Month: May 2019

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced a bold new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

With extensive input from tourism stakeholders across Canada, Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy builds on the sector’s tireless work that has led to back-to-back record-breaking years for international visitation and addresses challenges to maintaining this momentum, including labour and skills shortages. A whole-of-government approach and a focus on building public-private collaboration will foster continued growth and innovation and lead to targeted solutions.

Accounting for 1.8 million jobs—10% of total Canadian employment—in every part of the country, tourism plays a key role in regional development and has helped transform communities affected by declining industries. With diverse, flexible employment options, it is a key entry point to the workforce for youth and employs a higher proportion of under-represented groups than the overall economy.

“The Federal Tourism Growth Strategy showcases the key economic role tourism plays in Canada’s communities,” stated Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “Tourism’s ability to grow and compete in an increasingly crowded global marketplace is dependent on its ability to attract and retain qualified workers. The partnership approach woven into the Strategy will help ensure Canada has a world-leading tourism workforce by encouraging all stakeholders to support skills development and position tourism as a destination for employment.”

The Strategy sets economic impact targets for 2025: a 25% increase in revenues, 54,000 new jobs, and growth that outpaces that of the national economy. Core to these goals are to expand the tourist season beyond the summer and to draw tourists outside the three major tourism centres of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

It also details specific initiatives that support Tourism HR Canada as it improves the quality and mobility of the tourism workforce and supplies tourism businesses with the labour market intelligence they need to plan for and overcome human resource challenges. These include:

  • Destination Employment Program: Expansion of this pilot project that assists both newcomers in gaining job experience in the tourism sector in Canada and employers in overcoming labour shortages and diversifying their workplaces.
  • Sectoral Initiatives Program: Multi-year project funding to develop research, labour market information, forecasts, competency frameworks, and other assistance to support human resource planning, skills development, worker certification, and related tools for the tourism sector.
  • LGBTQ2 Workshops: A series of training workshops to better support the LGBTQ2 tourism sector and help tourism operators build their capacity to welcome more LGBTQ2 travellers to Canada.
  • Tourism Market- and Export-Ready Program for Chinese Visitors: Online learning and training sessions to help small and medium-sized enterprises succeed in attracting Chinese visitors.

“We welcome these investments in building a resilient and inclusive labour market,” continued Mondor. “Through these and other projects, the Tourism HR Canada team looks forward to working with partners across Canada to help meet the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy targets and build a thriving tourism destination. Facilitating this collaboration: key elements of the Strategy align with Tourism HR Canada’s recently released Strategic Plan.”

“By providing tourism professionals with specialized and emerging skills, we strengthen our country’s 250,000 tourism businesses, allowing them to respond to global demands and offer visitors memorable, transformative experiences,” Mondor concluded.

View Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy here.

The intense and varied reactions to several provinces and territories raising their minimum wages in recent years provided ongoing media fodder and much speculation on the outcomes, both short and long term.

In late 2017, Ontario passed new legislation (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, also known as Bill 148) that changed a number of labour laws, including a January 1, 2018, increase of its general minimum wage from $11.60 to $14.00 per hour and its liquor server wage from $10.10 to $12.20 per hour.

That February, Archan Consulting published a report on the early trends and impacts of Bill 148 on the restaurant sector in Ottawa. This led to an Ontario-wide study, surveying full- and limited-service restaurants on the impact of the new legislation, with a focus on independently owned businesses.

Released today, Managing the Shift: Adapting to the Impact of Bill 148 on Ontario’s Restaurant Sector analyzes the responses of over 300 restaurants to this study. The report includes both quantitative and qualitative data, exploring information provided through a web-based survey and one-on-one telephone interviews.

The study took place over nine weeks in the fall of 2018, meaning responses to questions about future impacts reflect owners’ outlooks before and after the announcement of the newly elected Conservative government’s decision to not roll out a planned second increase in 2019.

Managing the Shift examines the effects of Bill 148 on three key areas in Ontario’s restaurant industry:

  1. Labour markets
  2. Managerial and operations issues
  3. Profitability

The report details much more than the impact of the wage increase on business expenses. To provide a thorough picture of the business and labour changes experienced in the initial year of the increase, the study sought feedback on the following topics:

  • Impact on cost structure: How much of an increase in operating costs have restaurants experienced? What portion of the cost increases are attributable to the wage increase alone, and how have the rest of the changes (e.g., to protected leave categories, vacation pay, and others) impacted costs for restaurants?
  • Impact on staffing and employee mix: How was the full-time and part-time staffing mix impacted, along with overall staffing levels? What other staffing changes have restaurants made to reduce labour costs (e.g., shifting workload from hourly to salaried staff)?
  • Measures to save labour hours: Has there been a reduction in the number of shifts and hours available to staff? Have restaurants changed their hours of operation?
  • Impact on recruitment: Has Bill 148 influenced recruiting and hiring preferences for certain types of workers? Have proprietors experienced changes in quality or volume of applications for vacant positions? Has there been an impact on retention and turnover?
  • Management changes: Are tip-out policies changing in response to the new wage scale? Have proprietors experienced pressure from staff not earning minimum wage to raise wages for senior or skilled positions? How has the legislation affected absenteeism, disciplinary processes, and relationships between various positions in restaurants?
  • Menus and pricing: How much have menu prices increased since the legislation was introduced? Are price increases happening all at once or gradually throughout the year? What other effects has the new cost structure had on menus (e.g., changes to ingredients or portion sizes)?
  • Profitability: What impact has the legislation had on profitability in 2018?
  • Upside or potential benefits: Have staff adopted a new approach to their work (e.g., more professional, motivated, dedicated)? Are employers or managers noticing that staff appear more invested in their jobs? Is the new wage scale attracting a higher calibre of applicant to the restaurant industry?
  • Forecast for 2019: What do proprietors forecast for 2019 regarding staffing and profitability? What are the hopes and concerns of restauranteurs going into 2019?

Download Managing the Shift to view the full results and analysis, as well as to read business owners’ experiences in their own words.

Managing the Shift was the result of collaboration between several organizations. Tourism HR Canada would like to extend a special thank you to the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) for their efforts reaching out to their members and recruiting participants for this research. We would also like to thank all the participating restauranteurs who provided the valuable time and effort that made this report possible.

Subscribe to Tourism HR Insider for future analysis of changes impacting tourism’s labour market.

To provide a full picture of the tourism labour market, Tourism HR Canada regularly acquires customized tabulations for five datasets. We then analyze and share this information with a wide range of stakeholders to help develop plans and policies that support our sector’s labour needs.

Making this information relevant, useful, and easy to understand is key to helping Canada’s tourism sector be globally competitive—a talented, welcoming workforce enhances our destination status. The Rapid reSearch tool does just this, allowing anyone to access customized tourism labour market information through a simple, user-friendly interface.

As of today, you can use Rapid reSearch to search the latest labour market data available: the 2016 census, updated Labour Force Survey data from 2018, and new business counts data from 2017 and 2018.

Compare data on the number of jobs, hours worked, annual salary, and hourly wages for multiple tourism occupations. Focus on a specific province/territory, industry group, or occupation of interest. Select data specific to gender, age, immigrant status, or work status.

Rapid reSearch makes it easy to explore the following:

Provincial-Territorial Human Resource Module (PTHRM): The PTHRM provides the following statistics for the tourism sector and for each industry group, region, and occupation: number of jobs, hours worked, and compensation. These statistics are available by sex, by work status, by age group, and by immigrant status.

Census (2016): The census provides the most detailed information available on the people in Canada’s labour force. Our customized census data shows the profile of tourism employees, including gender, age, work patterns, place of birth, mother tongue, equity groups, school attendance, and education levels.

Labour Force Survey: Customized labour force survey data shows seasonally unadjusted estimates of employment, unemployment, and unionization rates.

Labour Supply and Demand: This data shows the estimated demand for jobs, supply of labour, and any resulting gaps that will leave jobs unfilled for the years 2010 to 2035. Data is available by province, industry group, and occupation.

Tourism Business Counts: These state the number of tourism businesses in existence in Canada by year, province/territory, and industry group.

Access to Rapid reSearch is managed through our online learning portal, Create an account today to download the data most useful to you.

Tourism HR Canada will continue to upload new data to Rapid reSearch as it becomes available, including new projections for tourism labour supply and data from the 2018 Tourism Sector Compensation Study. Subscribe to Tourism HR Insider to be the first to know about these updates and for detailed analysis of the labour market trends impacting Canada’s tourism businesses.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In April 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 5.5%, which is 0.4% higher than the rate reported in April 2018, but lower than the previous month (March 2019), when the unemployment rate stood at 6.0%.

At 5.5%, tourism’s unemployment rate was below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.9%.

With the exception of the Food & Beverage Services and Transportation industries, all tourism industry groups reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 3.8% in British Columbia to 12.5% in Prince Edward Island.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province, with the exception of Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, were below the rates reported for the provincial economy (Figure 1).

Tourism employment comprised 11.0% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of April.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – April  2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
April 2018
Unemployment Rate –
April 2019
Tourism 5.1% 5.5%
Accommodations 8.9% 8.0%
Food and Beverage 4.4% 5.4%
Recreation and Entertainment 7.7% 7.7%
Transportation 2.3% 2.7%
Travel Services 4.4% N/A
Figure 1 – Tourism Sector vs. Total Labour Force Unemployment Rates by Province (Seasonally Unadjusted)

1 To determine unemployment rates, industrial (NAICS) classifications are based on the most recent job held within the past year, and are self-identified by the respondent. Unemployed persons are those who, during the reference period, were available for work but were on temporary layoff, were without work, or were to start a new job within four weeks.

2 As defined by the Canadian Tourism Satellite Account. The NAICS industries included in the tourism sector are those that would cease to exist or operate at a significantly reduced level of activity as a direct result of an absence of tourism. Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, customized tabulations. Based on data for the week ending April 20, 2019.


Released today, the latest demographic profile of tourism workers unveils the most recent census data on youth employed in tourism.

Aged between 15 and 24 years old, people in this age group are a key demographic for tourism and hospitality jobs. While they made up only 12.1% of the Canadian population in 2016 and filled only 12.7% of all jobs, they held a significant 30.7% of the jobs in the tourism sector. Provincially/territorially, they make up over 30.0% of the tourism workforce in eight regions, topping out in Prince Edward Island at 35.0%.

Some occupations are particularly reliant on this age bracket, especially those in food and beverage services and recreation and entertainment. As a share of all people employed, youth fill:

  • 82.9% of all host/hostess jobs
  • 65.7% of cashier jobs
  • 62.4% of all food counter attendant/kitchen helper jobs
  • 56.9% of operators and attendants in amusement, recreation, and sport
  • 49.2% of program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness
  • 42.5% of food and beverage servers

Tourism’s relationship with young people is mutually beneficial. The tourism sector acts as a gateway to employment for many Canadians, offering them their first job—often one that accommodates their need for part-time work with a flexible schedule. With 69.3% of youth reporting having attended school in the previous nine months, this an important consideration when planning attraction efforts.

However, growing the tourism sector has been difficult due to labour shortages. A declining share of youth within Canada’s population has been part of this problem. The number of people aged 15 to 24 has been declining in Canada since 2013 and will continue to do so until 2021. The total number of 15- to 24-year-olds in the population is not expected to exceed the number seen in 2013 until 2029.

Nonetheless, the number of youth employed in tourism grew from 2011 to 2016, suggesting that tourism employers have become more competitive in attracting this group of workers. Still, declining numbers of such an important group of employees is problematic and, for the near future, employers will need to find other sources of labour if they are to expand their businesses.

Click here to download the Demographic Profile of Young Tourism Workers.

Subscribe to Tourism HR Insider for future demographic profile releases.

The Destination Employment project has helped newcomers in the Yukon, notably in Dawson City, create connections to stable and secure employment with a sustainable wage. Destination Employment has also worked to develop a model for employment programming with components being put in place at both the national and territorial levels. This model helps to promote a sustainable labour market in the Yukon, which in turn offers meaningful and prosperous employment opportunities to newcomers.

The Destination Employment program launched in Dawson City in January 2019, with Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC) as the acting coordinator. Within the short time frame since the launch, the initiative has had a positive response from both newcomers and businesses. Multiple hotels have expressed an interest in the program, and have given favourable responses. The number of engaged properties is impressive for Dawson City’s small population size and business environment.

The Destination Employment program helps to bring sustainable employment to Dawson, which is otherwise an isolated city with a shortage of year-round labourers. The newcomers involved in the project will assist hotel operators by establishing a labour pool of skilled, trained, and committed employees who will work year-round. In this sense, newcomers will work to fill the gaps in the Dawson City labour market—gaps due to its rural location and the seasonal nature of most businesses and their employees. Hotels are one of the few Dawson City businesses that remain active year-round, and therefore have a hard time remaining staffed, given the trend of summer seasonal employees.

In order to recruit individuals, YTEC has held information sessions to inform potential participants both of the program and how their involvement would not only be beneficial to the labour market, but meaningful to them. The project offers newcomers the ability to take skills and needs assessments, as well as have their language assessed. These tools will assist newcomers by providing them with a complete profile of themselves as potential employees. In conjunction with the listed tools, individualized learning plans are also developed for the participants, to track their progress during the program and through their professional development.

To recruit potential hotel operators, YTEC held employer information sessions, with three employers to date joining the program in the small city since the recent launch.

YTEC has two main Yukon partners in implementing Destination Employment in Dawson City: The Yukon College and Klondike Employment. Both organizations offered in-kind resources like donated classroom space, as well as fee-for-service classes, all to assist Destination Employment and YTEC in carrying the project out.  Other Yukon partners to Destination Employment include the Yukon Human Rights Association, Yukon Government-Employment Standards, Yukon Liquor Corporation, and the Yukon Territorial Government: all of which are deserving of recognition and gratitude.

Looking forward, YTEC plans to hold workplace mentor workshops and create professional development training opportunities. YTEC expects to see participation agreements signed by several newcomers living in Dawson, as well as multiple employer agreements being enacted. Due to the success of Destination Employment already seen in Dawson, YTEC is initiating the Destination Employment in Whitehorse, the territory’s capital.

Click here for more on the Destination Employment program, currently recruiting participants in five regions across Canada.

Sign up here to receive updates on the program’s success, as well as other tourism news and initiatives.