Month: September 2019

Future Skills Framework LogoTourism HR Canada is looking forward to sharing information and exploring ideas and needs towards building the Future Skills Framework. This three-year initiative will see the creation of a competency framework—a comprehensive and sustainable collection of competencies and essential skills—for the tourism sector.

A core component of the project is national consultation. A series of focus groups are identifying and building the key competencies needed by tourism employees. The next event will take place October 9-10 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Food and beverage professionals are invited to participate in this session. Please email FutureSkills@TourismHR.ca for full details.

Key subjects for discussion:

  • Review and discuss the Future Skills Framework categories and competencies
  • Review and develop competencies relating to the food and beverage industry

What you can expect:

The meeting will have about 20 participants who have been selected as subject matter experts. As a participant, your expertise in operations, training, and application will inform the content of the framework.

Facilitators will guide you through various questions and prepared material to get your input and feedback. The session will make use of activities such as group discussion, small group activities, and facilitated storyboarding. Your input, along with other supporting research and further consultations, if needed, will be consolidated into a set of competencies.

Participants are expected to contribute to the open discussions and will be called on to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts on a variety of related topics. We want to collect different ideas and opinions, and will work with the group to achieve agreement or consensus on the content of the competencies. You will see edits to the content as they are made, allowing you to confirm that your views are captured.

The two-day meeting will be fast paced, with breaks, refreshments, snacks, lunches, and time to network. Dress is casual. You are not required to prepare for this focus group and do not need to bring any material or supplies. Travel, accommodation, and meal expenses are covered where needed. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meeting details:

October 9-10, 2019
Coast High Country Inn
4051 – 4th Ave.,
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1H1

Agenda:

Whitehorse Focus Group Agenda

To enquire about registering, please contact FutureSkills@TourismHR.ca.

Future Skills Framework LogoTourism HR Canada is looking forward to sharing information and exploring ideas and needs towards building the Future Skills Framework. This three-year initiative will see the creation of a competency framework—a comprehensive and sustainable collection of competencies and essential skills—for the tourism sector.

A core component of the project is national consultation. A series of focus groups are identifying and building the key competencies needed by tourism employees. The next event will take place September 24-25 in Ottawa. Tourism stakeholders, particularly hotel general managers and food and beverage managers, are invited to participate in this session. Please email FutureSkills@TourismHR.ca for full details.

Key subjects for discussion:

  • Review and discuss the Future Skills Framework categories and competencies
  • Refine the set of associated major categories within the tourism industry

What you can expect:

The meeting will have about 20 participants who have been selected from across Canada as subject matter experts in the tourism industry. As a participant, your expertise in operations, training, and application will inform the content of the framework.

Facilitators will guide you through various questions and prepared material to get your input and feedback. The session will make use of activities such as group discussion, small group activities, and facilitated storyboarding. Your input, along with other supporting research and further consultations, if needed, will be consolidated into a set of competencies.

Participants are expected to contribute to the open discussions and will be called on to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts on a variety of related topics. We want to collect different ideas and opinions, and will work with the group to achieve agreement or consensus on the content of the competencies. You will see edits to the content as they are made, allowing you to confirm that your views are captured.

The two-day meeting will be fast paced, with breaks, refreshments, snacks, lunches, and time to network. Dress is casual. You are not required to prepare for this focus group and do not need to bring any material or supplies. Travel, accommodation, and meal expenses are covered where needed. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meeting details:

September 24-25, 2019
Novotel Ottawa
33 Nicholas St
Ottawa, ON K1N 9M7

Agenda:

To enquire about registering, please contact FutureSkills@TourismHR.ca.

 

2019 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study CoverIncreases to minimum wage in multiple jurisdictions in Canada created much controversy and press coverage. Depending on the source, predictions ranged from massive job losses as employers struggled with the higher costs, to an economic boost created by minimum-wage earners spending their pay on goods and services they could not previously afford. Debate covered the percentage of the increases, the implementation speed, and the influence of regional economic conditions—particularly rural versus urban.

It’s a complex and politically charged subject, touching the whole economy. In tourism and hospitality, we see earnest employers trying to do the right thing for their staff, while having to work with thin profit margins. We see hard-working, dedicated employees trying to make ends meet as they pay for increasing housing, education, and food costs.

Most employers recognize the importance of compensation to productivity and to attraction and retention efforts—and media coverage has included profiles of employers supporting the increase, including those paying above minimum wage.

As an organization that represents the people that make up tourism and hospitality—10% of all workers in Canada—we explore the impact of the wage increases on all fronts: owners and operators of businesses of all sizes, managers, supervisors, and frontline employees.

The recently launched 2019 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study provides a quantifiable look at the first year of these increases.

Over 2,100 employers from across the country shared the initial impact of minimum wage increases on their businesses, representing four tourism industries: food and beverage services, accommodation services, recreation and entertainment, and travel services.

While most regions of Canada implemented minimum wage increases in 2018, the increases in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta stood out as they were part of a move to a $15.00 minimum wage. The increase in Alberta was the final in a series of raises that saw the minimum wage increase from $10.20 in 2014 to $15.00 in 2018. On June 1, BC’s minimum wage rose to $12.65, the first of several increases that will see minimum wage reach $15.20 in 2021. Ontario saw the largest jump, from $11.60 to $14.00, although a further increase to $15.00 planned for January 1, 2019, was revoked.

So, what’s happened so far? Most organizations in BC (62.6%) reported being able to absorb the cost of the increase to a great extent or somewhat of an extent. Ontario, which saw the largest increase to the minimum wage in 2018, saw similar reporting (62.2%). However, Ontario businesses were more likely to say they had somewhat absorbed the increase, compared to BC where more said they had absorbed it to a great extent. Alberta’s employers, for whom the minimum wage has increased to the highest level in the country, reported being less able to absorb the cost of the increase in the minimum wage (52.3% somewhat or greatly absorbed costs).

To offset the costs, many tourism operators raised their prices (68.8% in Ontario, 64% in BC, and 59.6% in Alberta). Other common changes included cutting employees’ working hours, reducing hiring, increasing employee workload, and reducing hours of operation. A smaller proportion reported having to let staff go.

So can tourism employers afford a $15/hour minimum wage? Interestingly, businesses who had already adjusted or were on their way to adjusting to this rate were more likely to report being able to absorb the costs than regions where the change was not in the works (see chart below). This suggests the perception may be scarier than the reality. Tourism HR Canada will continue to measure and report on further changes to minimum wage are implemented across the country.

Extent to Which Organizations Would be Able/Were to Absorb the Cost of the Increase in Minimum Wage to $15.00 per Hour

For the complete picture on minimum wage increases, access the 2019 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study or visit the What’s New page for a look at our previously released report on Ontario’s Bill 148.

While many tourism businesses operate year-round, others are seasonal by nature of what they offer: golf courses, ski resorts, beachside cafés, ice hotels. Entire communities can double in size over the summer or winter as visitors descend to enjoy the sun, surf, or snow.

As tourism grows worldwide and Canada seeks to boost its visitation, these seasonal businesses are looking for opportunities to extend their operations into the spring and fall. Some, however, find there are barriers to doing so. The biggest: people to work.

At its root, the issue is two-fold:

  1. Current seasonal labour consists primarily of students, who cannot work beyond Canada’s busiest season, summer.
  2. Labour that could work into the shoulder seasons is snapped up by year-round businesses.

Further complicating matters are factors such as:

  • Housing shortfalls
  • Off-season reductions in infrastructure and amenities to support staff: transportation, groceries, retail, etc.
  • Burnout after a busy peak season
  • Employment insurance or social assistance programs
  • Work permit limitations for international staff
  • Climate change making seasons more difficult to predict and causing disasters such as floods and forest fires

A key component of the Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, finding ways to extend the tourist season across Canada was also a main topic of discussion at Tourism HR Canada’s Labour Market Forum this year.

Tourism stakeholders presented a range of innovative ideas. The underlying themes were finding ways to keep students past Labour Day and attracting other sources of labour. Retirees, for example, may have plans to head south once the snow flies, but could be looking for casual employment in the spring and fall. Newcomers arrive year-round and are keen to acquire Canadian work experience.

Based on this national feedback, below are some strategies for seasonal staffing:

  • Adjust product offerings: Students may be able to work in the shoulder seasons if their tasks are reduced from the busier summer schedule. As the number of tourists lessens, look at keeping only a curated portfolio of products or services. Connect with those who study locally and see if arrangements can be made to keep them on a more limited schedule. Consider incentives for those who extend their seasonal employment: bonuses, benefits plans, training, discounts or freebies, etc.
  • Connect with area schools: Demand for hands-on learning continues to increase, leading to co-op programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Reach out to these schools to see if there are opportunities to link up. They may also have international students looking for Canadian work experience.
  • Communicate with serving agencies: Organizations that try to help specific demographic groups find employment have clients who are seeking a foot in the door to build skills and gain work experience. Tourism may not be top of mind off-season, so ensure they know there are jobs available in the spring and fall. They may even have programs that help to subsidize wages.
  • Partner with other businesses—tourism or beyond: Depending on location, on the mobility of staff, and on transferable skills, explore whether businesses needing staff in the opposite season wish to collaborate to turn seasonal work into full-year work. This predictability and security would help attract a different demographic of worker and lead to higher retention rates.
  • Network nationally or even internationally: Tourism offers the opportunity to work around the world. Building connections amongst who employ international staff such as those in the International Experience Canada program could lead to a partnership to make it easier for these working travellers to find jobs and for tourism employers to hire them. Reaching out to organizations that help these individuals apply for the program in their home countries could give employers a jump on incoming job seekers.
  • Establish a community tourism strategy: If a seasonal inn seeks to attract visitors for the fall colours, but the local museum, the outfitters, and many restaurants are closed as of Labour Day, it’s going to be difficult to ensure the full tourist experience. A coordinated, regional tourism plan that includes labour and housing considerations will make sure all the pieces are in place to provide a memorable visit.

Looking for more on seasonal staffing? Read on.

Destination EmploymentNow into its second year, the Destination Employment program continues to connect unemployed or underemployed newcomers to Canada and hotels suffering from chronic labour shortages. Offered in five regions across the country, solid partnerships are ensuring the successful training and transition of newcomers into supportive workplaces.

Delivery partners in Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada have all engaged with prospective employers. Each one has conducted significant outreach, conducting meetings and presentations throughout their region. A total of nineteen employers were signed onto Destination Employment in just three months.

As the program becomes more established, the number of newcomers employed across the regions is quickly escalating. Cohorts in each region have now completed extensive training, including occupational skills and language, and are now securing work in accommodations across each region.

In the past few months, JW Marriott hired nine program participants to join its new operations opening in Alberta this summer. Two employers in the Greater Toronto Area have employed graduates of the Destination Employment program. In Guelph, a large portion of the May cohort came from Eritrea. All were employed by one hotel, who gave remarkable compliments about being pleased with the hires. The hotel expressed its desire to engage more people from Eritrea; they have now been connected to the Eritrean community in Guelph, leading to a new pool of job seekers available to fill other positions in their organisation. The employer also hired a family member of one of the participants.

Additionally, partners are developing specialized training resources to help both newcomers and employers. The Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and its partner Olds College have now completed the translation of 35 training videos into Tagalog, French, and Arabic. These videos introduce the hotel industry in Canada and give opportunities for additional training post-program.

A key communication element of the program has been showcasing the successes of participating hoteliers and newcomers. Building on inspiring video testimonials from Nova Scotia and Ontario, Destination Employment partner the Hotel Association of Canada has secured a partnership with New Canadians TV (on OMNI channel) to produce a special TV episode and online series solely for Destination Employment. The episode and series will feature the employment opportunities the program offers to newcomers and highlight different successful deployment of program assets.

Destination Employment will be offering upcoming intakes into programs in its five delivery regions. If you are a newcomer or an accommodations industry employer who wishes to participate, learn more about the eligibility requirements and the five regional delivery partners here.