An intensifying labour shortage is rippling through the Canadian economy, forcing businesses to curtail operations and reduce hours.
The situation is a result of a chronic worker shortage worsened by the crush of new COVID-19 cases forcing many into quarantine. School closures have also left some workers scrambling for child care and staying home.
The result is rising absenteeism, prompting airlines to cancel flights, drugstores to close early and restaurants to move to takeout only.
Meanwhile, some provinces have tried to ease staffing woes by shortening isolation periods, allowing people to return to work sooner.
Yet the sheer number of new daily cases caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to leave many confined to their homes and businesses struggling to remain open. Even those that remain open are facing a nightmare as unplanned absences make operating as normal difficult.
“Omicron has resulted in more unplanned absences, not to mention complications from sudden government restrictions,” Retail Council of Canada spokesperson Michelle Wasylyshen said.
Some businesses have responded to the disruption by drafting new plans for how to operate during the latest wave, while some have altered hours or closed altogether.