Many Canadian businesses are struggling to find staff

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Businesses across Canada can operate at full capacity again, but many are struggling to find staff to serve their customers.

“Currently, we are open only five days a week,” Davinder Chaudhary, owner of Ottawa’s upscale Aiana restaurant told CTV News. “We are capping our reservations because we don’t have adequate service staff to take care of our guests.”

That means about half the tables stay empty due to staffing issues: a new economic reality for many Canadian business owners.

According to a new Bank of Canada survey, 42 per cent of Canadian businesses are reporting labour shortages.


“I don’t think there’s an industry out there that is not constrained by the lack of workers,” the Conference Board of Canada’s chief economist, Pedro Antunes, told CTV News.

Recent Statistics Canada data shows job vacancies climbed to 957,500 in the first quarter of 2022; the highest quarterly number on record. The food and hotel industries have been hardest hit.

The Bank of Canada says businesses are expecting to raise wages by an average of 5.8 per cent over the next year to keep and attract employees.

Chaudhary’s restaurant forgoes tips, but offers workers benefits and the promise of a “living wage,” which the Ontario Living Wage Network calculates is $18.60/hour in Ottawa.

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“We offer benefits which include health care, life insurance, retirement plans,” Chaudhary said. “So, we are trying to offer this entire package to our team members.”

Without them, Chaudhary’s restaurant will not be able to operate at full capacity and make up for the long months of lockdowns and closures.

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