Hoping for a job at the 2010 Winter Olympics? You might have a better chance if you already have employment somewhere else.

A looming cash crunch has driven the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee to ask businesses to loan them around 1,500 employees, so the committee doesn't have to hire them.

"It's a creative solution to maintain a balanced budget and everyone from corporations to government can be part of the solution," the committee's deputy chief executive officer, Dave Cobb, said in a statement.

The move does not represent a total hiring freeze - organizers will still be hiring some specialized staff and also take on people who live in Whistler, B.C., the host mountain resort for the Games.

But for positions in everything from security to the opening ceremonies, they're hoping companies step up.

"Those involved in the program will get the experience of a lifetime and will take their inspired new skills and confidence back to their respective employers when it's over, creating another lasting legacy for the Games," Cobb said in a statement.

The committee's full-time workforce was expected to be about 1,400 people during the Games and it had originally anticipated hiring 3,500 temporary employees. Organizers are also relying on the services of about 25,000 volunteers.

There are about 45 employees on loan to the Games from organizations such as the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and organizers are already talking to the B.C. government about public service workers joining the program.

There are positions available in 32 of the Games' 53 departments and organizers said they're especially hoping companies in the Sea-to-Sky region of British Columbia get involved as there's also a severe accommodation shortage in the area.

It wasn't immediately clear how much money could be saved by relying on companies to loan their employees, but the organizing committee said it would be a "significant savings" to their $1.75 billion budget.

Organizers had set aside $140 million for workforce and sustainability initiatives in the budget, down $12.9 million from their initial projection in 2007.



Following the July board meeting, organizers revealed the potential for a severe financial shortfall, as some revenue streams have dried up because of the global recession. The committee anticipate spending all of the $27 million revenue contingency fund as a result.

The committee also has a $30 million hole in its budget because the International Olympic Committee has not yet signed the final two international sponsors it promised for 2010.

McDonald's is ahead of the organizing committee in passing out Olympic incentives to some of its best restaurant workers.

The restaurant chain has selected more than 300 of its top employees from 77,000 workers across Canada to work at three on-site McDonald's restaurants in the two athletes' villages and the main media centre.

Members of the so-called McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew will receive a round-trip flight to Vancouver, accommodation and the chance to attend Olympic events.

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