The labour shortage is affecting industries nationwide – and municipalities aren’t immune.
Particularly affected by labour shortages is the city’s parks, recreation and culture (PRC) department.
There are currently 298 vacancies in PRC, in a department of about 900, meaning about a third of its positions are vacant, according to Mary Morrison-Clark, the city’s general manager of parks and rec.
Now Morrison-Clark wants to do hiring differently.
“We know that doing it the same-old, same-old way, it’s not going to work anymore. So we need to be innovative and we need to do targeted hiring,” Morrison-Clark told the NOW.
PRC is looking to reach out to newcomers to Canada, as well as low-income families.
It’s something that speaks to Morrison-Clark on a personal level.
“I grew up in a low-income family, and PRC is what saved me as a kid and got me trained as a lifeguard at a cool program … where you could volunteer and they’d train you to be a swim instructor,” she said.
“And that’s the kind of way I think we need to go now: think of innovation. Reach out to vulnerable youth and give them an opportunity to have a great job, learn some leadership skills.”
Those are the kind of programs Morrison-Clark wants to grow.
The lifeguard shortage is a particular issue for the city, which has seen hundreds of parents wait for hours in person and online to register their kids for swimming lessons – and still fail to get a spot.
In March, staff told council Burnaby has seen a