Victoria’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in Canada, but it might not be for long. According to Statistics Canada, since March, Victoria’s rate has grown from 3.8% to 4.6%.
In fact, local restaurant North 48 had to close its doors this month due to a lack of staff.
Looking at all the “help-wanted” and “hiring” signs in windows downtown, it appears that the whole city is experiencing a shortage of cooks and dishwashers.
But the low wages of such jobs, coupled with Victoria’s white-hot housing market, mean those positions will likely stay unfilled.
Temporary Foreign Workers?
In an interview with CHEK News, Tourism Victoria President & CEO Paul Nursey cited changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program as a driving factor behind the lack of restaurant staff.
However, according to the government’s media release regarding the most recent changes to the program in April 2017, they were designed to require employers to do more “to recruit Canadians, particularly those who are typically under-represented in our workforce, like youth, newcomers, women, Indigenous people, and people with disabilities.”