"Short-term crisis": Inflation and labour shortages creating problems for business in Vancouver

Sep 23 2022, 11:05 pm

We’ve heard lots about inflation and rising food prices across Canada this year, but across Metro Vancouver specifically, the food services and retail industries are among the hardest hit.

While inflation has significant implications for residents and consumers in Metro Vancouver, businesses are facing problems unique to them.

Inflation rates broke records in Canada earlier this year.

New data released by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Data Lab found that 65% of businesses in Metro Vancouver believe inflation will be the biggest challenge in the coming months.

The rising cost of inputs and recruiting skilled employees are also among the critical concerns of Metro Vancouver businesses.

According to a statement from the GVBOT, the region continues to stand out “for its tight labour market across all industries.”

“Employers are facing a shortage of workers, difficulties recruiting skilled employees, and employee retention.”

The hardest hit includes the accommodation and food services sector, with a shortage of 61%; following behind are the health care and social assistance sectors facing the most significant skilled employee retention challenges.

GVBOT states that “inflationary pressures” are disproportionately impacting small and medium-sized businesses and that governments at all levels have to find ways to reduce tax burdens on these groups.

Last year, supply chain issues were causing significant problems across the province, and in some good news, the GVBOT says that supply chain issues are improving.

Slowed immigration, thanks to the pandemic, has only exacerbated labour woes.

“We have a short-term crisis and a longer-term imperative to act in a big, bold way with all levels of government, industry, and post-secondary institutions together at the table to ensure we have a plan to fill the jobs of today and train for the skills of tomorrow.”

Key findings:

  • Rising inflation: The impact of inflation is expected to be felt most acutely among the accommodation and food services (87%), agriculture (85%), and construction (84%) industries.
  • Rising input costs: Concern over rising input costs in Metro Vancouver has decreased since Q2 (-8%) but businesses in accommodation and food services (82%) and retail trade (66%) are still feeling the pinch
  • Labour shortages: Difficulty recruiting (40%) and retaining (34%) talent continues to impact businesses across every sector, with a slight uptick in concern about both compared with the previous quarter.

Read the full report from the GVBOT here.

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