July 15, 2021
Welcome to the New Normal! After 470 days our state of emergency has ended! It’s an encouraging sign that the province has entered Step 3 of the restart plan. Let’s not underestimate the role we’ve all played in getting to this point. We’ve all done our part to follow public health orders, stay physically distanced and get immunized. Public health orders have transitioned from a state of emergency to guidelines, COVID-19 safety plans have transitioned into communicable disease prevention programs and we continue to re-open and ease restrictions. Yet, in face of all of these optimistic indicators, there are some immediate challenges, some familiar, that our industry will continue to face.
As you are ramping up activities, you likely are short staffed. You are not alone, businesses of all types and sizes, across BC are struggling to hire workers. The last 16 months has been extremely challenging for our workers – it has been blanketed with uncertainty and stops and starts. We know that many workers in the industry, when laid off, decided to use the COVID-19 crisis to pivot their careers away from tourism and hospitality. And other challenges continue to emerge. For example, during the pandemic the international worker flow was disrupted because of border closures and travel restrictions. We know there has been a gap of new entrants joining our industry because of reduced operations. We know enrollment in post-secondary tourism and hospitality programs is lower. We are keenly aware that there were perception issues about working in the industry pre COVID-19, and now new concerns exist regarding the perception of safety and the overall stability of the industry with so many wondering is this going to happen again. We would be remiss to underestimate the very real competition from other industries for our talented and capable workforce.
And we’ve learned during this time of extended pause. As an industry, we have gotten better at understanding the why around many of the challenges we face; and now is the time for plans and solutions. Labour supply shines brightly on all associations radar and government is aware of the immediate, short and longer term challenges that we face as we are working together to rebuild the industry.
And to further test our resiliency, we are in the midst of another wildfire season that has great impact on our communities and businesses. Emergency management response is quickly becoming an important tool to communicate critical information to staff and guests. There are a number of resources available to help on our website and from PreparedBC. This is a challenge we’ve faced before and it is important that we support one another through this challenging season.
The pandemic environment is still with us and we continually strive be relevant and add value to your business operations. Has your business joined the more than 25 BSAFE™ Trained business? It remains an important training tool as we continue to move towards full reopenings. We are actively working at incorporating new content into BSAFE that reflects today’s environment. Another popular resource we’ve updated: our scripts for challenging scenarios – check it out.
Earlier this month, go2HR hosted a webinar with experts from WorkSafeBC and Vancouver Coastal Health to help answer those immediate questions that arose from the transition from steps 2 to 3. If you weren’t able to attend, we’ve compiled some highlights from the session and you can find it on our website.
All the best for the summer and stay safe,