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Peace pub paying medical and dental still not able to recruit Canadian workers

The owner of a pub in northeastern B.C. says she's struggling to find enough staff to keep her restaurant open. 

Kelly Barrett owns Jackfish Dundees in Charlie Lake, just north of Fort St. John. She says rapid growth in the area has created a worker shortage.

"Finding Canadian people that are willing to come this far north, has always been a challenge. Usually we get an influx of college students around this time of year looking for summer employment, and we have not had that this year at all."

On sunny days, Barrett likes to open the patio, but in order to do that she needs to shut down a portion of the pub inside because she can't get enough extra staff. 

As it stands, much of Barrett's staff are temporary foreign workers.

Barrett says she's tried to recruit from all over B.C. and Alberta, and that she provides a medical and dental plan along with wages that are above industry averages. 

Restaurants Canada wants ban lifted

Meanwhile, the group representing restaurants owners wants a freeze on temporary foreign workers in the restaurant industry lifted.

"The recent moratorium on temporary foreign workers in the food service industry has turned the labour shortage into a crisis," says Restaurants Canada CEO Garth Whyte.

Whyte is calling for a meeting with the Prime Minister.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney says reforms to the program are needed, and there needs to be more scrutiny to make sure the use of temporary foreign workers isn't artificially decreasing wages.

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