Like you, I’m READY to enter the next phase of the BC Restart plan. BC’s tourism and hospitality industry has gone through so much in the last 15 months, and with daily case counts trending downwards, immunization rates climbing and restrictions relaxing, it looks like we are truly moving into the next chapter.
As we enter Step 2, two things are clear. Firstly, we know that health and safety protocols remain important, will evolve over the months ahead, and will continue to be important into the future as we have greater awareness and understanding of infectious diseases. Businesses will need to evolve at their own pace, lockstep with their staff and their communities. Secondly, labour shortage are real. Good people were hard to find pre-COVID but we know that staffing in our current environment is a challenge. The pandemic has displaced the workforce, created a 15-month gap in new entrants, disrupted international workers supply, and reduced post-secondary students ready to join our workforce. In the short term, as an industry, we need to work together to stimulate the labor supply and welcome back workers. In the longer term, we need to come to a provincial Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Recovery Strategy that we can implement together. It’s a strategy that focuses on supporting the current workforce, encouraging Canadians to join this awesome industry, and ensuring access to an international workforce.
As you support operators re-opening plans across the BC, we ask if you can please highlight BSAFE™, our online COVID-19 training program. We know that mass participation from our industry is the best way to rebuild confidence for all. BSAFE is FREE for all in tourism and hospitality. Please continue to help us to amplify BSAFE across our industry.
Our team continues to work hard, creating the tools and resources you need. We’re continuing to add and augment our resources, if you haven’t seen our employer vaccine toolkit, it’s a great new resource we’ve added. Another new tool to watch for on our website is the BC Tourism and Hospitality Employment Tracker which is one of the first tools to arise from the LMI research project go2HR has been conducting since January. Industry and employers will be able to use this online interactive tool that will show month to month changes in employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. We’re pleased to be able to bring this tool to industry, so watch for the official launch announcement soon. We’ll be updating the tracker on our website monthly and sending out monthly emails with additional analysis and insight into the trends we are seeing.
Over the last year, we have shifted our business too, with many on our team stepping up to the challenge and I am pleased to share some promotions within our team. Arun Subramanian has been promoted to Vice President, Industry Health, Safety and Human Resources. Ginger Brunner has been promoted to Senior HR Specialist, reporting to Arun. Sherry Henriquez has been promoted to Coordinator, Industry Health and Safety and Viktoriya Kammaeva has been promoted to Program Coordinator, Training. In addition to their growing responsibilities and demonstrated competencies’, these promotions reflect each individual’s commitment to go2HR’s purpose of realizing strong workforces and safe workplaces, and their dedication to exceptional customer service, professional development and corporate culture.
June is National Indigenous History Month and Indigenous Tourism is a critical sector of our tourism and hospitality economy. I encourage all to explore the amazing richness of Indigenous culture in some of the virtual workshops that Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) are offering in partnership with Destination BC all month. Sign up for an interactive wellness workshop in celebration of National Indigenous History Month here.
I continue to revel in the collaborative work of this industry and the resiliency of all businesses. Here’s to a better summer ahead. Like I am, I hope you get an opportunity to once again enjoy Super, Natural British Columbia® this summer.