FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2008
VICTORIA – A pilot program announced today by Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen comes as welcome news for British Columbia’s hospitality and tourism employers, who are struggling with a severe labour shortage.
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) semi-skilled pilot project will enable hospitality and tourism employers to offer permanent positions to employees that have come to Canada as temporary foreign workers. Semi-skilled occupations such as food counter attendant and line cook were previously excluded from the PNP program.
“The B.C. government listened to our industry and clearly understands we are facing a people shortage, not just a skills shortage,” says Mark von Schellwitz, Western Canada Vice President for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). “This pilot project will allow some of the exceptional temporary foreign workers in the foodservice industry to succeed as new permanent Canadian residents. We’re confident the program will be a success and these occupations will be added to the permanent PNP eligibility list.”
In British Columbia, more than 168,000 people – or close to 8% of the provincial workforce – are employed in the foodservice industry, according to Statistics Canada. An additional 32,000 to 44,000 foodservice industry employees will be needed by 2015, according to labour market studies.
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