COVID-19 has posed a plethora of questions with regards to this upcoming ski season. Among the many issues at hand, sourcing local employment for ski resorts is one of them. In a typical ski season, Canadian ski resorts hire a large bulk of international workers to operate lifts, run lodges, and fill hospitality positions. However this season, due to closed borders, Canadian resorts will be forced to fulfill all their staffing needs by hiring only Canadians.
This may prove to be an issue for some resorts as international employees comprise a significant portion of their staff. For example, Karen Scurfield who is the director of communications at Sunshine Village, states that typically the resort hires approximately 800 employees. This season, however, Sunshine Village will likely only be able to hire 400 employees.
Canadian resorts are doing their best to recruit more Canadian employees, specifically high school and college students. Nonetheless, the endeavor is further complicated by the fact that many young people are making more off of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) than they would working at a ski resort.
The problems facing Canadian resorts parallel many of the same issues that US resorts are encountering. Through trial and tribulation, resorts will hopefully be able to adapt and keep their lifts running.
Despite the numerous uncertainties regarding employment and general operations, the majority of Candian resorts are still scheduled to open come November. One way or another, the 2020/21 season will likely prove to be an interesting one.