Month: May 2020

The recovery of Canada’s tourism workforce requires rapid deployment of resources and a comprehensive engagement strategy that involves all stakeholders. Tourism HR Canada, with a mandate to facilitate, coordinate, and enable human resource development activities which support a globally competitive and sustainable industry and foster the development of a dynamic and resilient workforce, is poised to take the lead on workforce recovery strategies.

With tourism businesses starting to reopen, many need clarity in understanding how to proceed, particularly with physical distancing requirements and maintaining the health and safety of workers and customers. Anxiety stems from not knowing the rules and the difficulty in finding guidance from government and public health officials (and the fact that the rules or requirements are routinely changing). There are other workforce/staffing concerns, like anticipating how many and how quickly workers are required, the type of training needed, and whether the business can procure the necessary health and safety supplies now necessary to operate (e.g., gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, plexiglass shields, special signage).

Recovering from a pandemic is well beyond the experience of most business owners. Knowing how to adapt to the impacts of the virus is difficult; there are many unknown variables and the situation is complex. Many have a feeling of uncertainty and seek guidance.

As Tourism HR Canada works on its own comprehensive online recovery toolkit and resource for tourism businesses, we have discovered various sources of information on workforce recovery during and following a crisis. These include recent recovery plans from the World Tourism Organization, provincial governments, and businesses, as well as guidance material produced from many industry associations. This review led to ten priority recommendations aimed at helping the tourism sector rebound by ensuring it has a post-COVID-ready workforce.

The following are a summary of these recommendations. For the full white paper, please click here.

  1. Practical, explicit guidelines
  • Refer industry to authoritative resources that are maintained, many of which are sector specific.
  • Work with government and health authorities to inform, design, and implement further guidelines that will work for tourism operators.
  1. Flexible, back-to-work employment insurance scheme
  • Work with government to look at employment insurance programs or policies that will be responsive to the unique issues facing tourism, especially because of the gradual recovery period.
  1. Skills training focused on new service and workplace requirements
  • Promote newly created Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit (funded, in part, by the Government of Canada, and made available free of charge) and seek additional resources to expand on the products and services (resources) offered in response to emergent needs.
  • Continue to offer and promote the comprehensive list of Emerit online training courses at no cost. Seek funding to further expand content and delivery format options, as needed.
  1. Overhauled workforce plans: a post-COVID people strategy
  • Provide tools and support to help employers develop post-COVID workforce strategies.
  • Monitor anticipated changes to labour codes and other regulations that impact workforce practices and inform the sector of these changes.
  1. Community labour force development plans and a pan-Canadian tourism labour market strategy
  • Develop and implement a framework for community labour force development planning.
  • Work with the federal and provincial governments, national associations, and other key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive tourism sector labour force strategy that complements the Government of Canada’s (i.e., Destination Canada) tourism marketing and growth strategy.
  1. Tourism job retention and job growth strategy: marketing tourism as a destination for employment
  • Seek government support to revive Discover Tourism as a key vehicle to drive a tourism job retention and job growth strategy.
  • Equip Tourism HR Canada, national tourism associations, provincial and territorial industry associations, and Destination Canada with a common campaign to promote viable careers in tourism while reinforcing messages on safe travel and good service standards.
  1. Newly aligned business and service strategies
  • Provide tools and support to help employers develop new business models and learn to access resources or other supports to refit their operations.
  • Work with governments to seek programs and policies that take into consideration the unique business recovery issues faced by tourism operators.
  1. Tailored strategies for targeted populations
  • Develop workforce strategies that will help increase labour force participation of under-represented groups, i.e., Indigenous peoples, new Canadians, international students.
  • Work with colleges and universities to augment or support needs of the future tourism workforce, by offering access to Emerit online learning and joint credentials and promoting these graduates as job ready for quick deployment to the sector.
  1. Labour market data to inform policy and program decisions
  • Tourism HR Canada continues to study the impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism workforce and disseminate timely, comprehensive information and analysis to help inform policy and program decisions.
  • Tourism HR Canada seeks the renewed agreement with the Government of Canada, with broad support from tourism stakeholders, for the continuation of the Foundational Tourism Labour Market Research mandate.
  1. Credential passport: improving on worker and learner mobility
  • Invest in future proofing the tourism workforce by introducing a universal competency credential, which builds on the Future Skills Framework and fosters an inclusive, more resilient and mobile workforce that can quickly adjust to new workforce demands.

Tourism HR Canada is developing the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit to help the industry get up and running as quickly as possible and build resiliency for the medium- to long-term.

Once completed, the toolkit will be a free resource based on best practices and aligned with the needs of tourism SMEs across the country. It will be a practical web-based program that will include presentations, downloadable worksheets, and tools to help tourism operators in their recovery and reopening efforts.

The contents of the toolkit are based on a series of recent in-depth interviews conducted with SMEs nationwide to understand their current reality and their future needs as the country rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. Since COVID-19 shutdowns began, tourism employment in Canada has decreased by 881,700 jobs—a 43 per cent decrease.

“Canada’s tourism industry will not return to 2019 levels in the near future. As the national workforce development organization working for the tourism sector, our goal is to provide the knowledge and tools to help tourism employers and employees rebound from the crisis and build a resilient workforce,” said Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada.

Created with support from Ottawa-based Alphabet Creative and Vancouver-based Twenty31 Consulting, the toolkit will align with industry-specific tools already available and include five modules focusing on Workforce Development, Communications, Budget & Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Planning.

Each module will provide businesses with a roadmap containing two key components and actionable tools and tips for implementation. The two components are:

  • Plan: Design and establish policies, procedures, and plans for major business and societal disruptions.
  • Respond: Navigate new pressures and address critical questions at the onset of a major disruption; enable rapid response and decision-making to prioritize effectively.

Recognizing there are varying needs and challenges faced within the tourism sector, SMEs can access comprehensive, industry-specific HR content in the following areas:

  • Accommodation
  • Food and Beverage Services
  • Recreation and Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel Services

The toolkit will be updated regularly with new content focused on topics like human resources, crisis communications, marketing, budgeting and finance, and strategic planning—all focused on business recovery and resiliency.

“This timely new resource builds on our 25 years of leading national HR and workforce initiatives for the tourism sector,” states Mondor. “The Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a forward-looking resource that will assist employers, entrepreneurs, and the workforce as a whole to plan for the new normal. It tackles crucial questions facing operators: How do I manage my workforce needs as I gradually re-open? Will my customer-base change and what are their expectations? How do I retool my daily operations to meet changing demand? This resource will guide them through the uncertainty and support their resiliency.”

Sign up at tourismrecovery.ca (English) and relancetourisme.ca (French) to receive access and updates as modules are launched in the coming weeks. The full COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit will be released in June with a French version immediately following.

The Manitoba Tourism Education Council (MTEC) has officially launched the new Clean It Right online training program, which will be free for tourism, hospitality and retail businesses until June 2021. Tourism HR Canada is pleased to join key players the Manitoba Hotel Association, the Manitoba Restaurant and Food Services Association, Travel Manitoba, Tourism Winnipeg, and the Retail Council of Canada in supporting the program.

Clean it Right is an awareness and education program on enhanced cleaning for establishments, with the short-term goal of regaining consumer confidence in returning to businesses post COVID-19.

The purpose of Clean It Right is not to replace the existing business’s cleaning standards of practice, but to enhance them by:

  • Helping people who work in the industry understand the significance of following the cleaning and disinfection procedures by adjusting current practices
  • Helping re‐gain consumer confidence in the industry by making the commitment to provide a clean and safe environment for customers and employees

A 100% pass rate is required to receive individual certification. Businesses who train all cleaning staff will receive a window decal to display. These businesses will also be recognized as a Certified Clean It Right Business in Travel Manitoba’s 2021 Visitor’s Guide.

“We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received and pleased to launch ahead of schedule to assist businesses as they reopen across the province,” commented Shannon Fontaine, CEO of MTEC. “We’re offering it as an online course, self‐study and as classroom training FREE to industry businesses until June 2021.”

The training is for cleaners, but under the “new normal”, cleaners could never keep up with the scope and frequency required to have a safe and clean business. It is recommended that those who typically are “non-cleaning” staff also take this training.

The Clean It Right program is delivered in three individual modules. Participants can choose from:

  • Hotels, Motels and Bed & Breakfasts Module
  • Restaurants and Food Services Module
  • Retail Businesses Module

Upon passing the Clean It Right program, participants will get a temporary certificate and, within a week, a wallet-sized laminated card will be mailed out.

For full details, please visit the Clean It Right website.

TORONTO (May 14, 2020) — The disruption to the global economy from COVID-19 is unprecedented and rapidly evolving with its impact on the Canadian labour market likely to be widespread, long-lasting, and unpredictable. The Future Skills Centre (FSC) and OTEC today announced a rapid response project for the hundreds of thousands tourism and hospitality workers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The goal is to equip these displaced workers to be able to navigate an uncertain future and get new skills for changing jobs by 1) understanding and supporting their immediate needs, 2) mapping their skills and assets, and 3) finding and implementing in real-time new approaches to digitally reskilling and upskilling.

The project includes an online platform where workers will find immediate services to support resilience during the crisis. Through the platform, displaced workers will access information about COVID-related government benefits, training, certifications, tourism and hospitality job opportunities, and options to work in jobs in related industries.

The online platform will also provide support for businesses. Using it, employers will be able to support employees while they are laid off, track the stages of recovery, and respond to new realities — as the industry adapts, new business models arise, and workers will need, for example, new training in safety and protective equipment and spacing.

The project will be launched in phases and tested in Ontario first. FSC and OTEC are working with industry partners like Tourism HR Canada to look for opportunities to share and scale the project in other provinces.

In Ontario, industry partners in the project include the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), the Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC), Tourism HR Canada, and Tourism SkillsNet Ontario.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the tourism and hospitality sector has been rapid and devastating,” says OTEC President and CEO Adam Morrison. “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are now out of work and need help. Through this project, and the broad collaboration it represents, our industry will come out of this crisis more resilient and better prepared to respond in difficult times such as these.”

The tourism and hospitality sector is facing massive closures, layoffs and a tough road to recovery. Data from Statistics Canada shared in early May 2020 shows that, since COVID shutdowns began, hospitality and tourism employment has decreased by 43.3% and the overall unemployment rate for the sector is now 28.8%. The implications require urgent attention for a workforce disproportionately represented by young people, women, and newcomers to Canada.

“The tourism and hospitality sector is going through an incredibly difficult period,” said Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. “This rapid response initiative is one of the ways we will lay the groundwork for recovery. We are steadfast in supporting talent and skills development for workers as a key part of our plan as we emerge from the shutdown.”

This initiative brings together OTEC’s experience in scaled collaboration with employers, community employment networks, and workers, and FSC and its consortium partners’ expertise in research, testing of approaches, digital solutions, and evaluation to better understand what works, how, and for whom. FSC consortium partners working on this initiative include Blueprint, The Conference Board of Canada, and Ryerson’s Magnet.

“At Future Skills Centre, we are focusing our energy on building a forward-looking strategy to support Canada’s shift into the ‘reset’ and ‘rebuild’ phases of economic recovery,” says FSC Executive Director Pedro Barata. “This partnership will create and test prototypes to directly connect and support tourism and hospitality workers now, and give us a roadmap for sustainable solutions that can help with the long-term rebuild of our economy.”

FSC is investing $2.25 million in this rapid response project. This initiative in the tourism and hospitality sector will create a foundation for FSC to support other sectors and organizations across the country in testing how innovative approaches to skills development can contribute to “shock-proofing” our labour force. The Centre will launch a skills innovation response fund in May 2020.

“Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is providing Canadians and businesses in sectors across the country, including the tourism and hospitality sector, with the help they need to face these unprecedented challenges” says The Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “Partnerships like this one will help position the industry and its workforce for success, as we emerge from the crisis.”

ABOUT FSC
Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

ABOUT OTEC
Ontario Tourism Education Corporation is Ontario’s leader in workforce innovation for the tourism and hospitality industry. Known for creating innovative sector-based solutions for the future of work, the not-for-profit organization’s work focuses on skills training, consulting, and research and evaluation to guide workforce strategy and evidence-based investment. OTEC also coordinates tourism and hospitality workforce development efforts across the province. It is in this capacity that OTEC leads an alliance of industry partners called Tourism SkillsNet Ontario.

Media Contacts

Eglantine Ronfard
Future Skills Centre
Phone: 647.262.3706
Email: eglantine.ronfard@fsc-ccf.ca

Luciana Tuzino MacMahon
OTEC
Email: lmacmahon@otec.org

Through April, continuing lockdowns created major economic hardships across a number of industries. With indicators of tourism activity at a standstill throughout the month of April, the tourism sector suffered significant employment losses, just slightly fewer than those seen in March.

Seasonally unadjusted employment decreased by 1,845,200 in April, of which 433,100 (almost a quarter) was in the tourism sector. This followed a tourism employment decrease of 448,600 from February to March.

Since February, the tourism sector—which employs 10% of Canadians—has accounted for 30.3% of the almost 3 million jobs that have been shed (see Figure 1). Within tourism itself, 43.3% of employment has been lost since February—that’s 881,700 jobs. Of those losses, 56.1% were in part-time employment and 43.9% were full-time jobs.

In April, the largest monthly employment losses occurred in the food and beverage services industry group. Employment was reduced by 244,800 between March and April, following a drop in employment of 487,700 in March. The majority of employment reductions in the food and beverage services industry were in part-time jobs. In all other industry groups, the majority of April employment losses came in full-time jobs.

Because the industry groups in tourism vary in size, looking at the percentage decrease in employment gives a more equitable picture of how hard each industry has been hit. In April, employment in food and beverage services decreased 33.9% from March, followed by accommodations (-32.8%), travel services (-23.2%), recreation and entertainment (-20.1%), and transportation (-18.9%).

As a percentage, employment losses since February have been greatest in the food and beverage services industry, followed by the accommodations industry, both of which have seen employment levels cut in half.

Tourism employment continued to drop in all provinces in April. Employment decreases in Ontario and Alberta were smaller than those seen in March, but in all other provinces, employment losses were equal to or exceeded those seen the month prior.

As a percentage of the previous month’s tourism employment, the greatest decreases were seen in Nova Scotia (-39.2%), Prince Edward Island (-37.2%), and British Columbia (-37.1%).

Tourism Unemployment Rate

In April 2020, the unemployment rate in the tourism sector was at 28.8%, which is 23.3 percentage points higher than the rate reported in April 2019, and higher than the previous month (March 2020) when the unemployment rate stood at 15.8%. At 28.8%, tourism’s unemployment rate was well above Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 13.5%. Unsurprisingly, all tourism industry groups have reported higher unemployment rates than the same month last year.

Tourism Industry Group1 Unemployment Rate –
April 2019
Unemployment Rate –
April 2020
Tourism 5.5% 28.8%
Accommodations 8.0% 35.5%
Food & Beverage Services 5.4% 34.3%
Recreation & Entertainment 7.7% 28.0%
Transportation 2.7% 14.8%
Travel Services N/A 22.3%

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 21.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 36.1% in Quebec. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province were well above the rates reported for the provincial economy.

While the number of Canadians employed in tourism has fallen 880,000, the number considered unemployed only increased by 342,800 since February. As Canadians are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking another job, this gap shows that many who were employed are waiting for signals that the job market is recovering before seeking work.

Total Actual Hours Worked by Sector

The current labour market dynamics mean employment and unemployment rates need to be supplemented with an understanding of the hours of work that are occurring within different industries. Although employment has dropped drastically, some businesses are still retaining employees thanks to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS); however, these employees may not be working the full number of hours they normally would.

Figure 8 shows the percentage decrease in total actual hours worked by sector relative to the percentage decrease in employment by sector from February to April. Agriculture is the least affected sector, showing a slight employment decline but an increase in hours worked. Aside from agriculture, all sectors have seen a greater percentage decline in total actual hours worked than in employment. The accommodation and food services sector (which differs slightly to the tourism industry groups noted above) has seen the largest decrease in both employment and actual hours worked as a percentage of February’s total. While employment decreased 49.3%, actual hours of worked declined 65.0%. In February, accommodation and food services employees worked over 31 million hours. In April, they worked just over 10.9 million hours.

Employment by Age Group and Gender

COVID-19 has had an outsized effect on youth employment. While there have been significant employment losses for all age groups, seasonally unadjusted employment for 15- to 24-year-olds decreased by 832,200 since February, an employment drop that exceeded that seen in any other age group by over 200,000.

In each of the last two months, the decrease in employment as percentage of the previous month’s employment level for those 15 to 24 was at least double that of any other age group, dropping 16.4% in March and 21.9% in April. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in April was 27.7% for people aged 15 to 24, compared to 11.6% for those aged 25 and above2. The loss of youth employment is largely a function of the types of industries most affected by shutdowns. Over 30% of tourism jobs and 27% of retail jobs3 are staffed by young people and both industries have been hit hard by business closures.

Tourism often serves as a point of entry to the labour force for young people. Frontline tourism positions are a first job for many Canadians, whether they are beginning a career in the sector or seeking supplemental income through a job that is flexible enough to accommodate their school schedule. This reduction in tourism employment therefore leads to a couple longer-term concerns. On the one hand, it could delay entry into the labour force and reduce employment levels for young people for years to come. Alternately, if these young people seek and find employment elsewhere, it could create staffing difficulties for a labour-intensive industry once demand does return to pre-COVID levels.

This downturn has also hit female employment particularly hard compared to past economic downturns. In the last three recessions in Canada, men had significantly higher job losses than women4. Since February, however, the number of jobs held by women has decreased over 1.5 million, while the number of jobs held by men has decreased by just under 1.4 million. While the difference of 100,000 represents a small share of the 3 million jobs lost in the past two months, there were many more men employed in February than there were women. As a percentage decreased, which provides a more equitable assessment of employment losses among groups of differing size, men’s employment has decreased 14.1%, while women’s employment has decreased 16.7%. Among youth, the gender disparity is greater. Employment for women aged 15 to 24 has decreased 39.6% since February, compared to a decrease of 29.8% for men of the same age.

Going Forward

As restrictions started to be lifted in early May, the effect on employment will be seen in that month’s data, which will be available in June. Any increase in hours or employment are positive, but this will be a marathon, not a sprint.

Because the sector derives demand from local residents as well as tourists, an upward movement in employment levels may be seen as early as May or June, as restrictions on business closures are eased. However, demand for tourism services from locals will not return to pre-COVID levels in the near term, as businesses must comply with ongoing physical distancing rules that will limit the number of individuals at the business at a given time.

How soon demand from domestic tourism can return remains unknown. Travel across intraprovincial borders remains subject to restrictions. Even travel within provinces remains contentious due to fear of introducing COVID-19 from areas with a high number of cases to areas with low case counts. International travel will be the last source of demand for tourism goods and services to recover.

Because of the different demand source drivers, we can expect employment in the tourism sector to improve at different rates depending on the industry—locals are more likely to contribute to demand at restaurants than hotels, for example. But regardless of how much demand they get from locals, tourist demand is obviously a key revenue source for all tourism industries. Importantly, much of that demand occurs in the summer months

The potential for a “lost” summer season is a serious concern and, following that, the ongoing negative economic effects of COVID-19 will act as a drag on demand for several years. Although we hope to see some rebound in tourism employment in May and June, it is unlikely to return to 2019 levels for many years.

For further analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism workforce, visit our Tourism Employment Tracker.


[1]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.

[2] Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

[3] Seasonally unadjusted employment in the retail industry has declined 22.5% since February.

[4] Not Your Typical Recession: Analysis of the April Labour Force Survey, Moffat, Mike & McNally, John https://institute.smartprosperity.ca/content/Labour-Force-Survey

Destination Employment Logo

Hospitality Essentials Offers Free Online Skills Development

Tourism HR Canada, in partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada, is proud to announce the launch of our newest training resources: Hospitality Essentials. These short online courses will help newcomers to Canada and newcomers to hospitality learn the foundational skills to prepare for work in a hospitality environment in Canada.

The microlearning includes a strong emphasis on the roles of Front Desk, Housekeeping, and Line Cook, but many social and cultural topics—working with a team, cultural values in a Canadian workplace—give these courses broader appeal as tools to build transferable skills that can be applied in many workplace settings.

While these short, interactive courses were initially developed for Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program (funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC]), they are available free-of-charge to the entire tourism sector and beyond as informative, interactive, entry-to-practice learning.

The various courses include overviews of key hospitality occupations, specific lessons on vocabulary related to the tools of the trade, and resources on becoming a productive member of a work team.

Hospitality Essentials was developed to be mobile-friendly, allowing participants to access all content via smart phone or more traditional online training platforms.

Please visit the Destination Employment site to register for these free resources and continue your professional development in a safe and easily accessible environment.

Toronto, May 13, 2020 — Centennial College hospitality and tourism students are invited to take advantage of tuition-free online training during the COVID-19 pandemic to equip themselves with nationally recognized certificates, thanks to Tourism HR Canada, which cultivates a world-leading tourism workforce.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to both education and tourism across Canada, yet innovative solutions can help,” states The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “Supported by the Government of Canada, this unique partnership between Centennial College and Tourism HR Canada’s Emerit Online Learning System will give Canadian students access to high-quality, tuition-free training to prepare them for good, well-paying jobs in our tourism sector.”

The industry-validated Emerit online courses equip event managers, food and beverage managers, front desk agents and room attendants with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers. The training courses are built on Canadian National Occupational Standards, and completion of the online certificates meets the demands of tourism employers across the country. This innovative effort will provide support to industry in managing and retaining talent, upskilling the workforce and developing resiliency for the eventual recovery.

“Working with Centennial College to quickly offer industry-sanctioned education programs illustrates the priority we have placed on ensuring we invest in the future workforce,” says Philip Mondor, President and CEO, Tourism HR Canada. “The online learning will help retain the many talented international and domestic students and ensure their academic studies can proceed with limited disruption.”

Students who complete the online courses will be eligible for prior learning assessment recognition towards the two School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts programs accredited by Tourism HR Canada. Both the Hotel Operations Management diploma and the Hospitality and Tourism Administration advanced diploma have received the SMART+ designation, Tourism HR Canada’s highest level of accreditation.

“Preparing for the eventual recovery of the tourism industry provides students with essential skills – and, more importantly, a sense of hope and optimism,” says Centennial College’s Joe Baker, Dean of the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts. “Centennial is committed to students’ success by providing experience and mentorship to underpin a new generation of exceptional graduates. This collaboration is one bred from resilience and innovation – two elements reflected throughout the design of the Emerit skills training and certification.”

– 30 –

Media contact: Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, Centennial College,
416-605-6012 / mtoljagic@centennialcollege.ca

As tourism, hospitality, and retail businesses start to re-open, or open to the public, some customers will be hesitant to travel, shop, and eat out during the post COVID-19 period.

To help these businesses regain consumer confidence in visiting their establishments, the Manitoba Tourism Education Council (MTEC) is launching a new training program later this month, Clean It Right.

“The Clean it Right program has been developed with the goal to increase the safety of guests, visitors and workforce in the tourism, hospitality and retail industry,” explains Shannon Fontaine, MTEC’s CEO. “This training will help people who work in the industry understand the significance of following the cleaning and disinfection procedures by adjusting current practices.”

Clean It Right focuses on enhancing proper cleaning and disinfection or sanitizing areas specific to each type of business, but Fontaine notes it is not a program to teach participants how to be cleaners.

“Clean It Right is an awareness and education program that considers our current situation given COVID-19, but will also be a program that has long term benefits for business,” she adds. “The commitment to providing a clean and safe environment for customers and employees will give a business a competitive edge.”

MTEC is offering the program free of charge to Manitoba businesses in tourism, hospitality, and retail through to June 1, 2021. It can be accessed online, in class, or by self-study. Individuals who complete the program will be issued a certificate, and businesses that train all their cleaning staff will receive a window decal to show the public they are committed to providing a clean and safe environment.

For more information, please contact MTEC.

By Joe Baker (published by Canadian Lodging News)

Joe Baker, Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial CollegeIf there is one thing the hospitality industry is universally known for, it’s our ability to celebrate.  On a small scale or on a large scale, we add value to our guests and clients when we help them celebrate together. We amplify the moments and milestones in people’s lives. And we love to do it for ourselves and our businesses as well.  As we re-enter the realm of a post-COVID19 world, I believe we need to temper our expectations of the grand reopening of Tourism 2.0. It doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. It just means we need to help jumpstart the world in a measured and controlled way to ensure we get this right.  In fact, I would argue that the next few years may see the world opening and closing again and again as we wrestle with COVID19.  So we may even get good at it.

OK so what now?  What does this mean for hospitality businesses?  For those of us who are organizational leaders, it means we have the opportunity to prepare our teams for a slow and gradual re-opening. It means we as leaders need to exercise our emotional intelligence and discipline, knowing that rushing into “doors wide open” could put our teams and our clients at risk. So how do we re-open with hospitality industry panache while preserving the safety of our people?  We do it the way we have always done it. But with a twist.

Planes will hit the skies, hotels will open, restaurants will serve, and tour operators will guide us.  With the time tested principles of service quality and with the newest addition to our collective repertoire – an elevated safety experience. We will have to learn and show others how safety can become a big part of our service promise.  I envision branded, stylish facemasks, a resurgence of the white glove service standard. I can see hand sanitizer and hand washing equipment being elevated to match brand standards. And I see a great opportunity for service teams to take a concierge approach to safely gathering and physical distancing, not to mention an even bigger leap into leveraging technology as part of our service experience.

Let’s face it, this is a less-than-ideal way for us to emerge from this pandemic.  But it does present an opportunity. And in the competitive industry we work in, there will be early adopters and market leaders. So as we find ourselves with more time to think these days, we might want to put our focus on how to embrace the new reality we are about to enter as physical distancing measures are gradually lifted, as travel restrictions are lessened and as we fight to get back to what we love to do best – serve others and thrive while doing so. What can you and your organization do now to prepare to re-open, knowing we will not have access to our usual “grand re-opening” technique? What can we do to dig deep now, learn something new, and create memorable experiences for a world that will need hospitality and celebration more than ever?

Joe Baker is dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College, Toronto. He is also on the Board of Directors of Tourism HR Canada. Follow Joe @thejoebaker.