Scott Aitchison, the Parry Sound-Muskoka MP, says businesses are struggling.
On Monday, our MP stood in the House of Commons and called on his fellow Parliamentarians to do more to support the businesses who, despite being busy, aren’t able to stay open for as long as they did pre-pandemic because of staffing shortages. “(Businesses are) looking for people,” Aitchison said. “They’re busy. But they can’t get people to work.”
Aitchison was speaking on the proposed Bill C-2, which would see the Canada Recovering Hiring Program run until 2020, which the government said would help businesses continue to hire back workers. The bill also touches on targeted support to businesses still facing pandemic-related challenges. It would include the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, the Hardest-Hit Businesses Recovery Program, which both feature potential wage and rent subsidies for businesses.
“With [this] legislation, we are pivoting to what we hope will be the final stage of recovery,” said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
The Liberals are hoping to pass the bill before the house rises for the holidays on December 17th.
Aitchison said he’s not opposed to Bill C-2, but is against the idea of just handing over a cheque from the government. He added just saying the hospitality and tourism sectors need funding isn’t going to work.
“I think Canadians have seen enough of how this government operates with a great big blank cheque and they are justifiably concerned,” he said.
In the House of Commons, he pointed to Jeff Watson, who is a Tim Hortons franchisee in Gravenhurst. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Aitchison said they were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But staffing shortages have forced Watson to reduce hours. He said despite the franchise using a hiring agency, Watson still has had no luck bringing in new employees.
Aitchison said he also got in touch with Didier Dolivet, who is the General Manager of the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort and Spa. He said Dolivet explained to him how it’s been a challenge for a few years to find people, but the pandemic-inspired labour shortage has made things even more difficult.
Aitchison said people have discovered Ontario during the pandemic, but businesses are still unable to maximize their occupancy because of the shortage of labour.