Staffing concerns could be a grinch for struggling businesses in upcoming holiday season

Some struggling businesses are hopeful the upcoming holiday season may help them out, but there are concerns staffing shortages could be a grinch in some sectors.

Keri D’Avignon’s family was out at the mall Friday, window-shopping for Christmas.

“We’re scouting to take pictures of toys for our Christmas list," said 10-year-old Luke Nault.

Last year, holiday shopping in person was impacted by the second wave lockdown. This year D’Avignon said they’re looking forward to coming back again, closer to the holidays, to buy their presents in store.

"We want to get out, we enjoy coming to the mall and being around and seeing people and sharing the holiday spirit," she said.

Retailers are hoping there will be more foot traffic this year, but with pandemic labour shortages, it could be difficult to staff up fully or bring in temporary extra holiday workers.

“I’m concerned that other factors like shortage of labour and supply chain challenges are really going to dampen what could be an otherwise prosperous holiday season," said Jonathan Alward, director of provincial affairs for the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The restaurant and food services industry have been hit by staff shortages. Roberto Galli, the owner of , Dolce Bake Shop, said he knows the pain of trying to hire during the pandemic.

“It’s been hard to deal with," he said. "People apply and then don’t show up to the interview."

Galli said he feels he has enough time before the holidays kick in to fill his roster.

“We still have a month and we can get ready, hopefully we can hire more staff," he said.

A lump of coal from Ottawa could help. The Canadian Response Benefit for those out of work is set to end which could result in more job seekers.

“I think it could certainly be one of the challenges you know really amplifying the labour shortage issues right across the country," Alward said.

The Canadian Response Benefit is set to expire on Saturday.