Tag Archives: Aramark Sports Entertainment & Conventions

Employment Standards Investigation In Progress

Sunshine Village Watch has learned that Sunshine Village is currently being investigated by Alberta Employment Standards for matters related to the adjustment and rounding of employee time records.  Alberta Employment Standards has confirmed that an employee must be paid for the exact amount of time worked.  If payroll and time recording policies result in the employee being shorted then Employment Standards will investigate and rectify any problems found.  This investigation applies to employees who worked for either Sunshine Village or Aramark Canada’s food and beverage operations at Sunshine.  Employment Standards has not confirmed if any complaints received so far have been found to be valid.

Sunshine Village Watch previously reported on this worker’s rights issue at Sunshine Village.

Employment Standards has also confirmed that any past or current employee who believes that their pay records may not reflect their actual hours of work should submit a complaint to Employment Standards.  The more complaints that they receive the better they will be able to target their investigative procedures.  Employment Standards would like to receive complaints via their online complaint form or by other methods explained on their website.  An employee complaint does not require full documented evidence.  Any complaints arising from last season should be submitted as soon as possible as a former employee must file a complaint with Employment Standards within six months of their last day of employment.

As current employees may be concerned about the employer becoming aware of their complaint they may request Employment Standards to keep their identity confidential.

To protect their rights, employees should keep their own accurate logs of their work hours recorded and keep all pay records which may be used as evidence to support future complaints.

Please share this information with current and former employees from last season, even those who have now returned to overseas locations.

2011 Summer Garbage Clean-Up Cutbacks

A full winter of ski area operations requires a full summer of garbage pick-up

“start looking at the litter in healy creek at the base parking lot.  ssv does little about it year after year.  it’s hung up in the bushes, washed downstream, accumulating under gravel, etc.” – from “Caveman” (email to SVW – May 06, 2011)

“Caveman” hits on a vital issue at Sunshine Village in his email – that is the summer garbage clean-up.  As the snow melts away in the summer a huge amount of garbage becomes visible all over the Sunshine Village leasehold.  This clean-up is a major job for summer staff and it’s not easy to get it all done in the short summer season.  Each year literally hundreds of bags of garbage are collected by Sunshine Village trail crews over the course of the summer.  Much of this garbage is generated by the operations of Sunshine’s food and beverage partner, Aramark Canada.

Unfortunately the usual clean-up may be about to end this summer.  John Scurfield (SSV part-owner and VP of Marketing) has issued an internal email dated April 05, 2011 telling managers there will be a major cutback in summer staffing levels to save the company money.  Scurfield attributes the company’s need for cutbacks to a flyer distributed in local communities in early April.  The flyer was allegedly critical of Sunshine Village.  Scurfield’s email encourages cut-back affected staff to express their “gratitude” to whoever distributed the flyer.  One of the hardest hit departments is expected to be the Mountain Operations department headed up by the recently hired new Mountain Manager, Al Matheson. The summer trail crews normally work for Mountain Operations.

The real impact of thousands of skiers and snowboarders becomes apparent each year when the snow melts.  If the garbage is not picked up it will only accumulate until it is.  If there are insufficient summer crews out doing this vital job, the entire area will look like a garbage dump.  The question is – with only a cost-saving skeleton summer staff on the mountain, who will clean up the huge amount of garbage, not just around Healy Creek at Bourgeau and up at the Village but everywhere else including the farthest reaches of the ski area where people like to hang out and leave a mess on sunny ski days?  This includes portions of Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park as well as the Banff National Park leasehold.  Prevailing winds can carry loose garbage into the neighbouring pristine and ecologically sensitive Sunshine Meadows and Rock Isle Lake.  Garbage can also be an attractant and hazard for wildlife, especially bears – which can then present a public safety hazard for summer visitors.

These parks are the crown jewels of the Canadian Rockies visited by millions of Canadians and international toursists each year.  What will these protected areas look like after this summer and even more so – what will they look like next summer after two winters of garbage accumulation?  Should Parks Canada and BC Parks permit Sunshine Village to cut costs at the expense of the environment and wildlife?

The Sunshine Village “Environmental Mission Statement” makes the following bold claim:

“At Sunshine Village Ski Resort, we bring spectacular alpine sport experiences together with the awesome beauty of nature to create a unique relationship between our resort and the natural environment.”

That’s a nice sounding statement but empty words don’t pick up empty beer cans and neither do absent summer work crews.   Environmental integrity in Banff National Park should not play a secondary role to Sunshine Village’s cost-saving measures and profit margin. Parks before profit!

As the snow starts to melt, Sunshine Village Watch encourages spring riders and summer visitors to photograph and document garbage anywhere around the  Sunshine Village lease and adjacent areas of Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park.  Send the photographs and your opinions to SVW , Banff National Park  and to BC Parks

“We don’t know of any morale issues”

“Most of us apply filters to to the things we say, and, most of the time, that’s a very good thing.But we become so skilled at censoring ourselves and filtering our thoughts that we can lose site of our ability to be frank and honest – sometimes even with ourselves. That’s not so good. “  ~ Doug Firby “Unfiltered”  (from www.dougfirby.ca – which has been password protected since this link was made)

On January 19, 2011  some Sunshine Village ski patrollers chose to not show up for work in protest of the firing of another patroller, concerns over loss of senior staff and resulting perceived safety issues that they felt were not being heard by Sunshine Village management.  As a result of the walk-out only three lifts were operating that day at Sunshine Village.  By late morning, the walk-out had garnered immediate and massive media interest and coverage.

Doug Firby is Associate Director, Communications, Media and Marketing, for Sunshine Village Corporation. He reports directly to John and Ralph Scurfield.  Firby made the following statements to the media that day:

“We don’t know of any morale issues,”  ~Doug Firby (Calgary Herald January 19, 2011)

(Firby) said he hopes the sick patrollers are feeling better and back at work on Thursday. “We’re taking them at their word on that,” he said. “I mean the best thing would be for them to just talk directly to us about whatever issues might be on their mind.” (CBC January 19, 2011)

Doug Firby, a spokesperson for Sunshine Village, questioned the authenticity of the calls to the media, telling Fast Forward Weekly, “We actually don’t know whether these people are actually Sunshine staff or not.” Management, he added, has not heard of any of the allegations firsthand, nor can it discuss any personel issues publicly. (FFWD Weekly – Jan 19, 2011)

The following internal Sunshine Village email from that day was sent out at 10:03 AM well before any patroller or Doug Firby spoke to the media and shows that Sunshine already did in fact know the real nature of the walk-out and the reasons for it.  The email refers to known “internal issues” with staff and directs front-line workers on what to say to customers who apparently, so it states, didn’t need to know the truth of the matter.  The email makes  it clear that the request comes directly from Sunshine Village management.

So when Doug Firby told the media later that day that Sunshine Village was completely surprised, had not heard the allegations, did not know of any morale issues and was not sure these were even Sunshine Village staff – either he wasn’t in the loop or he simply wasn’t telling the unfiltered truth to the reporters.

Despite Firby’s assurances to the patrollers that they should “talk directly” to management, two more patrollers were  fired the following day for expressing their safety concerns on camera.

Many more senior staff have left since and are continuing to leave.

Here’s the “unfiltered” internal email that shows what Sunshine management knew that day and when they knew it!

From: Steve Novak
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 10:03 AM
To: All Aramark
Subject: Happenings today

Good morning,

With todays lift interruptions I want to ensure that we stay focused on serving our guests with nothing but the best quality product and attention. Any guest who paid for a lift pass today should have received a $20.00 voucher from guest services. If they did not on their way up they may pick it up at the end of their day. The only guests who do not receive a voucher will be season pass holders.

It is important that we help communicate this message as much as possible.

Our guest does not need to know about the internal issues Sunshine is having with its staff so please use the response of “unexpected lift interruption” when people ask why we are only running with 3 lifts. This is the request of Sunshine management.

If you have any questions about today please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Skier count may get just over 1000 today so please be diligent with staffing levels. Remember, do not sacrifice the guest experience!


 Stephen Novak
General Manager – Food & Beverage and Retail
Aramark Sports, Entertainment & Conventions West Region
Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort
p 403 762 6584 | c 403 431 4331


PPlease, consider the environment before printing this e-mail