoplehe says.

Élie Chevrier is outside, he speaks to the microphone of Radio-Canada in front of trailers.

The owner of Déli Station, Élie Chevrier, has not calculated the financial impact of offering his land to businesses rather than tourists. “The goal is to help the community,” he says.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

The project represents an investment of $64,000.

We think it’s a promising project. We are going to invest $5,000 of our own funds and we are waiting for confirmation of municipal support on which I am counting a lot, but in any case, this project is going to take place.says the director general of the Chamber of Commerce.

The trailers will be offered to employers at the price of $900 per month and they will be free to agree with their employees on the amount of rent charged.

Trailers are parked next to each other at Deli Station.

The trailers, installed at the Déli Station rest area, will be offered to employers on the Islands at a rate of $900 per month for the accommodation of their seasonal employees.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

The interest of Magdalen companies for the project was not long in coming, although Mr. Valiquette admits that he received fewer requests than he expected, probably because the project was announced quite close to the summer season, when most employers had already found an arrangement.

In less than 24 hours, I still had a dozen companies that reserved trailers for me. I estimate that the 12 trailers will be occupied during the summer. »

A quote from Antonin Valiquette, General Manager of the Islands Chamber of Commerce

A project under construction

A review of the experiment will be carried out at the end of the summer, but Mr. Valiquette already estimates that this project could last over time.

We see it as a pilot project this year, we know that there will be irritants, several small things to fix. It won’t be perfect, but we had the choice between waiting for a perfect project and doing nothing this year, or doing something for 2022.he says.

Trailers are parked next to each other at Deli Station.

The Déli Station does not have the necessary facilities to evacuate sewage from the trailers, since it normally welcomes visitors for one or two nights only.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Isabelle Larose

The form that the project will take in the future also remains to be determined. For example, for this first year, the company Les Lavages Industriels Vigneau agreed to take care of the waste water from the trailers, since the Déli Station does not have all the facilities of a campground. But a long-term solution will have to be found for the next few years.

What I would like is for there to be autonomous governance, for example an employers’ cooperative, which takes charge of the infrastructure and the project.concludes Mr. Valiquette.

With information from Isabelle Larose

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