Nationwide Staffing Shortage Impacting Supply Chain

As the new COVID strain Omicron surges, Canadian industries are facing a nationwide staffing shortage. In the third quarter of 2021, even before Omicron, Canada had a million job vacancies, a historical high. As workers become infected and go into isolation, industries across the country are impacted, particularly the supply chain, which feels like adding gasoline to a fire.

To absorb these challenges and keep their heads above water, retailers will have to take a few precautions to prepare for worst case scenarios.

Supply Chain Challenges

In 2021, over 80 per cent of Canadian manufactures sought to add North American suppliers to their chains, an increase from around 50 per cent in 2020. Clearly, the pandemic has pushed businesses to rethink their supply chains and become more resilient.

From a long-term perspective, this should be seen as positive outcome from these difficult times. However, in the short term, many challenges remain. Between labour shortages, cost of materials, and overwhelmed ports, products that used to take a few weeks to arrive now take up to a year.

However, those who can secure local labour and products or are able stockpile material will thrive. Retailers should also maximize their agility to adapt to shifting arrival times for goods, so items can get to shelves quickly.


As Omicron pushes COVID rates to new highs, the news isn’t all doom and gloom for businesses. The Ontario and Quebec governments are lowering the isolation time for infected workers who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic from ten days to five, a move applauded by the Retail Council of Canada.

Nonetheless, businesses should still prepare themselves for any level of lockdown measures or closures. A seamless, fully optimized omnichannel will allow customers to buy and pick up items with minimal contact. Reducing touch points with contactless payment methods is also a must.

Finally, a well-designed store layout with clear displays will enable customers to get in and out efficiently.

Our team can help you with multiple aspects of your supply chain and product placement such as:

  • Inventory Management
  • Merchandising maintenance
  • Stock Replacement
  • Product Change-Outs
  • Planogram Implementation
  • And more

With our experience in merchandising, we can not only provide you with strategic but also execution support to help deal with the nationwide staffing shortage. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit to learn more.

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