PEI

Temporary foreign workers for tourism likely won't help this year, says industry group

Giving the hospitality sector access to temporary foreign workers will probably help P.E.I.’s tourism sector, says the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., but probably not this year.

‘It really depends on how we can expedite some of that processing time’

Labour shortages mean some businesses may not be able to operate at full capacity this summer. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Giving the hospitality sector access to temporary foreign workers will probably help P.E.I.'s tourism sector, says the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., but probably not this year.

Changes to the program were announced Monday, including allowing businesses in accommodation and food services to have up to 30 per cent of their staff be temporary foreign workers. The program has traditionally been more focused on the agriculture sector. P.E.I.'s food processing industry has also used it.

"There's a couple of really good things from this announcement. One is we are being identified as an industry, or sector, that is really struggling with labour," TIAPEI CEO Corryn Clemence told Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

With the Island expecting 1.2 million visitors this year, something more like a pre-pandemic tourism season, the industry faces a massive challenge, said Clemence. The labour shortage may prevent some businesses from operating at full capacity.

Corryn Clemence hopes they will be able to speed up the application process for the program. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)

Temporary foreign workers may alleviate the labour shortage, but Clemence said from what she understands about the application process, there is little hope of getting any assistance to the Island for this tourism season. Applications can take as long as a year, she said.

"It really depends on how we can expedite some of that processing time and if there's areas where provincial and federal governments work together to do that."

TIAPEI will hold a job fair in Cavendish this weekend. There will be more than 30 businesses there looking for workers, which Clemence said is an indication that it really is a job seeker's market.

With files from Laura Chapin

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