PRESS RELEASE: Statement by Zailda Chan, President of UNITE HERE Local 40 regarding B.C. Province’s $105 Million Aid to Support Tourism Sector

For Immediate Release
Dec. 22, 2020

Vancouver, British Columbia — Will the Province live up to its promise of conditioning bailout relief on preserving tourism sector jobs? The province announced today that relief funds targeting tourism will be increased to $105 million but there are no details on whether this aid will be contingent on worker retention as Labour Minister Harry Bains suggested in September.

We urge the Province to make good on its promise to condition a tourism sector bailout on guarantees that workers will have first right of refusal to return to their jobs.

The hotel industry has lobbied extensively for financial assistance, tax breaks and other forms of support and have cited the need to prevent massive job loss as a rationale.   Yet, hotel employers are refusing to extend recall protections to thousands of hotel workers and have taken a pass on the federal wage subsidy program, CEWS, to keep their full workforce intact.

This week, Coast Hotels issued termination notices to dozens of its long-term workers – mostly older women who have been hard hit by the pandemic. This is just one more example of an employer taking advantage of the pandemic.

The lack of recall protections for workers has led to mass firings and extortionary tactics on the part of employers who want to strip away years of gains made by workers.   Hotel workers led a hunger strike on the steps of the Legislature in Victoria this summer to demonstrate why the government must take steps to keep workers attached to their jobs.  Otherwise, workers will be forced to reapply for their jobs or be replaced entirely when the industry recovers.

We will continue to engage the Premier, Ministers and MLAs because it is critical that our decision makers listen to the voices of hospitality workers who have served B.C.’s hospitality industry for decades.  The fight for their jobs continues.

Contact: Stephanie Fung, 604-928-7356,


UNITE HERE Local 40 is a labour union representing workers in the hotel, food service and airport industries throughout British Columbia. Local 40 is affiliated with UNITE HERE Canada.  Learn more at