Canadian Manufacturing

Massive labour shortages are forcing small businesses to reduce operations and curtail hours

Some provinces have tried to ease staffing woes by shortening isolation periods, allowing people to return to work sooner.

January 5, 2022  The Canadian Press

An intensifying labour shortage is rippling through Canada’s economy, forcing businesses to curtail operations, reduce hours and in some cases, euthanize livestock.

The situation is a result of a chronic worker shortage worsened by the crush of new COVID-19 cases forcing many into isolation.

School closures have also left some workers scrambling for child care and unable to go into work.

The shortage has created a scheduling nightmare for businesses grappling with mounting unplanned absences on top of shifting public health restrictions, prompting airlines to cancel flights, drugstores to close early and restaurants to move to take-out only.

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At a slaughterhouse near Quebec City, the worker shortage became so extreme in recent days it opted to euthanize chickens that couldn’t be processed.

Exceldor Co-operative says rising COVID-19 infections and a significant shortage of personnel have forced the company to resort to “humane euthanasia.”

It blames Exceldor’s protracted worker shortage on federal delays processing temporary foreign worker applications.

Meanwhile, some provinces have tried to ease staffing woes by shortening isolation periods, allowing people to return to work sooner.

Yet the sheer number of new daily cases caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to leave many workers confined to their homes and businesses struggling to remain open.

Drug store chain Jean Coutu says on its website some of its stores may need to modify business hours to ensure essential services are maintained.