“Even though the jobs are here, we need the workers,” says Jane, Director of Human Resources at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. “We’ve had to get creative as far as retaining staff out here because we’re so remote. Especially in hospitality, we’re always looking for employees.”
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, owned by the Lower Kootenay Band, is no stranger to being busy. It caters to locals and tourists alike with 54 rooms with beautiful natural hot springs, a spa, gift shop and restaurant.
The timing couldn’t have been better when Erin from the West Kootenay Rural and Northern Immigrant Pilot (RNIP) program reached out to Ainsworth to tell them about the exciting program. Their employee, Mark, was working at Ainsworth on a temporary work permit and was trying to get his permanent residency (PR), using a different avenue.
“I know he was feeling pretty discouraged,” says Jane. “Especially because he was already so established in the community. His kids are going to school here. He and his wife bought a house here. Finding out he might not be able to stay just sounded odd. He’s very well-natured and funny. We’re really lucky to have him, and he’s a great fit.”
Mark achieved his PR through RNIP in October of 2021 and continues to do fantastic work for Ainsworth!
The hotel is also hoping to get another of its employees through the program. Their front desk agent, Kim, is from the Philippines. “Kim is so meticulous. She’s super organized. She’s worked in a big resort and for airlines as well. So she’s great with the customers because she really knows her stuff. That’s hard to find in this area because many people just come for the ski lifestyle and don’t really want to work. It’s been nice having those bodies in place that want to make a commitment to the business.”
Jane admits that Ainsworth tried using other worker programs to obtain staff but was met with disappointment and dead ends. “The cost of them was a big part of what deterred us. Some are pretty hard to navigate with all the different code numbers, class numbers, and points systems. You had to be very specialized to qualify for them.”
Ainsworth Hot Springs’ luck took a turn with the RNIP program. “I like how straightforward it is. It’s beneficial that there was somebody we could actually talk to. It’s also affordable and quite achievable.”
Jane loves that the program brings diversity to her community. “I think it’s really great to have different ethnicities and cultures come together and learn more about other religions and celebrations. It makes for such a varied life, which I think is really important.”
Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort is one of the many employers working to help RNIP applicants move to the West Kootenay.
📷: From Top to Bottom: Mark Price (Reception Manager), Jane Linley (HR Director), Jake Murfitt (Assistant General Manager)