Help wanted sign in the window

A pandemic of staff shortage of Cortes Island

CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Some businesses on Cortes Island have been hard hit by a staffing shortage this year, most citing lack of affordable housing for potential employees as the most common hurdle.

Photo credit: Groceries Photo by Zaskoda via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

CKTZ News reached out to management at a few stores and restaurants on the island regarding their peak tourist season experience this year. Of those who responded, most expressed gratitude for their excellent teams, and then reported similar challenges, including losing potential employees to:

  • lack of affordable year-round housing
  • government financial assistance
  • higher-paying seasonal jobs
  • workforce shortage across BC

Both the Cortes Natural Food Co-op and Hollyhock Retreat Centre stated they could have provided significantly more meals for the community if they had had enough people to work in the kitchen and front-of-house. The restaurant in Squirrel Cove stands empty due to the lack of a qualified candidate to spearhead the project.

At least one employee at the Cortes Market said they couldn’t work if they had to wear a mask, after the provincial mask mandate was announced on Aug. 23 and came into effect two days later. Owner Bertha Jeffery, who had just finished a round of hiring, said, “and that is the way staffing works — as soon as you think you have got it under control, it changes.”

Tune into the podcast above to learn more.

Top photo credit: (top) Every business CKTZ News interviewed would have liked to hire more staff this summer. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash (podcast) Groceries Photo by Zaskoda via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)