Cowichan Economic Development’s workforce housing survey found high housing costs and a shortage of places to live have a significant impact on employers in the valley.
Businesses say there have been prospective employees who have turned down job offers or asked for higher starting salaries.
Some local workers have also quit their jobs and moved out of the area.
In addition, high prices and a shortage of homes or apartments negatively affect morale and performance.
The survey found that employees indicated a strong preference for owning a house rather than renting, and would also prefer a house or duplex, rather than an apartment or condo.
Both employers and workers support the creation of an organization to build and manage workforce housing.
Employees were also interested in seeing companies provide more housing options.
Suggestions for local government initiatives include incentives for developers to build multi-family buildings and obtaining land for affordable and workforce housing development.
Other suggestions include on-site staff accommodation being allowed in more zones, living temporarily in RVs, and increasing funding for Cowichan Housing Association.
Economic Development Cowichan will use the information gathered in its efforts to develop a regional Workforce Housing Strategy.