Employment in the County is a complex and ever-changing situation.
The rapid rise of tourism has created a focus on hospitality type jobs.
The growth of wineries / breweries / distilleries / farm markets has created many agribusiness jobs.
Much of this growth is seasonal in nature.
The result has been a serious shortage of labour in the summer season, and not enough work in the winter. In the summer, we are net importers of labour from surrounding communities and even other countries for agricultural labour. The shortage of affordable housing is part of the problem and is a priority for the next Council to work on.
As far as employment opportunities for local residents, for years we have seen young people leave the County for careers in occupations that just aren’t available here. To some extent, the recent increase in employment in the arts, IT and media, and other small businesses has helped but we still need a longer term strategy and programs to make it possible and desirable for our children and potential newcomers to find fulfilling careers in the County.
We should leverage our culture and heritage assets with the Small Business Centre, Community Future Development organization and various BIAs to create innovative employment opportunities.