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B.C. to set up a temporary foreign worker registry
Sep 05, 2018

The B.C. government plans to create a controversial registry of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) this fall and raise the number of site inspections to ensure that workers are being treated fairly, says B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains.

Bains told Business in Vancouver in August the new system will be an important protection for workers because the documentation will enable more government audits of workplaces where the workers are employed.

Gooseneck Hospitality Restaurants principal James Iranzad says he tries to recruit Canadians first for jobs but has found it difficult to find suitable candidates for some positions??(Photo by Rob Kruyt)

Many TFWs in B.C. “have no way of knowing where to go, how to complain if their rights are violated, whether [they are] underpaid according to the law, or, for health and safety, if they are in an abuse or harassment relationship,” Bains said, adding that he may include students in the registry.

“Employment Standards can audit these employers and make sure that those workers’ rights are protected and that they are dealt with according to the law.”

Critics, such as Canadian Federation of Independent Business vice-president for B.C. and Alberta Richard Truscott, pan the data-collection exercise as potential red tape. Truscott said it will entail “unnecessary rules and badgering of business owners to collect information.”

Bains’ ministry received in the 2018 budget a $3 million increase in funding, over three years, to create the registry and make other tweaks to the employment standards system.

The B.C. government already knows how many TFWs are in the province, their occupations and their employers, but not personal data such as names or where and when permits expire, according to Bains’ ministry.

It notes that Manitoba and Saskatchewan collect this information.

News of the registry follows a trip to El Salvador last month by BC Restaurant and Food Services Association CEO Ian Tostenson, Tap & Barrel Restaurants owner Daniel Frankel and others to try to lay the groundwork for a bilateral TFW program.

Tostenson told BIV that the trip was productive but he declined to go into detail, saying he first wants to brief federal and provincial government representatives.

Part of the urgency to raise the number of temporary foreign workers in B.C. is that the province has the country’s lowest unemployment rate, at 4.8%, according to Statistics Canada.

“This is not to replace Canadians,” Tostenson said. “It’s a win-win solution here, not a win-lose solution.”

He estimated that there are 14,000 vacant jobs in his industry in B.C. and that the number is growing because for every three people who leave the restaurant industry to retire, only two people join the sector.

That gap, he said, needs to be filled by either interprovincial migration or immigration.

Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
Aug 27, 2018

On Monday October 1, 2018, some of the best known names in the B.C. hospitality industry will be inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. They will join such luminaries as Hy & David Aisenstat, Vikram Vij, Warren Erhart, Umberto Menghi and John Bishop. Members of British Columbia’s culinary scene will gather for an evening of celebration at the Italian Cultural Centre, for the 13th annual BC Restaurant Hall of Fame induction gala. The ceremonies, emceed by Vancouver radio and TV anchor Jody Vance, will salute individuals in seven categories: Active, Pioneer, Local Champion, Industry Award, Leading Employer, Friend of Industry and Supplier.

Inductees in the seven categories are:

  1. Active Restaurateur Category
    Celebrates exceptional restaurateurs currently active in the BC restaurant industry.

Robert Belcham – Campagnolo/Campagnolo Roma/Monarch Burger/Popina Canteen
Chris Mills & Geoff Boyd – Joey Restaurant Group

  1. Pioneer Category
    Recognizes leaders of the BC restaurant industry for their contribution over the length of their career, and who are retired from daily operations.

Nick & Pauline Felicella – Nick’s Spaghetti House

  1. Local Champion
    Individual who is a leader in supporting local BC food and beverage through all facets of their career. They make their restaurant a special experience because of the ingredients they select, the farmers they work with and the pride of place that is celebrated through their creations.

Andrea Carlson – Burdock and Co. & Harvest Community Foods

  1. The Industry Award
    Individual who is or has been a chef, server, manager, bartender and who has demonstrated exceptional professionalism working in the restaurant industry. These individuals are recognized for making their restaurant a special experience for customers.

Stephanie Jaeger – The Pear Tree Restaurant

  1. Leading Employer
    An active restaurateur who is a leader in increasing the visibility of, and the profile of, careers in restaurants. Recognized for creating a workplace that is welcoming, treats employees with the utmost respect and fosters and environment for recognition and growth.

Eva Gates – Sequoia Company of Restaurants

  1. Friend of the Industry Category
    An individual who has provided exceptional support to the restaurant industry – either as a supplier, educator, reporter, or politician

Sandra Oldfield – Elysian Projects

  1. Supplier Award
    Celebrates an individual who, through their work as a supplier partner, has made a contribution to hospitality in BC.

Allison Spurrell – Les Amis du Fromage

“Now in its 13th year, the inductees into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame continue to be impressive. The 8 individuals being inducted in 2018 once again represent the very best of those who have made a significant difference to the BC Restaurant industry” says Bob Parrotta, Chair of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.

The Hall of Fame inductees will be honoured at a black tie gala on October 1, 2018.  This extraordinary event will feature a reception presented by the Keg Steakhouse & Bar and Gordon Food Service, celebrity presenters and guests and a veritable feast prepared by the Italian Cultural Centre’s Executive Chef Jackson Noah which of course will be paired with the best of BC wines.

BC Restaurant and Food Services Association CEO Ian Tostenson notes “I would like to congratulate the 2018 Inductees into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame.  We honor and celebrate your accomplishments, dedication and passion for our Industry.  Your contributions have helped put British Columbia’s culinary scene on the world stage!”

To cap off the festivities the BCRFA will also be donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the BC Hospitality Foundation.  “The BC Hospitality Foundation is honoured to be celebrating the best of BC with the BC Restaurant & Food Services Association,” said Executive Director Dana Harris. “Our mission is to support our own and to encourage others to excel in hospitality. It couldn’t be a better fit for giving back to the community.”

Tickets for the October 1 gala ($199) are now available for purchase online or by phone: 604-669-2239

Are you capitalizing on menu trends?
Aug 21, 2018

2018 is bringing back some traditional foods that, made in house, can be a value add for customers and increase your menu profitability. Here are three trends that you can explore that take advantage of the late summer and fall harvests.

Think Local

There is a growing trend for dishes created with ingredients sourced as close as possible to your restaurant. In season fruits and vegetables that travel a short distance to your business maintain flavour and freshness that is unparalleled and give your team a story to tell about where they are from and who the farmer, producer or processor is.

Customers are looking to dine at restaurants where the operator’s values match their own. Talking about local food is a great way to share a value system – and the best way for you to capitalize on this trend is through focused menu labeling.

You may already be serving 100% BC eggs and BC chicken, but if you aren’t telling your customers – they can’t get excited about your commitment to local sourcing. Changing your menu from “Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Green Bean in a Pesto puree” to “Roasted Fraser Valley Chicken with local vegetables in a house-made Pesto puree” isn’t a big change – it’s few more words – but for one or two locally focused menus items – it can make all the difference. Try it and let us know how it goes!

Gut-friendly Foods

Canning was once a huge part of the annual household food plan as a way to have the harvest last through the long winter months. With the new enthusiasm for local food and fresh ingredients, it’s coming back with gusto. With canning on the rise, fermenting, picking and preserving are reaching into restaurants and into home kitchens. Adding a house made pickle to a charcuterie plate or a pickled radish to a salad adds a touch of on-trend elegance. New tech is partnering with tradition to create pickling processes that are as short as a few hours. The time commitment is small for your kitchen team – but the flavour rewards are big.

Want to learn about preserving foods and the health benefits? The BBC has a beginner’s guide to fermented foods that is fun place to start.

If you just want to add something gut friendly that you don’t make in house, probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kefir follow this trend – as do prebiotics such as onions, garlic and other alliums. Adding these to existing menu items can be simple but offer an opportunity to engage with your customers.

Food for your brain

If you haven’t heard of Nootropics, you won’t be the only one. The new health-conscious food trend is consuming “nootropics” – brain food to you and me – are a group of foods that increase mental performance in healthy people. You may not include this on your menu yet – but start reading about it so that you know what your customers are thinking about. Look out for turmeric, salmon, eggs, dandelion greens and jícama (Mexican yam) to appear on menus. Caffeine will make a comeback with this trend with natural sources of coffee, cocoa and tea and guarana.