August 2021 Kicker Editorial from MP Mel Arnold:
With the easing of health and travel restrictions, it appears most Canadians are eager to get back to socializing and gathering, even if some protective measures are still in place. Businesses like those in the hospitality sector that rely on people being able to mingle have been hard hit as they have endured a curtailment of business much longer than anyone expected when the pandemic arrived in Canada.
As vaccination numbers continue to climb and the number of new cases decline, businesses and public events are re-opening and restoring their operations. Restaurants and tourism accommodations are seeing customers and visitors returning to their favourite dining experiences or vacation spots as do local farmers’ markets and music events where local artisans and vendors set up to welcome residents and visitors are back. All these re-openings are creating employment opportunities.
As businesses and our economy reopen, they require employees so that they can provide customers with the goods and services they are seeking. Employers from across the North Okanagan-Shuswap have consistently shared with me that their ability to hire the workers they require is one of the more significant challenges facing them today. Whether it is because some employees still feel vulnerable to the virus though increased personal interactions, or whether federal relief programs are still creating a disincentive for some to return to work, many employers are not able to find enough staff to fill the positions required.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, my Conservative colleagues and I have supported federal programs developed to help Canadian employers and workers- especially the hardest hit sectors. We also specifically advocated for support measures to deliver support in a timely and effective way without also creating unintended disincentives that would keep Canadians from returning to or seeking employment.
As Canada’s economy continues to emerge from the harm of the pandemic, employers will need more and more workers. I will continue to work with colleagues to advocate for recovery programs to help rebuild Canadian businesses and help them create employment opportunities whether they operate on a main-street or off the beaten path because true recovery must deliver opportunities to all sectors from coast to coast to coast, across Canada.
Mel Arnold, M.P.