‘Discriminatory’ housing policies leading to worker shortage: Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

The Saanich Peninsula is pictured in this file photo.

A recent survey is sounding the alarm about a worker shortage all along the Saanich Peninsula.

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce says that the region is forecasted to lose 27 per cent of its workforce by 2036.

Data shows that the workforce on the peninsula shrank by seven per cent between 2016 and 2021 and is estimated to shrink another 20 per cent over the next 10 years.

Chamber executive director Al Smith says that over 300 business were surveyed and they all had a common struggle – finding employees.

“What we found is that all of these staffing challenges are coming from the fact that the workforce, the effective workforce here, is shrinking,” said Smith.

On Friday, he told CHEK News that he thinks municipal councils in the area have done a great job of making sure this is a great place to live, but they’ve done a horrible job at keeping the cost of housing down.

The Right 2 Home campaign launched by the chamber is asking local municipalities to use all of their tools to drop the price of housing for the median family to 30 per cent of their yearly income.

In a press release by the chamber, it says it wants to call on all municipalities to reverse more than 20 years of what they say is “discriminatory municipal housing policies” that avoided density, drove up housing costs, and denied realistic housing options for median and entry level workers.

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor says more housing is being built in his community. Windsor added in a statement that BC Business ranked Central Saanich as 2024’s most business-resilient municipality and he doesn’t think the chamber survey is an accurate reflection of what’s happening in his community.

READ MORE: Island communities take home top spots on B.C.’s ‘most economically resilient’ list

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