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Banff Lake Louise Hospitality Association/Stoney Connector Group: Labour Response Project

After months of collaboration and cooperation, the first group of Stoney Tribal participants is hard at work at the Rimrock Resort Hotel.

This effort has gathered the strength, good will and problem sharing of all stakeholders and participants to afford people from the Stoney Tribe, who are ready, willing and able to work secure employment in Banff and Lake Louise. Recognizing the acute labour shortages for both long term and seasonal employees in Banff and Lake Louise the partnership between the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association and the Stoney Nation is part of a long term strategy for both partners; for the association it is a piece in the overall labour puzzle and for the Stoney Nakoda nation it is one element in their employment and economic long-term strategies.

The first ‘Boot Camp’ was held in Morley in late October with participants from the three communities of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley. Participants had the opportunity to examine the challenge of employment away from the community and they worked together at developing a support team that will help them stay on track and transition into the work environments they choose to work in. They were able to hear about the opportunities available in the tourism industry as a whole as well as from specific Banff and Lake Louise hoteliers. While participants were going through boot-camp in Morley, hotel partners attended a session in Banff, led by Elder Sykes Powderface, outlining some of the historical and present challenges faced by both indigenous employees and their employers. Participants of the boot camp had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with each of the ‘early adopter’ properties through a day long trip to Banff; followed by an afternoon of interviews by the partner properties; The Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity, Banff Lodging Co., Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and the Rimrock Resort Hotel. While not all participants received job offers nor were there immediate employment opportunities available at all participating hotel properties, the stage has been set for a long-term partnership. “The early on results have been very positive” states Trevor Long, General Manager of the Rimrock Resort Hotel and President of the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association. “We knew that there would be some glitches and some hurdles to overcome and we are quickly solving the small problems that have come up. We recognize that this is an investment in the future. With the number of changes that have been made to various labour programs and recognizing the number of Indigenous employees that are ready to work and have a true connection of place with respect to Banff and Lake Louise, this is an investment that we believe will have very positive results” states Long. For the participants, the program has been very rewarding thus far. One of the participants, Ty, perhaps summed it up best; “This program was really helpful. It helped me get a job and I got to pick where I wanted to work. I love my job! Don’t stop!”

The next boot camp with Banff & Lake Louise partners is scheduled for January with the intent of having at minimum 30 participants employed by the end of March and doubling that number for the busy summer season. Any Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association members that are interested in participating in the program should reach out to Brenda Stanton, Manager of Research, Communications and Member Engagement.

This partnership provides opportunity in finding solutions to the labor needs of the hospitality industry in Banff & Lake Louise while taking advantage of the labor pool that exists in the Stoney community. It also highlights the rich history between the communities of the Stoney Nation in relation to Banff & Lake Louise.

Contact: Brenda Stanto
Tel.: 403-762-5909
Direct: 403-679-3340

Hubert Smith
Tel: 403-881-3871
Date: 01/12/2016

Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association