WCSA – Our Industry. Our Future. Labour Market Study Phase 2 is Complete
by: Andrew Klukas
by: Andrew Klukas
In recent years, convenience store (c-store) employers from across the industry have reported experiencing labour shortages that are negatively impacting their businesses. The Western Convenience Stores Association (WCSA), through the five phases of the Sector Labour Market Partnerships (SLMP) Program, is aiming to better understand and respond to these shortages.
The WCSA completed Phase 1 of the Program in March 2017. “Consultations with a project steering committee, employers, and other stakeholders during this phase revealed that recruiting and retaining appropriately skilled employees at the wage rate employers could afford was the most common labour market challenge facing the industry,” says Andrew Klukas, WCSA President.
Phase 2 of this program began in late 2017. Its purpose was to uncover additional insights into the issues affecting the labour market in the industry, to identify the issues underlying the labour market challenges the industry is facing, and to present potential options to address them.
This project included surveys of some 200 employers and well over 400 employees, along with 25 one-on-one interviews. The second phase of this project is now complete and you can view the report at www.thewcsa.com. The report includes recommendations in relation to:
“I would like to extend my thanks to the committee members and especially David Charron at Suncor for the energy he has put into this project,” says Klukas.
The next step is to secure funding to develop a comprehensive labour market strategy to address issues and recommendations identified to date. Phase 4 (likely in 2019 – 2020) will involve implementation of identified solutions.
Meanwhile, the WCSA has been working on ways to make Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program more accessible to Impact Assessment (LMIA) application to the federal government. This involves posting the job(s) on several sites sites for at least four weeks prior to submitting the LMIA application to demonstrate that underrepresented groups of Canadians were pursued and considered for the position (e.g. disabled people, aboriginals, youth).
A job posting can receive hundreds of applications from within and outside Canada and these need to be screened to ensure the applicant is serious about wanting the job (and not simply applying in order to meet EI requirements). The employer must also submit a detailed list of Canadians who applied for the position; the number of Canadians interviewed for the position, and detailed explanations for why the Canadian candidates considered were not hired. Due to government backlogs it takes six to eight months to learn if your application has been approved.
The list goes on…
The good news is that a new program stream is becoming available and, thanks to the WCSA, the C-store industry stands to be first in line to access it.
The Canadian government has committed to expediting the immigration of 20,000 workers from the Solomon Islands due to the impact of rising sea levels on their habitable land. Under this program there is a one month processing time once the LMIA application has been submitted.
However, there are other benefits to this program:
One of the greatest benefits however is that LMIA applications are specific to the employer and the worker is named under each LMIA. Since they are valid for two years, the program can provide enhanced employment stability during at least the first the two-years of employment.
Furthermore, the cost of accessing this program is expected to be roughly in line with the cost of hiring domestic workers. “Given the high turnover rate in the industry, and the fact that it costs employers between $2,000 and $4,000 to successfully hire an employee, this program can’t be beat.”
For further information or if you are interested in submitting and LMIA, please contact Andrew Klukas atAndrew@conveniencestores.ca.