Canmore and Banff need workers amid tourism boom

Employers in Canmore are looking to hire more seasonal workers this year because of a tourism boom prompted by the low Canadian dollar and the town's increased international reputation.

Bow Valley employers seek seasonal staff as influx of visitors expected with low Canadian dollar

The lure of the Rocky Mountains had Jaimi Pollard willing to leave the oil and gas sector in favour of working in Canmore. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Employers in Canmore are looking to hire more seasonal workers this year because of a tourism boom prompted by the low Canadian dollar and the town's increased international reputation.

About 150 people attended a hiring fair in the mountain community west of Calgary on Tuesday.

The annual event had been held in Banff for the previous 25 years but, this year, organizers decided to move the location to Canmore.

Many travelled from other provinces to attend the fair.

Jaimi Pollard of Lloydminster, Sask., is willing to leave the oil and gas sector for a chance to live and work in the Rocky Mountains.

"For me, it's more of a lifestyle change," Pollard said. "Living in camp for the long shifts can get a little tiresome."

Employers from various hotels, restaurants and travel services are looking to fill about 100 positions.

This year, both Canmore and Banff are seeing a particular need for workers.

More than 100 people turned up at a job fair in Canmore this week. Tourism officials say there is a shortage of workers in the Bow Valley. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

"Canmore is more dynamic than it used to be; the labour market has a lot of movement," said Michel Dufresne, director of the Job Resource Centre for Banff and Canmore.

"Banff used to be the majority employer but now in Canmore, there's a lot of employment here."

Dufresne said he expects to see a lot more Albertans applying for work this year, but doesn't anticipate many laid-off oil and gas workers to submit resumes, because most of the available work is seasonal and the wages are considerably lower.

But there have been applicants from Fort McMurray.

"We're not sure if it's because they lost their job or because they lost their homes," said Dufresne.

He said there's accommodation for about 5,000 staff in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Kananaskis for the summer.

With files from Colleen Underwood