Housing shortage has Cortes Island businesses and employees at a loss

A rural Cortes Island home is viewed in autumn.
A rustic Cortes Island home. The community has been facing a housing shortage for years. Photo by Greg Osoba
Greg Osoba - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 18-11-2021
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Editor's Note: Greg Osoba works at Cortes Natural Food Co-op. 

Pre-pandemic, service sector businesses were already struggling on Cortes Island to find enough workers to meet demand during the busy summer and shoulder seasons. The situation continues as businesses search for solutions.

In interviews with CKTZ, local business owners reported that the housing shortage limits options for businesses to hire qualified workers from off island. 

Cortes Island is also becoming more popular with retirees and tourists. In the past, some long-time residents have needed to vacate rental properties in the summer to make way for owners who either occupy their property, or bring in lucrative vacation rentals. Both established tenants and seasonal workers have found themselves camping or living out of vehicles.  

Overall, businesses reported that secure housing options are shrinking as demand for services increases, making for a difficult situation.

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