Issue #1 - Shortage of skilled and unskilled restaurant and foodservice industry labour.
Alberta’s restaurant industry labour shortage was a significant issue between 2006-2008. After a brief reprieve as a result of the economic downturn Alberta’s restaurant industry labour shortage is once again the biggest issue facing Alberta’s restaurant industry. Statistics show the industry is once again short of both skilled and unskilled labour and statistics show the shortage will become more acute in the years ahead.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program helped avert a labour shortage crisis over the past five years but the Temporary Foreign Worker Program even with some positive changes is a “band-aid” short term solution to a long term challenge.
Alberta’s Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) focuses on skilled occupations (including chefs and journeyman cooks) but only has 5,000 nominees for all industries annually. There is an AINP semi-skilled foodservice industry pilot project allowing 600 nominees for food counter attendants and kitchen helpers but it does not adequately meet industry needs. The AINP is too small and too restrictive to alleviate future shortages.
We need more Alberta nominees and a permanent foodservice semi-skilled AINP stream.
Issue #2 - .05 BAC provisions of tougher drinking and driving penalties
CRFA and our Alberta members support the goal of getting dangerous impaired drivers off Alberta’s roads. Our members have families and live in communities throughout Alberta and will support evidence-based proposals targeting those dangerous legally impaired drivers that statistics show are responsible for alcohol related traffic accidents and fatalities. The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and Transport Canada statistics indicate that of the 39% of driving fatalities that involved impaired drivers – 85% were over criminal .08 BAC level with more than half of the impaired drivers having BAC levels of more than .16 BAC (more than double the limit).
Therefore, CRFA supported the tougher penalties contained in Bill 26 aimed at repeat offenders over the legally impaired .08 BAC limit but strongly opposed the provisions targeting drivers between .05 BAC - .08 BAC as it targets the wrong people and could cost industry sales and jobs. Similar drinking and driving penalties implemented in BC resulted in 88% of BC CRFA licensed members losing an average of 21% in liquor sales after similar penalties were implemented.
CRFA believes we need to focus limited police resources on those impaired drivers causing accidents and fatalities not responsible social drinkers.
We need solutions that will save lives – not ones that harass ordinary responsible Albertans and cost Alberta hospitality industry jobs!