Opinion: Celebrate Small Business Week with a little kindness

It might just be me, but nothing seems predictable right now.

Normally at this time of year we rush for that intense fall rain (although I have to admit the rain last weekend was biblical!) And then as the sky clears we rise. eyes up to the mountains to see a new blanket of snow covering the peaks of The Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and we feel like all is well with the world.

We have our ski passes, our new equipment thanks to the always amazing Turkey sale, we got the few things we missed in the sidewalk sale last weekend, the snow tires are in place, the American visitors and others are on their way to help us liven up our docking station for the winter, we feel great for the season ahead.


Not this year.

If anything, I would describe the underlying feeling in the complex as anxiety – there’s a kind of mild panic that informs us and if I’m being honest it’s like I can’t throw the ball. “leak” response that I seem to feed.

Last week we learned that many of our frontline workers face increasingly disrespectful behavior from those they are trying to help or serve.

And we’ve been reading in the headlines for months now that the toxic behavior of many towards those who work in service industries such as waiters and hotel staff is only escalating as they now also have to check the status of the hotel. vaccination passport card and so on.

So I have a suggestion as we celebrate Small Business Week: let’s all make an effort to cherish those who work in our community at this time. I’m talking about all the waiters in restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, all of them. I’m talking about all the cleaners, the hotel staff, everyone who works in the retail industry, and all of our amazing grocery stores.

(And yes, while these are not small businesses, also support our local city workers, police, ambulances, and all of our healthcare workers.)

Maybe our smiles, and the fact that we’ve chosen to buy locally, and our words of encouragement can’t make up for those who run wild in frustration, but it could change someone’s day, and so on. may be sufficient for now.

The last 19 months have been hell, really. Some companies did not succeed, many had to reinvent themselves; all have been deeply affected by the pandemic.

And it’s not finished yet.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), a large number of small businesses are still struggling due to the fourth wave of the pandemic. It was found that only 76% of small businesses are fully open, only 45% have full staff, and only 49% generate normal income.

Added to this is the fact that many small businesses have accepted the offer of government loans to help them overcome the shocking impact of COVID-19. CFIB estimates that small businesses in Canada now collectively owe $ 139 billion.

It’s true that many have been able to keep the wolf out of doors thanks to government grants, but at least two of them, the Canada Emergency Rent Grant and the Canada Emergency Wage Grant, are expected to end on October 23, ironically the last day. of Small Business Week this year.

So, more uncertainty awaits us. And underneath it all, the reality is that Whistler just doesn’t have enough staff for a busy winter.

Companies are getting creative when it comes to wages, shifts, etc., but many employees also wonder about the levels of pay they receive given the stress of the jobs they do.

We are not alone in this case. Recently, Colorado ski towns came together to bring workers to fill more than 8,000 vacancies – 113 companies held a virtual job fair. We do not yet know how successful it was …

As we get closer and closer to the winter resort season, one thing is quite clear, the light at the end of the tunnel is still far away.

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