Family, friends hold vigil for 24-year-old homicide victim

Dozens of family members, friends, and neighbours braved the rain and gathered to remember Rebecca Contois Thursday night.

Dozens of family members, friends, and neighbours braved the rain and gathered to remember Rebecca Contois Thursday night.

A vigil was held on Edison Avenue, near where the 24-year-old’s remains were found on Monday.

Family spokesperson Darryl Contois says the community has stepped up to show support.

“They (the family) has to go and face those lonely days without her,” said Contois.

READ MORE: Arrest made in “grisly” Edison Avenue homicide

Contois has been active in the community with various Indigenous street-watch programs, helping find Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

He described Rebecca as a well-known and loved woman in the community.

“It’s sad she got messed up with the wrong people,” he said. “She was a very kind person.”

Contois says they’re happy with the way the Winnipeg Police Service has handled the investigation so far.

On Wednesday, police arrested 35-year-old Jeremy Anthony Michael Skibicki and charged him with first-degree murder.  Police say Contois and Skibicki were previously known to each other.

An ongoing investigation has led officers to also search the Brady Road landfill in Winnipeg and police say circumstances in the case have led homicide investigators to suspect there may be more victims.

 -with files from Shane Gibson

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Lethbridge landscapers staying busy as material costs rise

WATCH ABOVE: Landscapers in Lethbridge are off to a busy start this spring. Some companies already have their summer schedule finalized, while suppliers are seeing steady business. And they say increased material costs are not deterring many homeowners from updating their greenery. Erik Bay has more.

Lethbridge landscapers are busy all across the city.

“If you call today, it’s going to be at least two weeks before we can even get to do the quote,” said Dino’s Landscape & Design owner Dean Savage.

Savage is fielding an above-average number of requests for his services this year.

“Prior to COVID-19, we were booking a little further out than what we would normally book, but somewhat reasonable,” Savage said.

Some businesses are already booking jobs into the end of summer.

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Lethbridge Landscape Supply owner Alan Pavan believes that’s causing a higher number of people to take matters into their own hands when it comes to their yard work.

After a big bump in do-it-yourselfers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pavan said that trend is on the rise again in 2022.

“Part of that is there is just more jobs that people are doing, so the contractors have booked up quicker,” Pavan said.

But the main difference both landscapers and suppliers see this year is material costs.

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“The difficulties we’ve been having is really retaining materials, and the costs have been fluctuating quite a bit,” said Earthlings Inc. co-owner Kirsten Hironaka.

“Usually we can estimate well in advance of projects, but even in the last month we’ve seen prices jumping.”

Costs haven’t slowed the landscaping boom and businesses said they shouldn’t have a major impact on consumers’ bottom lines.

“This year’s the first time we’ve seen a little bit extra in cost come out, with fuel surcharges and things,” Pavan said. “Overall, we’re not seeing crazy jumps like some of the building material and lumber industry prices.”

One owner of a landscaping company had some advice for people seeking landscaping services.

“I do have a lot of clients that are thinking of waiting for another time to do their project, thinking the materials are going to go down,” Savage said.

“We don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.”

For those wanting to upgrade their homes’ green spaces, landscapers recommend finding qualified help and beginning the process as soon as possible.

“If you start now, you’ll be ready for when the time comes that you’re wanting it done,” Hironaka said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Vancouver Island man swims great lengths to help local seniors

It’s not the first time Lucas Gentina has risen at the crack of dawn to take a dip, but this was no easy swim.

It took him an hour and half to get from shore to shore in the Saanich Inlet.

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Last weekend Gentina made his second crossing of the year in a campaign to raise money to help seniors at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital.

“Most of the residents are sometimes bedbound or have a bit of an issue leaving the room and have a bit of a doom and gloom mentality,” Gentina, who works in long-term care at the hospital, told Global’s This is BC.

He is always trying to make a connection with the residents and bring a little joy to their lives.

“He’s always talking about his hundreds of grandmas and grandpas and all the things he does for them,” Gentina’s best friend Paul LeBere said.

“He shows pictures of them. It’s heartwarming.”

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The residents can’t believe the lengths he’s going to for them.

“They’re like, ‘What? Why?’ I say why not,” Gentina said.

Gentina learned to swim at a young age thanks to his father who competed at the national level in Chile. Bruno Gentina was a member of the country’s modern pentathlon team.

“I grew up seeing his medals. I was just a little kid and looked up at them and was like, ‘Aw I have to do something now.’ He put the bar pretty high.”

Over the course of two swims Gentina has raised close to $20,000 for the hospital.

It’s money that will buy better wheelchairs to encourage the residents to get out and explore a little.

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“Anything to help our elders and our seniors and give them a comfortable way of life, which they deserve,” Gentina said.

The hardest part is over, at least for now.

But Gentina plans to do many more charity swims, and has even earned a new nickname.

“Barnacle boy,” he said with a laugh. “Yeah barnacle boy.”

To contact Jay Durant with a story idea for This is BC, email him details and contact information at thisisbc@globalnews.ca

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Storm damage prompts Calgary Flames to cancel Red Lot viewing parties for Game 2 and 3 vs. Oilers

WATCH ABOVE (From May 18, 2022): The Calgary Flames had to cancel their outdoor viewing party at the Red Lot ahead of Game 1 of the Battle of Alberta due to high winds. Adam MacVicar reports.

The Calgary Flames announced Thursday that the organization will be cancelling Red Lot viewing parties for Game 2 and Game 3 of their playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers because of a storm that tore through the city a day earlier.

In a news release, the NHL hockey club said Friday’s and Sunday’s viewing parties had to be cancelled “due to damage suffered to the site during yesterday’s windstorm, and inclement weather in the forecast.”

The Red Lot allows thousands of fans to watch Flames playoff games outside together on the Stampede Grounds on multiple large screens for free.

The Flames cancelled Wednesday’s viewing party for Game 1 against the Oilers because of the wind gusts. A Global News crew at the scene noted that the wind was so powerful it ripped a hole through the back of a stage at the site.

READ MORE: Winds snuff out Calgary Flames Red Lot ahead of Battle of Alberta Game 1

Despite the disappointing news about the Red Lot, the Flames also announced Thursday that the Scotiabank Saddledome will be opened for Game 3 on Sunday when the Flames will play in Edmonton so that fans can congregate for a “C of Red Family Viewing Party.”

“Tickets will be free but must be secured in advance,” the Flames said. “(There will be a) maximum of four tickets each.

“We ask that you please only secure what you know you will use to avoid wasted tickets.”

The Flames noted the indoor viewing party will see the arena operate “at a reduced capacity for this event.”

“We understand that demand for ‘C of Red Family Viewing Party’ tickets will potentially outweigh supply, and would like to reiterate our tremendous gratitude for the extraordinary support of the C of Red,” the club said. “Updates regarding future viewing parties will be provided as available.”

Tickets for the Game 3 viewing party at the Saddledome will be available here beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday. The arena will be open to fans with tickets on Sunday beginning at 5 p.m.

READ MORE: Battle of Alberta Game 1 sees Oilers lose 9-6 to Flames

The Flames won the opening game of their series against the Oilers by a score of 9-6 on Wednesday.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Sky is the limit': Back-to-back champion Blue Bombers finally opening camp

It’s better late than never as the two-time Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers finally kicked off training camp four days later than originally planned after the end of a brief players strike.

“I know how much everyone wanted to get out here and play football,” said linebacker Adam Bighill. “We’re at the point now, guys are out here doing what they love to do and what I love to do.”

Around 90 players were on the field for day one of main camp at the University of Manitoba campus. After practicing on their own with informal workouts the last few days during the work stoppage, players were put through a two-and-a-half hour workout.

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Veterans Jackson Jeffcoat and Patrick Neufeld were both limited participants on the opening day of camp, but players are just happy to be back on the field to focus on football after the four-day strike.

“This is what I live for right here, football,” said receiver Nic Demski. “So to be able to come back out here with all the boys, my brothers. I’ve been here in Winnipeg this whole off-season, so, I’ve been like an anxious little puppy right here, just waiting around for all my boys to come in.”

“It feels really good to be back out here running around and it feels like we were just here,” said quarterback Zach Collaros. “Just another practice. A lot of new faces out there.

“Man, it just feels good to be throwing the football around and competing.”

There’s a lot of newcomers here to battle for jobs, but there’s also a lot of familiar faces with the Bombers retaining much of their championship roster after back-to-back Grey Cup wins. With an abundance of talent in camp, there’s no reason why they can’t make another run to a title, but it’s just the start of a long road to a possible three-peat.

“I feel like the sky is the limit,” Bighill said. “We got a lot of great guys that have been around here and won Grey Cups, and we brought a bunch of new, great guys into the fold. And it’s time to find out how everybody fits together.

“Every year is a new journey. And you got to go take it and earn it every single year, and that’s no different now. This is a building process. We haven’t done anything, so this where we need to come out, and continue to remember that, and earn it every day.”

While it was the first day of camp for the Bombers and six other CFL teams, it was day five for the two Alberta-based clubs. The Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders held camp right through the work stoppage because they weren’t in a legal strike position due to local labour laws.

While many were crying foul, some on the Bombers don’t think it’ll make a shred of difference in the long run as players in Winnipeg had been practicing as team on their own without coaches.

“We’re not worried about that,” said Bighill. “Especially, we got a veteran crew, and we got a great group. And we work efficiently, so we’ll make up for anything that people that say we lost, but I’m not too worried about it all.”

“There’s always a sense or urgency with training camp,” Collaros said. “You see the first game on the schedule. You have it circled, it’s like, man, that’s not too far away.

“Missing four days isn’t ideal, but we have a veteran group of guys here, guys that have played ball together for a long time, and these four, five days that we haven’t been on the field, we’ve been meeting together.”

Read more:

CFL reschedules Winnipeg Blue Bombers pre-season opener

The Bombers were originally scheduled to open the pre-season on Monday, but that contest was pushed back by eight days so the Bombers will now open their exhibition schedule next Friday against the Edmonton Elks at IG Field.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Doctors warn staffing shortage could shutter Manitoba multiple sclerosis clinic

The MS Clinic at the Health Sciences Centre is in danger of closing according to doctors and there are calls for funding support from the province. Rosanna Hempel reports.

Manitoba doctors are warning the multiple sclerosis clinic at Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre could close if the province and Shared Health don’t step in to provide support.

The acting head of the University of Manitoba’s neurology department turned to the media Thursday morning in what he called an act of “desperation.”

“We can’t afford to allow the MS clinic to close. It would take years to be able to restore it, and frankly, I’m just not waiting for that to happen,” Dr. Dan Roberts said.

The MS clinic could shutter in as little as 90 days, which would be disastrous for the about 2,800 patients who rely on its services, Roberts said. Other disciplines like stroke neurology would also suffer due to the closure, he added.

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Provincial officials have redirected the MS community’s concerns to Shared Health, Roberts said.

He sent the provincial health organization a letter last week outlining longstanding issues within Manitoba’s neurology services but has yet to receive an official response.

“More recently, when I indicated that the MS clinic was about to undergo a forced closure, I got two email responses expressing sympathy and asking what they could do to help,” Roberts said.

“It’s quite obvious what they can do to help. I’ve been asking for these resources and for confirmations for a long time.”

Shared Health needs to recruit eight to 10 neurologists over the next year to maintain services at the clinic and elsewhere, he said.

It would also need Allied Health personnel like occupational therapists and physiotherapists to not only help recruit new physicians but also retain the staff they already have, but funding hasn’t been approved, Roberts continued.

“I can’t recruit people with empty promises,” he said.

“We have to do some rapid recruitment here not only to get our numbers up and restore service but to retain the few people we have. Morale is very low.”

As it stands, the MS clinic is operating at about half the capacity required to deliver care to all of its patients, Roberts said. That capacity is slated to drop even more with the impending departure of one of its specialists, which could trigger even more departures.

“That becomes just unsustainable.”

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Shared Health is in the final stages of recruiting an MS neurologist for the clinic and has approved a nurse practitioner position but acknowledges more staff is needed, a spokesperson told Global News in an emailed statement.

However, Roberts said the incoming neurologist wouldn’t be ready to practise until February, while the nurse practitioner position only filled the spot of a person who went on maternity leave.

Shared Health says neurology services are an ongoing priority, but it will take time to fill any specialized positions.

“While there are neurology staffing challenges in the MS clinic, the clinic continues to provide care for patients living with the disease,” the spokesperson continued.

The MS clinic’s medical director, Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, told Global News the staffing shortage needs to be addressed quickly.

“It’s been incredibly frustrating and disheartening to see that even though we know what kind of care people with MS need and deserve, and even though we know what the evidence says they should have, we have not been able to do that,” said Marrie, who also serves as a professor of community health sciences and medicine at the University of Manitoba.

“We know that timely, effective access to comprehensive care is critical to optimizing outcomes for people with multiple sclerosis,” she said Thursday.

“We want to be able to deliver that care. I think people deserve that care.”

Read more:

Patients waiting more than a day to be admitted in Winnipeg hospitals: ‘It’s absolutely terrifying’

Roberts says that lack of care and those long waits are forcing patients living with epilepsy and MS to resort to hospital emergency departments — ERs that are already struggling with long wait times.

The MS Society of Canada says it’s critical Manitoba’s only MS clinic specializing in diagnostic and management of the disease remains open.

“We will be monitoring this situation closely as we continue to provide information, support, and advocacy to people affected by MS,” senior vice-president of mission, Benjamin Davis, said in an emailed statement to Global News.

Epilepsy, stroke neurology services also strained

Roberts fears HSC’s epilepsy monitoring unit could suffer a similar fate as it battles a long-predicted shortage of electroencephalogram (EEG) technologists.

“This was a slow-evolving train wreck, and they responded only after the crash occurred,” he said.

“A predictable disaster evolved and was basically allowed to progress until we ended up with so few technologists to do EEGs that we are now in a situation where the waiting lists for EEGs will continue to grow.”

HSC now has two to four technologists available on any given day, out of the 11 or 12 the hospital needs to be fully operational, Roberts wrote in his letter to Shared Health. With these staffing shortages, wait lists are “skyrocketing” at a rate that’s doubling every 15 to 20 weeks, he told media on Thursday.

He says Winnipeg struggles to keep technologists due to low-paying salaries compared to the rest of Canada.

Read more:

Work underway on dedicated stroke unit in Winnipeg

Shared Health says it’s recruited six neurologists in the last year and a half: a cognitive neurologist, an MS neurologist, two stroke neurologists and two epileptologists — but Roberts countered, the provincial health organization is still eight to 10 short.

“Our efforts to attract these specialists and others will be aided by new initiatives to enhance neurology services in our province, including the adult epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) announced last year and the new dedicated acute stroke unit being constructed at HSC Winnipeg,” the Shared Health spokesperson said.

The province told Global News funding for the latter project will be in place when it’s “online.”

In his letter to Shared Health, Roberts said it’s unrealistic to expect the new 28-bed stroke unit to open this October.

“The stroke unit is likely to remain empty for another year because (Shared Health) has not approved the resources to provide physicians,” Roberts wrote in an email to Global News.

The EMU also won’t open for another two years as it takes that amount of time to train the EEG technologists to open it, he said.

Currently, Shared Health says an interprovincial agreement with the B.C. Institute of Technology allocates two EEG seats for Manitoba students.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

North Korea has reported 65 deaths amid COVID-19 outbreak. Experts are skeptical

WATCH: North Korea confirms COVID-19 outbreak, imposes nationwide lockdown

North Korea said Friday that nearly 10% of its 26 million people have fallen ill and 65 people have died amid its first COVID-19 outbreak, as outside experts question the validity of its reported fatalities and worry about a possible humanitarian crisis.

After admitting the omicron outbreak last week following more than two years of claiming to be coronavirus-free, North Korea has said an unidentified fever has been explosively spreading across the country since late April. Its anti-epidemic center has since released fever tallies each morning via state media, but they don’t include any COVID-19 figures.

Some observers say North Korea was likely forced to acknowledge the COVID-19 outbreak because it couldn’t hide the highly contagious viral spread among its people and suffer possible public discontent with leader Kim Jong Un. They believe North Korean authorities are underreporting mortalities to try to show that its pandemic response is effective, while the country lacks test kits to confirm a large number of virus cases.

“It’s true that there has been a hole in its 2 1/2 years of pandemic fighting,” said Kwak Gil Sup, head of One Korea Center, a website specializing in North Korea affairs. “But there is a saying that North Korea is ‘a theater state,’ and I think they are massaging COVID-19 statistics.”

Read more:

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Kwak said North Korea is likely partly using the outbreak as a propaganda tool to show that it is overcoming the pandemic with Kim’s leadership. But the country has “a Plan B” and “a Plan C” to seek Chinese and other foreign aid if the pandemic gets out of hand, he said.

On Friday, the North’s state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters said 263,370 more people had feverish symptoms and two more people died, bringing the total fever cases to 2.24 million and fatalities to 65. They said 754,810 people remain quarantined, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The outbreak likely originated from an April 25 military parade in Pyongyang that Kim organized to show off his new missiles and loyal troops. The parade and other related festivals, which marked North Korea’s army foundation anniversary, drew tens of thousands of people and soldiers from Pyongyang and other parts of the country, who returned home after the events.

South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Thursday that “a considerable number” of the fever cases reported by North Korea include people sick with waterborne diseases like measles, typhoid and pertussis.

The National Intelligence Service assessed that those diseases had already been spreading across North Korea even before COVID-19 broke out, according to Ha Tae-keung, a lawmaker who attended a private NIS briefing. Ha cited the NIS as saying the waterborne diseases were spreading due to shortages of medicines and medical supplies in the wake of the North’s previous long-running anti-pandemic steps.

“(The NIS) said it doesn’t know exactly what percentage of the fever cases are coronavirus patients. It said North Korea lacks coronavirus diagnostic kits but appears to have sufficient thermometers,” Ha said.

The NIS has a spotty record in confirming developments in North Korea. Some civilian medical experts earlier said they believed most of the fever cases announced by North Korea were COVID-19.

Earlier this week, a health official said on state TV the government had detected 168 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, when the country’s fever cases already surpassed a million. There have been no updates on the North’s virus cases since then.

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North Korea’s public medical system remains in shambles, and experts say the country could suffer mass pandemic fatalities if it doesn’t receive outside aid shipments. They say the country’s elevated restrictions on movement and quarantine rules may also worsen its food insecurity.

The NIS said North Korea intends to overcome the pandemic with assistance from its main ally, China, according to Ha and Kim Byung-kee, another lawmaker who was briefed by the spy service. During an anti-virus meeting Saturday, Kim said his country faces “a great upheaval” and that officials must study how China and other nations have handled the pandemic.

Some media reports said North Korea already sent planes to China to bring back emergency supplies earlier this week, but the South Korean government said it couldn’t confirm the reports. South Korea said it and the United States have offered to ship vaccines, medicines and other medical supplies to North Korea, but the North hasn’t responded.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

B.C. government to release business case for museum rebuild

There was some lively debate in question period at the legislature on Tuesday regarding the NDP's billion-dollar plan to renovate the Royal BC Museum. Green MLA Adam Olsen joins Global News Morning to share his thoughts on the project.

The British Columbia government will lay out its case for building a new Royal B.C. Museum after the Opposition took aim at the initiative as a “billion-dollar vanity project.”

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said Thursday there has been interest in the business case since the government announced the $789-million rebuilding plan last Friday.

The government will release its business case next Wednesday, she said in a statement.

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Last week, Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon said he would halt building plans if elected premier, while he criticized the timing of Premier John Horgan’s announcement of the project, which comes as the province faces a doctors’ shortage and soaring cost of living.

Falcon called on the NDP to use the money earmarked for the project to help people pay their bills instead.

Horgan defended his government’s decision to go ahead with the museum project Thursday.

“I very much regret that the jewel of our collective history, the Royal B.C. Museum, has become a political football,” he told a news conference.

“It certainly was not our intention to appear to be tone deaf to the challenges British Columbians are facing. I know full well the impact of high gas prices on the stresses of meeting family budgets, the challenges of inflation right across the board.”

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The museum has been in a difficult position for about two decades, he added.

Museum executives and board members have been highlighting its problems not just to his government but previous ones too, he said. At risk are the “priceless artifacts” that detail Indigenous and immigrant histories, and flora and fauna that no longer exist because of climate change.

“The museum holds our collective history.”

The building is seismically unsound and also has asbestos, all of which is concerning since it is visited by hundreds of schoolchildren every year, Horgan said.

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“I don’t believe that the public has had a chance to fully understand how we got here,” he said. “I think the shock of an announcement that was not characterized appropriately has led to some of the hard feelings.”

The museum renovation project has been discussed for five years with public engagement delayed by the pandemic, he said.

“I don’t blame the official Opposition for being the official Opposition,” Horgan said.

“But I am curious as to why they would have ignored this question for 12 years, and then all of a sudden decide that it is a negative rather than a positive to the people of B.C.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

B.C. 15-year-old makes history as first female selected in WHL Bantam Draft

A North Vancouver 15-year-old athlete has made history as the first-ever female hockey player to be chosen in the WHL Bantam Draft.

Chloe Primerano, who plays defence for the Burnaby Winter Club U15 Prep team, was drafted 268th overall in the 13th round by the Vancouver Giants.

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“I was driving home from school with my mom in the car, and I just, I was just praying for it,” Primerano said.

“And it just happened, and I was in shock, honestly.”

Primerano, who describes herself as a two-way defender capable of joining an offensive rush or playing shutdown hockey, racked up two goals and 17 assists in 30 games this year, according to Elite Prospects.

In a statement, WHL manager of hockey operations lauded Primerano’s skating ability, puck-handling skills and ability to stay cool under pressure.

“She is able to deliver the puck crisply both in breakout and transition situations. Her processing speed allows her to constantly make good decisions in all three zones of the rink,” he said.

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“Chloe’s play this season in the top U15 league in Canada made her fully deserving of this selection today,” added Vancouver Giants general manager Barclay Parneta in a statement posted to Twitter.

Primerano cited the support of her family in getting her to the historic moment, and said she had no plans to relax over the summer heading into training camp next fall.

“I’ve just got to keep working hard. Just getting drafted, like — you’ve got to keep working hard, you can’t stop working hard and just pushing through every day,” she said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. restaurants call for looser foreign worker rules amid labour shortage

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association is calling on the provincial and federal governments to streamline the process for bringing in foreign workers, to deal with a shortage of as many as 35,000 workers. Emad Agahi reports.

Heading into their first patio weekend of the year, Vancouver restaurant chain Romer’s Burger Bar is expecting a big boost in sales. But they’re going to have to do it shorthanded.

“I’ve never seen a time and place in my 40 years in the industry like it is today,” co-owner Kelly Gordon said.

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“We’re short about 30 per cent of what we could possibly have at this period of time, and it’s simply a supply and demand issue.”

Romer’s, like restaurants across the province, is struggling with a critical labour shortage.

The B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association estimates the industry is currently short between 35,000 and 40,000 workers, about double the gap it was facing before the pandemic.

“There was so much uncertainty during COVID that they moved on and got careers in other industries over time and we just haven’t seen the replacement people come back through,” Gordon said.

Along with a shortage of domestic workers, Gordon said Romer’s has also faced challenges with backlogs to approve applicants through the temporary foreign worker program.

Read more:

As pandemic restrictions wane, labour shortage persists for B.C. businesses

He said the chain is down about six people per location who had been interviewed and offered jobs, but whose applications still hadn’t come through.

To speed the process up, the BCRFA wants the the provincial government to seek a temporary exemption for B.C. hospitality employers from the need to file federal Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs).

Currently employers need to obtain an LMIA showing there is a need for a temporary foreign worker, and that no Canadians or permanent residents are available for the job.

B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said the province is aware of concerns, and in talks with the federal government about how to improve the program.

“We’re pushing the feds not only to reduce the time, but we’re also pushing them to give us more levers and more say in what type of workers we need, because we know what we need and right now we can’t fill positions in every sector,” Kahlon said.

Read more:

Labour shortage looms as B.C. aims for pandemic-rebound summer

The federal government already made changes to the program in April in a bid to address labour shortage concerns.

The length of time an LMIA is valid has been doubled from nine to 18 months, and high-need sectors like the foodservice industry are being permitted to hire up to 30 per cent of their workforce from overseas.

None of those adjustments will help Romer’s this weekend, where management has had to implement several changes to ensure business flows smoothly.

“Smaller menus, easier to execute. In some cases we actually have to take tables out of the restaurant … we just don’t have enough people to service them,” Gordon said.

“We just ask for a little patience if you’re out for this weekend and give your sever a little extra time possibly. It’s going to be a busy weekend.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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