Osoyoos tourism employers team up to house seasonal workers amid housing crunch

Osoyoos tourism employers are attempting to stir up a recipe for success to address the seasonal labour shortage in the Okanagan.

Daniel Bibby, the general manager of Spirit Ridge Resort, said he’s teamed up with other employers to invest in a 42-bed modular housing unit to house seasonal workers.

It will be constructed on Osoyoos Indian Band land near the resort and should be up and running by May.

In its former life the modular housing unit was used in Alberta at an oil exploration camp.

“It really comes down to staff shortages in our valley and the lack of affordable housing,” Bibby said.

WorkBC job developer Kendi Clearwater is based in Osoyoos and connects employers with prospective employees.

She said there are currently over 300 job vacancies across all industries including healthcare, construction and hospitality.

WATCH BELOW: Okanagan culinary industry starved for trained workers, offering incentives

“Some of the challenges are where do people who come here for these summer jobs live?,” she said.

Thirty-five employers set up booths at a job fair in Osoyoos today– hoping to fill the gap.

“We are significantly short of labour and each year it is increasingly difficult,” said Ingrid Jarrett, the general manager of Watermark Beach Resort.

But it doesn’t appear the labour woes will improve.

A recent labour market study by B.C.’s tourism human resource association go2HR anticipates that the Thompson Okanagan will have 12,334 job openings with a labour shortage of 1,626 by 2020.

The study found the food and beverage and accommodation sectors will be hardest hit– leaving employers scrambling to do whatever it takes to incentivize workers.

“The reality is the hospitality industry is growing, there’s additional hotels, there’s more people travelling, so I think the demand for workers is higher now than ever before,” Bibby said.

WATCH BELOW: Okanagan hospitality operators turning to Alberta and Ireland for trained workers

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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