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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ideas Shared For Local Labour Shortage

Saugeen Shores | by John Divinski  

The Saugeen Shores community met to discuss the lack of workers in a growing region.

Photo By John Divinski 

Transportation, affordable housing, and integration of newcomers to the community are just some of the suggestions that might help ease the labour shortage in Saugeen Shores and area.

Many business people were on hand to hear what a panel of experts had to say about the issue and voice their conerns as well at a meeting hosted by Saugeen Shores.

Steven Harris and Pier Donnini, owners of Ristorante Rosina and The Queen's respectively, agree transportation and housing are two of the most critical areas of concern.

Both business people say they are currently offering living accommodations to many of its employees so they don't have to travel, in order to keep them on staff.

Harris says he offers rental rates below market value for some employees.

He says if he didn't offer the living quarters, he fears, without mass transportation, his restaurant might not be able to remain open.

Donnini says service industry businesses need to start thinking differently about labour and what labour expects.

He says labour has to be treated as an investment, rather than an expense.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau says the municipality wants to help business owners maintain service industry jobs and take advantage of the economic boom that is happening.

Charbonneau says another aspect, is attracting new people to the region to fill the jobs that are going empty.

He says with a review of the town's Official Plan coming up, it behooves everyone to say "Yes, please," when it comes to investing in infrastructure to create more affordable housing of any kind, in order to offer newcomers a chance to thrive in Saugeen Shores.

Charbonneau says the discussion on the Labour Shortage in Saugeen Shores, was just the first step in an ongoing process to meet the challenges small businesses and the service industry may be facing in the municipality.

According to recent statistics, from the Four County Labour Market Planning Board, unemployment in the four countiesregion is at 3.7% which is the lowest it's been in the last decade and the workforce has decreased by 18,000 from 2004 to 2016.

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