Delta sees dearth of employees in booming retail sector

Three months after opening day, the first mega-mall built on B.C. First Nations land is still struggling to hire employees.

This is likely to get even more difficult as another big-box strip mall is opening next door.


Mega mall still seeking over 100 employees


While job fairs are held regularly and Tsawwassen Mills offers an employee shuttle to Scott Road station, many spaces remain unfilled.

Currently there are 136 job advertisements on the Tsawwassen Mills website. 75 are entry-level sales associate roles, 16 are supervisor or keyholder positions and 45 are assistant manager or manager positions. All are within the retail or service industry.

Across the street, an open air big box mall called Tsawwassen Commons is opening in phases. Beginning with Rona and Walmart on January 26, this new mall will require a large number of staff.

Chris Hartman, CEO of the Tsawwassen First Nation Economic Development Corporation, says that this is not unique to the Tsawwassen malls. Retail businesses across south Delta are facing a major shortage of employees.

Sylvia Bishop, councillor for the municipality of Delta, said the opening of the Tsawwassen Mills mega-mall made it very difficult for the rest of the community’s service industry to find staff.


Transit and low wages not a huge draw for job seekers


Staffing a behemoth 1.2 million square foot mega-mall may seem like a difficult task in any city. Add to this the lack of transit and affordable housing in the area and the competition from other employers including Tsawwassen Commons, and the labour shortage looks set to worsen.

“We have very poor TransLink service and people do not want to travel long and they don’t want to have to pay a lot of money in order to get to the place where they’re making a minimum wage,” Bishop said.


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