Labour supply shortages in the hotel sector remain the single biggest issue of concern for hoteliers. British Columbia maintains the country’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 per cent, with further forecasts that project more than 100,000 tourism and hospitality-related job openings across the province between 2012 and 2020, and an estimated shortfall of about 14,000 workers to fill them. These shortages are a challenge year-round but are especially acute during seasonal peak periods. Hoteliers have gone to great lengths with recruitment efforts to hire Canadians first, however due to a shift in demographics with the gradual exit of Baby Boomers and the following generations not big enough to fill the gap, British Columbians are not able to fill the labour shortage. Migration from other provinces is also minimal due to BC’s high cost of living, and foreign-born workers often face immigration challenges.
What BCHA is Doing To Help
BCHA advocates that the Government of Canada use industry labour need as the main basis to access all immigration streams, regardless of skill level. This includes permanent immigration and temporary labour solutions that meet the skills needs of the sector and regional labour markets. We are recommending that the Federal Government review and update the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to reflect the labour shortage realities that many industries like the accommodation sector now face through the lowering of application fees, streamlined re-application for workers and the establishment of a pathway to permanent residency for workers. The accommodation sector needs the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to open up to our sector and offer a similar program like the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, which allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.