It’s been a rough summer up in Canada. Wildfires have ravaged communities in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec. For the ski industry, one of the biggest travesties occurred over at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
On July 3rd, an arsonist lit fire to the “Chucktown” residence, leaving 165 employees without a home. While Dave Schbeck, who is the general manager of Lake Louise Ski Resort, said that they are building a new employee housing facility that will house 88 workers, they are currently having trouble finding a place to stay around the ski resort.
Global News reports that due to the inability to provide housing, Lake Louise has laid off 10% of its food & beverage staff. Here’s what Dave Schbeck said about the decision:
“We’ve scaled back the hours of our restaurants, and it’s a direct result of the number of beds before us. It was a discussion with the department heads and managers. … The bottom line is none of us want to be in this position. We’ve taken positive steps by reaching out to businesses who are looking to hire and told (former staff) we’d give them copies of their passports and work visas.”
Multiple former workers at Lake Louise dispute this viewpoint from the ski resort. Jade Weiting worked for Lake Louise’s food & beverage department for over a year. Jade described her experience since being laid off to Global News:
“I’m kind of just floating around being my own as a human being with no documents. I haven’t looked at getting a job just yet. My visa runs out very, very soon. But the paperwork they’ve given us is quite crazy. … You physically cannot use that as ID. If I hand over a photocopy of my visa saying I can work in Canada, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, what is this? This is not a legitimate government document.’”
Evan Svendsen, who worked as a dishwasher at Lake Louise, lost everything in the fire. He hasn’t been stoked about Lake Louise’s actions since then:
“After they fired a bunch of us yesterday, some people don’t have passports or IDs or visas. They can’t even get on a plane or go home. They’re kind of stranded now in a foreign country.
The reason that we got was that there just wasn’t enough housing for us. … I’ve been staying at Sunshine Village, and initially, I was told I could be there until the end of September. But then they changed their mind and said I have to be out by Saturday.
Everyone feels like family here, so people have been quitting out of protest. After I got fired, my co-worker quit yesterday. So now they’re down to one dishwasher left.”