Winnipeg businesses finding it hard to hire staff amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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WATCH: Hair salons, restaurant patios, and libraries are some of the businesses given the green light to operate again in Manitoba, but just because they can, doesn't mean everyone is excited to return to work. Global's Malika Karim reports – May 5, 2020

As Manitoba slowly starts to re-open businesses in the province following initial COVID-19 self-isolating measures, some employers are finding it difficult to recruit staff.

Two Men and a Truck is a Canada-wide moving company. President and CEO John Prittie notes the industry in general tends to see high turnover in staff, resulting in job openings throughout the year.

Over the last month, however, a new challenge has become evident.

“With COVID-19, there were a number of government programs that came up that would allow a lot of our movers and drivers to qualify for the CERB,” Prittie said.

READ MORE: Can you get CERB if you choose not to work?

For moving companies, the beginning and end of the month are the busiest time for staff. Workers often are not banking many hours in the middle of the month. With government assistance programs they’re collecting a steady flow of income.

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“A lot of our movers and drivers have opted to participate in that program, so we’ve been actively recruiting to fill those spots left vacant as a result of COVID-19,” Prittie said.

Other businesses in Winnipeg that hire seasonal workers are also finding it difficult to hire staff back.

“As we get closer to the warmer temperatures, usually we try to hire a few more people, but the brakes were put on that because of COVID-19 and because of that we entered into this, low staff,” said owner of Olympia Cycle, Scot Miller.

“But its’s extremely hard to hire someone right now too. There are people that are on assistance now, that are getting money, they don’t want to jeopardize that. It’s hard to get some of those people and there are some people that are scared to work, so it’s been challenging, very challenging.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Some businesses choosing to remain closed even after Manitoba government approval

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister addressed the issue Tuesday in a provincial press conference.

“Remember it’s going to run out, and when it runs out, that job you didn’t want to take a month ago might not be there,” Pallister said.

“You might find that someone else is in that job, so your short-term benefit is going to be met by your long-term cost.”


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