A growing labour shortage in Alberta has left workers exhausted, shoppers unsatisfied, and consumer advocacy groups handling record numbers of consumer complaints.

While Alberta's booming economy has led to high consumer demand, companies are failing to deliver because of a staggering labour shortage, says Chris Lawrence, the chief executive officer of the Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta.Complaints have increased by about 33 per cent this year, she says.

"They're just so overwhelmed by the volume of demand for their services and they're having a really tough time competing with large corporations in terms of securing staff," she told CBC. "It's all kind of multiplying against each other, and the sad part is it's the consumer in a lot of cases that's suffering."

Lately companies are so busy, they don't have time to respond to the Better Business Bureau when a consumer files a complaint, Lawrence says.

Unqualified workers being hired

For the first time in the 35-year history of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Albertathe province's staggering labour shortage has become the primary concern of the group's membership. More than half ofmembers said they were so desperate, they were hiring unqualified workers to fill jobs.

Jean Aird, who quit her job at a big box store a few weeks ago, says that long lines and slow service are part of the province's new retail reality.

"People think they have earned the right to be abusive and demand this service. Money can't buy service anymore.Money can't buy that right now," Aird said. "So what if you've got the money?You've got to wait like everybody else."

In June, the Conference Board of Canada warned that Alberta could face a shortage of 332,000 workers by 2025 if current trends continue. The Alberta government in July released a strategy aimed at bringing 86,000 extra people into the workforce over the next 10 years.

Changes to be adopted included recognizing the credentials of workers coming from other provinces and countries and providing Albertans with better information on career, education and training opportunities.