They say August is like the Sunday of Summer, a lazy, hazy, last chance feeling, that permeates the month. This is when we remember that summer is fleeting, and Fall is just around the corner. And it feels like it has all gone way too fast.
This summer season has been fraught with continued challenges for our industry. We kicked off the unofficial start of the summer, the May long weekend, with our circuit breaker restrictions. Travel was only recently encouraged as provinces relaxed restrictions and began to encourage movement after Canada Day. So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the season feels like it has just flown by.
Once again our businesses and our industry faced enormous challenges from all fronts. I offer my respect for your continued resilience as you weather wildfires, staffing shortages and the unknown course of COVID-19 Delta variant.
go2HR is examining the labour market issue with the BC Tourism & Hospitality Labour Market Information research project that started in January 2020. Now, at the mid-point of the project we are surveying employers and employees (current and former) to try to get a current assessment of the workforce, the perception of the industry and future plans. This data is critical in order to better understand our labour challenges and plan support for the future. We need this current data to garner further government support for workforce recovery funds to ensure we have a sufficient, skilled workers in the future to realize the full potential of recovery. A survey needs enough responses to be representative for the data to be reliable, and while I know survey fatigue is real, without your voice, we won’t have a complete picture of the current state of the industry. If you haven’t participated in our employer survey, please do so. Please also share the employee survey link with your staff and ask them to complete it. We need as many responses as possible and greatly appreciate all those that have participated to date.
We all know that vaccines are a key element to recovery. If you’ve already been vaccinated, you can still contribute to the effort by continuing to broadly encourage vaccinations within your staff, friends and families. There are a number of campaigns both federally and provincially that will provide resources, talking points, and images to help underscore the importance of this national effort. The unvaccinated are allowing the Delta variant to flourish, let’s do what we can to slow it down.
Health and safety continues to be a top priority for our organization as we move thought Step 3. To that end, we have transitioned our COVID-19 safety plan advisory services to communicable disease prevention programs. The name has changed but the intent is the same. We will provide our health and safety expertise at no cost to get businesses up and running safely as it relates to communicable disease prevention.
We are also partnering with Destination Vancouver, and Good Night Out Vancouver for a mini- campaign this summer to create Safer Spaces across Metro Vancouver. Tourism and hospitality businesses can register for training programs from go2HR and Good Night Out Vancouver and encourage a safer experience for all. We’ve had some great success with this partnership and employers across Metro Vancouver are joining this effort to jump start Safer Spaces.
And, this is a great time to remind all that BSAFE™ training program has been updated to reflect the current provincial health guidelines. I’m proud of my team who works to continually improve our training offerings. If you haven’t already, please join the nearly 40 BSAFE™ Trained businesses today!
Congratulations to Brenda Baptiste, Chair at Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) and our provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, lauded for their important work and recognized with an Order of BC. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize Ellen Walker-Matthews permanent appointment as CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. She has stepped into that role so capably and during such a tumultuous time. Kudos to such strong smart women leading our Province.