Labour laments

Labour shortages are a reality in many parts of the country, particularly for specialty cook and line cook positions. The job vacancy rate in the combined restaurants and accommodation sector (Stats Canada) is consistently among the highest of all private sector industries, and labour shortages will become more severe as the share of retirees grows while the share of youth declines. Restaurants Canada is working with the federal government to improve labour market information that tracks skilled and unskilled occupation needs with a special emphasis on rural and remote parts of Canada. It is focusing on a comprehensive labour strategy encompassing youth and persons unrepresented in the workforce that recognizes changing age demographics and resistance to accept entry-level work in the absence of other employment opportunities. Labour costs as a percentage of revenue are rising at an unprecedented rate, squeezing already razor-thin profit margins. Employment standards and labour code reviews underway in the provinces of Ontario and Alberta could make things worse and a review in Quebec is expected soon. Both Ontario and Alberta are considering or proposing new legislation to facilitate union certification and new workplace rules that would add significant costs to businesses and would provide questionable value to employee leaves and set-in-stone work schedules.

Restaurants Canada believes that employment laws should: •

  • Be realistic •
  • Be flexible •
  • Respect individual choices •
  • Promote voluntary cooperation between employers and employees •
  • Be fair for all; and •
  • Provide a basic standard of protection for employees

In both jurisdictions, Restaurants Canada has met with the responsible ministers and with elected members from the governing and opposition parties; we’ve met with departmental officials and worked closely with other employer groups on campaigns to keep the provinces working. But we need your help to do more.

Joyce Reynolds, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, Restaurants Canada

For advice on how to attract and retain young empoyees, see our post on The M Word: Engaging the Next Generation.