Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

N.S. job vacancies skyrocketed this spring, leaving restaurants, hotels in a bind

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • ‘We likely have never seen anything like this in the record of the restaurant enterprise in Nova Scotia.’
  • Upstreet BBQ Brewhouse in Dartmouth restaurant has been forced to shut down on Sundays and Mondays due to job vacancies in the kitchen.

Nova Scotia’s restaurants and hotels require employees as job vacancy rates reach record highs.

According to the Statistics Canada data, there were 24,580 job vacancies in Nova Scotia in May, an addition of more than 22 percent from April, with almost 1,600 in accommodations and food services.

“We likely have never seen anything like this in the history of the restaurant enterprise in Nova Scotia,” stated Gordon Stewart, the executive director of Restaurants Association of Nova Scotia.

“The labor problem will be longer and more difficult on restaurants than the COVID issue, and it will last at least till 2030.”

Stewart stated it takes about 32,000 people to operate the local food service industry, but the present figure is closer to 27,000. 

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Nova Scotia’s restaurants and hotels require employees as job vacancy rates reach record highs

How are restaurants managing?

Stewart said almost 80 percent of Nova Scotia restaurants have had to cut back operations due to staffing shortages. Multiple restaurants have shortened hours, reduced menus, and shut down on days where business is typically slower.

Bill Pratt, the owner of numerous restaurants in the region, said staffing shortages had forced him to shut all 21 locations at least once per week. 

“I can’t worry enough about how crucial it is not to be able to open seven days a week,” Pratt said.

“If you’re closed, you can’t make earnings to pay your rent, your electrical invoices, your plumbing bills. It’s damaging to the success of the business.”

Pratt would like the federal government to fast-track the procedure of getting foreign employees into Nova Scotia’s kitchens. Pratt engaged recruiters over six months back who have found immigrant workers, but they have yet to begin cooking in his kitchens. 

Source – CBC News

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