As the industry continues to ramp up operations as recovery builds momentum across BC and throughout Canada, labour challenges remain constant. Labour is the primary issue that is, and will continue to impede true recovery. Staffing shortages at airports screening is just one visible example of this. And as the labour crisis is echoed throughout the industry, owners, managers, and workers continue to stretch themselves with food prep, washing dishes, making rooms and more to keep their service levels high. All signs suggest that solving our labour shortages will be a long game.
Over the past month, I have been invited to speak to various groups about labour recovery and, I want to extend my appreciation to those organizations who have requested our insights. Thank you Destination BC Tourism Marketing Committee, 4VI and Canada West Ski Area Associations, for the opportunity to engage with you on this critical subject. It was exhilarating and uplifting to be able to meet in person with the hardworking, talented people in our industry. Our industry-developed Labour Recovery Framework is proving to be a valuable playbook in helping communicate and coordinate our actions moving forward.
I’ve also had the opportunity to join my provincial counterparts in Ottawa for a series of meetings hosted by Tourism HR Canada (THRC) to discuss labour recovery and solutions. Listening, learning and collaborating is the only path forward. I am grateful to be able to have a seat at the table. Some of my key takeaways from the meeting are:
- Our six labour recovery pillars and recommended actions have hit the mark! Regardless of geography, we were all talking about the same challenges and solutions. Worker shortages and ensuring an available, skilled labour supply is the number one issue across the board, with housing also a priority issue.
- International workers will continue to be an important labour pool to tap into to meet our needs; however, we know that we will need to find other sources as well.
- Our new initiative, Safer Spaces, was also met with great interest from others around the country. Our made-in-BC sexual harassment education and training for employers and supervisors fits the growing recognition to address this societal concern. We are immensely proud of the project’s first phase. We are thrilled by the interest and positive reception we’ve received thus far. The team is already hard at work on Phase Two, which will include a training course geared towards workers.
- Our partners at THRC have received federal funding to create a Pan-Canadian Tourism Workforce Recovery & Growth Task Force, which I have been asked to participate in, and I have eagerly accepted. The THRC has some funds to reposition and promote careers in tourism and hospitality. We will be working closely with Destination Canada on this. We will be sure to help shape messages and leverage any collateral and opportunities that are available to BC to help attract workers to join our great industry.
May is the start of our new fiscal year and I am excited to be able to move forward with an operating plan that allows us to go beyond the pandemic. Next month, I will share more about go2HR’s operating priorities and introduce our new Regional HR Consultants; a new initiative generously funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.