British Columbia Faces Labor Shortage
As a result of British Columbia’s intensifying labor shortage, operators of campgrounds and small lodgings are hustling to find adequate numbers of temporary workers for this summer and beyond.
The British Columbia Lodging & Campground Association (BCLCA) notes in a recent issue of its Dogwood Express newsletter that campground owners may tap into a summer jobs program sponsored by the province or may wish to recruit temporary foreign workers.
The province made $97.5 million available to not-for-profit agencies, the public sector and small private-sector employers, such as campgrounds, to fund summer jobs for people ages 15 to 30 who are full-time students and intend to return to school the next academic year.
Businesses had a small window of opportunity – the month of February – to apply for the funding assistance.
Meanwhile, the BCLCA newsletter suggested that campground operators may opt to hire foreign workers to help fill the estimated 84,000 new jobs that will be created in the province’s tourism and hospitality industry by 2015.
While filling this need may seem daunting, the newsletter stated, the province sponsors three programs to aid the employment of foreign workers: the Working Holiday and Student Work Abroad Program, international student programs and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
“By tapping into The Working Holiday Program and Student Work Abroad Program, campground and small lodging operators may find an ideal method to source enthusiastic and motivated staff for seasonal or front-line positions,” the newsletter stated. “Both programs are designed to allow young people to come to Canada from abroad, with the intention of financing a year-long holiday through casual employment.”
In this instance, workers are responsible for securing a visa prior to leaving their home country.
International students attending British Columbia colleges and universities also are a labor source. They are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session and full time during holidays and summer months. Following graduation, foreign students may petition to remain in the country for up to two years under the Post Graduate Work Program.
To access the Foreign Worker Guide, go to www.go2hr.ca. The province is also making available to tourism employers a sizable database of resumes collected at Destination Canada’s 2007 job fairs held in France and Belgium.