Dave Kaiser owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants in Cranbrook, B.C., and Fernie, near the Alberta border – two towns less than an hour’s drive from each other, but with workforce challenges that stand a world apart.
In Cranbrook, Kaiser has no trouble finding local staff. But in Fernie, home to about 5,000 people and five coal mines, Kaiser said he’s so desperate for workers he would “hire virtually anybody who comes in my door, if they’ve got a pulse.”
“Here we have a ski resort town that sits next to an enormous employer that has a coal mine,” Kaiser said. “There are a lot of restaurants … and there are a lot of hotels, and we’re all looking for the same people. There’s just not enough people to do those jobs.”
It’s a surprising dilemma for a country that has 1.4 million jobless people out of a total eligible workforce of 18 million, according to figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada as part of the latest release of data from the National Household Survey, formerly the long-form census.
The permanent solution? Temporary foreign workers.
Currently, more than 330,000 workers live and work in Canada as part of the federal temporary foreign worker program – a number that has nearly tripled over the last 10 years, with the bulk of those job-seekers going west in search of work.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor