Restaurants in small municipalities unequal in the face of labor shortages

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Small town restaurants unequal in the face of labor shortages

At Tremblant, there is still a shortage of 500 employees to fill all available positions.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, companies have had to face a whole new reality that comes with its share of challenges. Among these is the shortage of potential workers, which puts the future of some traders at stake.

This situation affects the regions all the more, but certain exceptions remain. This is the case of Namur, a small village of a few hundred people, in the eastern Outaouais.

Met a year ago when the pandemic was in full swing, Nicole Louis-Seize, owner of the restaurant Au Moulin du temps, in Namur, carried the survival of her restaurant at arm's length, with the help of her little -son. A handful of customers frequented it at the time.

The summer that just ended, however, turned out to be much more lucrative. Madame Louis-Seize even claims to have been too busy. This week the restaurant was teeming with employees and hungry customers.

We had trouble providing, says the owner, laughing. She attributes her popularity to the fact that many restaurants had to close for a few days a week due to labor shortages.

“People, what they told us was that from Montebello to Mont-Tremblant, there was no restaurants open. »

— Nicole Louis-Seize, owner of the restaurant Au Moulin du temps

Virtually alone within a radius of 100 km, Mrs. Louis-Seize's restaurant has seen its turnover explode. The latter even had to recruit new employees from neighboring municipalities.

During the pandemic, small municipalities have experienced all kinds of changes. The exodus to these has caused a population boom, but the new residents who have settled there take jobs in town.

Services therefore end up with greater demand, but without manpower. The mayor of Thurso and prefect of the MRC de Papineau, Benoit Lauzon confirms that the lack of employees is a problem.

There are businesses that are not open seven days a week, he argues. They are forced to close for two weeks to be able to take a little family vacation.

“It's an issue, and we start with the labor shortage. We know that in five, six, seven years, it will be worse. »

— Benoit Lauzon, mayor of Thurso and prefect of the MRC de Papineau

We have to start thinking about it and working together, the municipal sector, the government of Quebec , then local organizations, says Mr. Lauzon.

The shortage in the region also seems to be accentuated with the fall. Anne-Marie Proulx, owner of placement agency Barbara Personnel Inc., says it's definitely a trend, as students are back on the job benches. #x27;school.

We see the difference with regard to several positions that become vacant, explains the latter. Companies must review their way of doing things, if only to have more flexible hours.

The tourist resort of Mont Tremblant had to make some changes. It draws part of its workforce from the MRC of Papineau because of its proximity.

Up to 3,000 employees are needed for its proper functioning and for the instant, the station finds itself with a shortfall of 400 to 500 employees. The restaurant hours had to be reviewed, as well as the daytime offer.

The General Manager of the Tremblant Resort Association, Cristina Romero maintains that the labor shortage is a current challenge, but that it will remain a challenge for many years to come.

Cristina Romero is the General Manager of the Tremblant Resort Association.

To face this challenge, creativity is essential. In the Petite-Nation, we are thinking about organizing public transport to encourage young people to work there. Others consider immigration.

At home, in the small RCMs, the small municipalities, we don't have all the resources necessary to be able to work with immigration, to put in place the right things , emphasizes Benoit Lauzon. Becoming welcoming municipalities, we do it, but we are able to do it even better.

“We're going to have to get the resources from the government to be able to do this. »

— Benoit Lauzon, Mayor of Thurso and Prefect of the MRC de Papineau

At the MRC de Papineau, a development and human resources team has been set up to facilitate the process, but government support is essential, adds Mr. Lauzon.

With information from Christian Milette

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