EDMONTON, May 13, 2014 – The full house at Restaurants Canada’s “Managing Western Canada Labour Shortages” event showed that Alberta restaurateurs are desperate for solutions to their ongoing labour shortage, especially in light of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program moratorium.
Held earlier today in Edmonton, the event facilitated an open discussion among government officials, labour program representatives and more than100 Restaurants Canada members.
“Our members feel like they’ve been left in the lurch by the federal government,” said Joyce Reynolds, Restaurants Canada’s Executive Vice President Government Affairs. “Today’s event shows the longer this moratorium goes on, the more anxious restaurateurs are feeling. Without enough workers, operators are worried they will have to cut hours and shifts, which will also mean less work for Canadians – a key impact that is often forgotten in the debate.”
This broad-stroke suspension certainly has short- and long-term implications for the restaurant industry and Canadians who work for it, which is why Restaurants Canada is asking the federal government to immediately rescind the TFW program moratorium.
“We’re asking the federal government to ensure the TFW program remains accessible to operators that have no other options,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s VP Western Canada. “We’re also calling for an adjustment period of six to 12 months for any new rules, so our members are given the chance to prepare instead of being blindsided.”
Restaurants Canada planned this event even before the TFW program moratorium was announced, as Alberta’s labour shortage is a significant, ongoing issue for members. Speakers at this event included Alberta Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Thomas Lukaszuk, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment and Social Development Scott Armstrong, and AINP Director Brad Trefan. Also present were speakers from Alberta Labour Connections Pilot Project and Accessible Biz Connections, two new initiatives that focus on recruiting underrepresented employee groups and show the industry is doing everything it can to employ available Albertans and Canadians.
Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers. Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper.
Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.