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Australia native Kerri Jones and her partner hire workers from Down Under, but transient labour pool is taking a toll

There’s nothing like a steaming hot kangaroo meat pie after a day of skiing or mountain biking on the slopes of the Canadian Rockies. That was the idea when business and life partners Kerri Jones and Alex Relf opened the doors to Peaked Pies, their restaurant in B.C.’s Whistler village, in 2013.

Robin O’Neill/The Globe and Mail

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A native of Newcastle, Australia, Ms. Jones, 35, came to Whistler to pursue her love of snowboarding but quickly found another in Mr. Relf, 28. After working in the town’s hospitality industry for a few years, they launched their Aussie meat-pie shop. The couple decided to hire Australians, New Zealanders and Britons to help familiarize customers with the concept of pastry-encrusted meat.

Robin O’Neill/The Globe and Mail

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At the bottom is the meat pie, and on top are mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy.


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But the constant cycle of hiring, training and rehiring workers on shorter-term work visas has become a challenge for the pair. So Ms. Jones and Mr. Relf spend more time than they would like on hiring and training, and less on building their business.

Robin O’Neill/The Globe and Mail

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The pies before they are baked.


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Training an employee takes about three weeks, the owners say; their goal is for each staff member to be able to bake the pies, make and serve coffee drinks and talk to customers about the food.


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Despite their staff difficulties, Ms. Jones and Mr. Relf are planning to open another Peaked Pies location in downtown Vancouver in September.


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