Nova Scotia Journal

Canadian small businesses face a labour shortage despite pay increases

Canadian small businesses face a labour shortage

Key Takeaways:

  • According to a new report, despite an almost economy-wide wage increase.
  • More than half of Canada’s small businesses are currently incompetent to hire enough staff to continue operations or meet new demand.

Jason Schnurr, the small business owner, has been dealing with this difficulty since the beginning of September.

Schnurr, who owns and manages a few surf and sportswear stores in Sauble Beach and Port Hope, Ontario, said his seasonal businesses have been operating on a “skeleton crew” for the last three months and will continue to do so until April of next year.

Since the pandemic began, Schnurr’s businesses, Beachin’ and Jack n Jill’s surf shop, have seen extremely high turnover rates. As a result, they cannot hire or retain employees despite wage increases.

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“We have a superior job that has been open since March that we can’t fill because we just don’t get applications for,” Schnurr told News over the phone.

Canadian small businesses faces problem; Image from US Chamber Of Commerce

“We would have filled this position if we didn’t have a labour shortage.”

CFIB released a report on Thursday that found that 55% of small businesses would be unable to run their stores. In comparison, another 16% would continue operations but at a high additional cost.

“Small businesses were already facing a significant labour shortage at the start of 2020, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation,” said CFIB vice-president of national research Simon Gaudreault in a press release.

“Hospitality, for example, has seen a mass exodus as workers upskilled or switched to other jobs, and virtually all sectors are facing major demographic upheavals, with not enough new workers coming in to replace those who are retiring.”

According to the report, even though the “majority” of affected businesses have already raised team member wages. As a result of the issue, many brick-and-mortar stores have attempted to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs). As an alternative, some are trying to automate their businesses.

Over the last 2 years, the COVID pandemic has pushed large parts of the economy to the brink of collapse, tiny businesses. “They are already accomplishing everything they can to attract workers, but governments must do their part by enacting policies that increase productivity, connect job seekers with employers, and keep hiring costs affordable.”

Source: Global News

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