A few weeks before the annual holiday, Jeff Kilroy of the Just B Glass Agency is tearing his hair out: he only hired 24 Santa Clauses when he needed ten times as much. “I had to say no to 200 events and deny them every day,” he laments.
For his part, Eric Icarus has tried everything: invite friends and regular customers to fill in the gaps in the service table of his Mexican restaurant Corazon de Mies in Ottawa. On the front of its store, in front of several businesses in the Canadian capital or Montreal, is a poster proudly: “Here we hire”.
“It’s very difficult,” the restaurant told AFP as his wife was washing tomatoes in the kitchen. Both have drawn features.
This summer, customers returned as a result of the removal of restrictions linked to the epidemic in restaurants. But, as two employees were still missing, the couple was unable to meet the requirement. Some time ago, a newly hired chef worked three hours before resigning, believing the job was too hard and the salary was not enough.
“Now my wife and I are tired and we are forced to close earlier,” Mr. Igari laments.
There were 871,600 vacancies in Canada in August, of which 156,800 were restaurants and 121,300 were healthier, more than twice as many as in 2019, according to figures released in October.
Overall, 55% of entrepreneurs find it difficult to recruit and work overtime, postponing or refusing orders, according to a study by the Bank of Canada. And a quarter of them are struggling to retain their employees.
The health, food, manufacturing and construction industries have been particularly hard hit in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
In Quebec, the big employers’ federations warned last week: while talking about the “unprecedented crisis” and the “economic catastrophe”, they called on the government to further open the floodgates of immigration.
Several factors explain the situation, including the recent decline in immigration due to aging population and travel restrictions associated with the epidemic, which were only eliminated in September, explains Travis Stratton, an economist at Deloitte Canada.
In catering like in other parts of the world, many employees have opted for re-training and are “looking for more stability now,” he adds.
Tensions in the medical field are particularly complex. In southwest Montreal, Lachin Hospital recently closed its emergency department after 7:30 pm due to a “shortage of nurses”, explains Guilda Solomon, one of its spokespersons for the AFP.
This labor shortage has prompted the provinces of Quebec and Ontario to drop the demand for Govt vaccination for caregivers.
Only teenagers should apply
In some sectors, salaries are rising to attract candidates, but Jasmine Knott of the Canadian Free Trade Federation (CFIB) believes this is “not an option for many small businesses that are still struggling to recover from the losses caused by the epidemic”.
On average, an SME in Canada has accumulated $ 170,000 (9 119,000) in debt during epidemics, according to a study by the consortium. And about 180,000 companies, or one in six, are at risk of leaving the business.
“We’m not competing because we can not afford it,” admits Romain Pesso, owner of the Mère-Grand Cafe in Montreal.
In 21 weeks, she received five applications, including three young men for the positions of barista and chef. “It’s been a while since I’ve been there,” he laments, referring to “a” catastrophe.
For his four-star establishment, Benoit Freight, director of the Place de Arms Hotel in Quebec City, is looking for about 25 employees on all levels, from reception to room maintenance, including kitchens.
“It is difficult to open a hotel 100% when there are customers,” laments Mr. “I’m worried about the holidays and the spring of 2022,” Friedett said.