At many, many locations across our nation, we are struggling to attract, hire, train and retain employees. In this ongoing feature, we will examine solutions for these complex and pressing staffing issues. While we always encourage hiring locally or within Canada, the staffing shortage we are collectively experiencing has forced us to get creative. Coming off a stellar 2021/22 season, it is critical to have a sufficient number of trained staff in place to meet the upcoming demand.

June 2022: Paul Pinchbeck, President and CEO of The Canadian Ski Council met with MP’s in Ottawa to address labour shortages and concerns specific to the tourism and recreation sectors.

Temporary foreign workers (TFW) can fill openings you’re unable to fulfill through the local or national labour market. These workers should be seen as a short-term solution – available to step in and help for one season. Often, these workers are skilled, experienced, and are in pursuit of endless winter.

One TFW program appeals to Australian workers. The Canadian Ski Council has been working with the Canadian Federal Government to attract TFW to help the tourism industry rebound from the impacts of COVID-19. Our government has introduced various work visas to help secure the staffing needed to fill positions in technical roles, like avalanche forecasters, mountain guides, and ski instructors. There have also been efforts to promote the benefits of working in Canada to an Australian audience; this includes sharing job boards, special needs, culture, environment, and, of course, the benefits of coming to Canada.

Many people with the technical skills needed to fill these vacant positions love to ski and want to follow the best ski conditions around the globe. Given the nature of opposite seasons in Australia versus Canada, it’s ideal to recruit Australians when their home country has warmer weather.

Despite the efforts of the Federal Government to streamline visa processing, it can still be a lengthy process to get employable staff into Canada, settled, trained. and ready to work. With average wait times of 16 to 26 weeks, timing is of the essence. Any vacant positions at your ski area that you’d like to recruit internationally for must be registered now. We will continue to offer solutions to meet the staffing shortage in upcoming editions of OnSnow.

If you have positions you need to fill urgently and have exhausted your local options, we encourage you to look at TFW. Jobs can be filed at your ski area operator website. By filing your openings now, you have the best chance of securing the personnel you need for a prosperous upcoming season with a full complement of skilled employees.