Some business owners across Canada are finding it increasingly difficult to hire workers.

That is true for Essex Topcrop Sales Ltd., a leading pet food manufacturer based in Ontario that is facing supply chain disruptions and now labour shortages.

The founder, Craig Brummell, said Tuesday that trying to get people out of their homes and into entry-level paying jobs has been challenging throughout the pandemic.

"We find one out of three people scheduled for an interview don’t even show up,” he said in an interview.

“We now hire people right on the spot from the interview and even after you tell them [they] have job – and these are people who are collecting CERB or unemployment insurance, or both – they don’t even show up.”

Brummell added that those who do show up “last until noon, or one day, or three-four days, or maybe a week.”

"They're not leaving for other jobs. They just don't want to work," he said.

He explained that the struggle is in retaining workers while federal assistance programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) have been available during the pandemic. The CRB offers $1,000 for every two-week period of eligibility for Canadians whose employment was affected by COVID-19 and who are not eligible to collect employment insurance.

Brummell said those who fill the entry-level positions he referred to at EssexTopcrop are offered between $16 and $17 per hour to start. A month-old job posting from the company to fill a manufacturing assembly line operative position is being advertised, however, for a starting pay of $14.54 per hour. When asked about this discrepancy, Brummell noted in a follow-up conversation that pay ranges vary among positions and they are sometimes open for negotiation. Essex Topcrop also has a posting open for a warehouse operative with a stated pay range of $15 to $18 per hour.

Brummell said he doesn't believe the federal government has a true understanding of what employers are going through.

"What it's leading to is investment into automation and elimination of jobs in the end.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story indicated that the CERB program was still in effect. It was in fact wound down last year.​