For some businesses, the answer to difficult labour shortages is a cash bonus for anyone who takes the job – but even that isn’t enough sometimes.

It's worse in some industries than others, but those businesses struggling to find staff say they're working harder than ever and trying new ways to attract workers.

At Lil Z’s Pizza in Ottawa’s ByWard Market, finding staff to work in the kitchen isn’t easy. When a prospective employee walks through the door, they have all the power.

"If someone shows up for the interview we're like, 'Okay, you're hired.' You know, him or her, they get the job," said manager Johny Bonney.

A new report from Statistics Canada describes the labour crisis – business are more likely to increase wages or find other incentives to attract workers.

"We put it out there, 'Hey, we'll give signing bonuses,' some extra incentive to even just get people to apply," said Bonney. "At one point we had $1000 on the table."

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the restaurant industry may be the worst hit.

"At the national level 55 per cnt of small businesses are saying that they are affected by labour shortages," said Jasmin Guenette, VP of National Affairs with CFIB.

"Today we have 37,000 jobs going unfilled, costing our economy billions of dollars," said Ontario’s labour minister Monte McNaughton.

The health care sector and airline industry are struggling too.

McNaughton says Ontario should be looking outside of the country for help.

"We need a new deal from Ottawa when it comes to immigration. It's a tool we have to help fill shortages," said McNaughton.

With no imminent or easy solution, businesses like Little Z’s Pizza are sometimes left teetering on the edge.

"We're always one staff away from disaster," said Bonney.