Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville is laying claim to the title of the highest paying resort in the region for frontline housekeeping roles, as it battles what it calls a " staffing crisis."
"In one of the most challenging chapters in its long history, Deerhurst Resort is marking its 125th year with a staffing level of just 75 per cent of its usual workforce," says a news release, noting it's an issue that the hospitality industry was facing prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and merely made worse in its wake.
"Deerhurst Resort is making an industry-leading move to create an entirely new position of Room Attendant Specialist with a wage of $20/hour," adds the release.
The Room Attendant Specialist position is designed to fill the gap between front-line and supervisory housekeeping roles, in that this position will essentially be self-supervised.
“It’s a new approach to making the very important role of housekeeping more autonomous and rewarding - and not only financially,” says Rina Hart, Rooms Division Director. "And with a six-week training period, no previous experience is required.”
General Manager, Jesse Hamilton admits it's been a tough summer season.
“I’ve been in this business for 29 years and thought I had seen it all. I was wrong. These last three months have taught me more than those 29 years combined."
Hamilton says major topics in today's political discussions, such as lack of affordable housing and much-needed changes to immigration policies to allow in more eligible workers, have been challenging staffing levels at the resort in recent years.
"With the last 18 months of added roadblocks due to the pandemic, along with government aid dis-incentivizing a return to work, Covid-19 has been the last straw, as we see a flood of ‘we are hiring’ signs and ads throughout the province."
“We strongly believe that the way back to a full workforce is through changes to immigration policies, allowing qualified international workers an easier path to permanent residency,” says Brody Purser, Director of Human Resources. “It is clear that in Canada our domestic workforce in hospitality has decreased to a point where businesses have reduced offerings just to survive if they’re not forced to close altogether.
“For those international workers knocking on our door to get in and who want to work in Canada, we need to let them in and open the door!” Purser concludes.
He says at peak season Deerhurst employs about 500 but was forced to run 125 employees short due to the lack of workers.
Purser says there are 25 roles to fill with the new Room Attendant Specialist position at Deerhurst, which will be recruited both internally and externally, and the current staff shortage situation has also created several other job opportunities across the board, from Food & Beverage and Guest Services to Grounds and Maintenance.
"All Deerhurst positions include competitive employee benefits, staff housing and transportation opportunities, flexible hours, group benefits, job training and resort perks such as dining discounts, free access to golf and other recreational facilities and more," adds Purser.
Founded in 1896, Deerhurst Resort is one of Ontario’s oldest continually operating resorts and is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Details about job opportunities at Deerhurst Resort can be found here.