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The tourism industry in Canada may experience a shortage of employees in the coming years. And the same trend could affect U.S. RV parks and campgrounds, as well as the rest of the labor market.
The British Columbia Lodging & Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) reported in June a survey of its membership revealed that “58% are already experiencing staff shortages and 76% believe they will, or may, experience shortages in the next few years.”
The jobs that are going begging for the most part are housekeepers, front desk and maintenance, the BCLCA stated. All areas of the province reported labor shortages.
“The tourism industry is very concerned about this serious issue,” the association continued. “The Conference Board of Canada predicts there will be a shortfall of 950,000 workers by the year 2020 in all sectors and tourism may well be especially at risk.”
A partial solution for some communities may come through arrangements with local colleges, the association said. For example, English Bay College in Vancouver helps find work for international students. These students are usually between the ages of 23 and 28.
Tourism businesses are being squeezed between an aging population at one end of the demographic and lower fertility rates at the other, BCLCA noted. “Canada’s overall labor force is expected to decline between 1.4% and 4% by 2016. Compounding the problem is the fact that labor demand keeps risings thanks to economic growth and the industry’s ongoing development — tourism is the world’s fastest growing industry. Meanwhile, current immigration policies do not reflect the industry’s needs.”
BCLCA noted the federal government has remained relatively quiet on the issue, but pointed to the new minister of citizenship and immigration who has said he is “open to working with provinces and employers to get the workers Canada needs into the country using temporary work visas.”
The lodging and campground association said the federal government will need to make significant policy changes. “How long this will take to move forward is largely unknown,” BCLCA stated. “What we do know is that much needs to be done and soon if the tourism industry is to continue to flourish.”