Author: Tourism HR Canada

Over 80 members of Canada’s tourism research community recently gathered to network and learn about the latest tourism research from statisticians, academics, students, and destination marketers. The thought-provoking Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada Chapter Conference was held September 18-20 on Treaty Six land in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Statistics Canada led a workshop prior to the conference, showing how to access the highly detailed information that can be gathered from the Frontier Counts, the National Travel Survey, and the Visitor Travel Survey, as well as Tourism HR Canada’s own Rapid reSearch Tool. The afternoon saw attendees visit Wanuskewin Heritage Park for a case study on building authentic Indigenous tourism experiences.

Delegates were welcomed to the conference’s official opening by Lyndon Linklater, a traditional knowledge keeper and storyteller and a citizen of the Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six.

Highlights of the two-day event included keynotes from Stephen Pearce of Tourism Vancouver on how to develop a film tourism destination by working hand-in-hand with the film industry, and an inspirational discussion on how to “find your awesome” by Kerri Twigg of Career Stories Consulting.

Attendees learned about the development of Indigenous tourism experiences based on work by Tourism Saskatchewan, Glyph Creative Strategy, and Insightrix Research and the insights they have acquired.

Some of Canada’s leading tourism researchers, including Michel Dubreuil of Destination Canada, Larry Filler of Environics Analytics, and Greg Hermus of the Conference Board of Canada, shared innovative approaches to filling in data and information gaps.

There were 27 breakouts on a wide range of topics, ranging from the impacts of climate change on tourism to wine tourism to overcrowding to Canadians’ sentiments towards the sector. Delegates were also able to participate in several workshops to learn about such subjects as modern brand communication and place marketing and the economic importance of tourism as displayed by the Tourism Satellite Account.

Calum MacDonald, Tourism HR Canada’s Vice President of Labour Market Intelligence and member of the TTRA Canada Board of Directors, showed delegates how to access information on the tourism sector’s labour force using data available through the Rapid reSearch Tool. This online portal allows users to pull customized data for the tourism sector from the census, labour force survey, business counts, and provincial-territorial human resource modules, as well as projections of labour supply and demand for the tourism sector.

He also presented the findings of two surveys of Canadian residents on their perceptions of tourism as an economic driver and as a place of work. The conclusion? As we grow the tourism industry, it is important that we continue to create well-paid, career-oriented tourism employment, as well as the frontline jobs that provide an entry point to the labour force.

The conference recognized the work of the next generation of tourism researchers via poster and video presentations by students from the University of Manitoba, Vancouver Island University, the University of Guelph, and Ryerson University.

The winner of the Gordon Taylor Award for Undergraduate Research was Katherine Lo of Ryerson University for her paper built on a qualitative study (based on in-depth interviews with hotel professionals) titled “Skills Gaps in the Luxury Hospitality Sector: The Case of Toronto”.

Tourism HR Canada proudly sponsored the Graduate Researcher Award, given to Brittany Lutes from the University of Guelph for her paper “You bragged I booked: an exploration of how social network behavior influences destination choice”. The research was conducted in collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia and examined two distinct groups of social media users. She concluded that those with a tendency to conform are inclined to visit destinations that are trending within their social network, while those who tend to brag or seek out social return prefer to travel to destinations that are unique or perceived to be superior to those trending on social media.

The next TTRA International Conference will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 16 to 18, 2020. The TTRA Canada Chapter Conference will return in September 2021, hosted in Kingston, Ontario.

Tourism stakeholders continue to bring real-world guidance to the Future Skills Framework, a three-year initiative to create a comprehensive and sustainable collection of competencies and essential skills for the tourism sector.

Sixteen industry experts from across Canada gathered in Ottawa, Ontario, on September 24 and 25 for two days of consultation towards content of the framework. Their main goal was to consolidate the framework’s building blocks, ensuring its applicability to the real-life context of tourism operators.

The wealth of experience in the room quickly became evident when those present showed their ability to delve into the details of individual competencies, while condensing the structure of the framework as a whole down to its essentials. A very collaborative atmosphere manifested itself over the course of the two-day meeting.

By making immediate changes to the framework based on consensus in the room, the participants were able to significantly strengthen the framework ahead of an in-depth meeting on the framework’s Professionalism, Excellence in Service Delivery, and Human Capital pillars, which will take place on November 5 and 6 in Ottawa.

This meeting, and similar ones to be held across Canada, will subject the framework to industry input and feedback, while continuing to expand it with emerging skills highlighted by experts.

There are still spaces available at the November session. If you are a tourism professional who would like to be part of future-proofing the industry’s labour market, please do let us know.

To be informed of consultation events in other areas of Canada, please email FutureSkills@TourismHR.ca.

Destination Employment Atlantica HotelNow into its second year, the national Destination Employment program continues to successfully help newcomers acquire the knowledge and experience they need to gain meaningful employment in Canada.

The program provides skills and language training to newcomers to Canada in five regions: Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Participating employers gain resources to help onboard the new staff, including the establishment of a robust mentorship program.

The pilot program enters the fall season with regional delivery partners working tirelessly to organize cohorts for newcomers in their respective regions. The following sessions are either planned or already underway:

  • The Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC) started a new cohort on September 23.
  • The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) commenced classes for its fall cohorts in Regina and Saskatoon, both on September 9.
  • In Ontario, OTEC Workforce Solutions has three cohorts scheduled to start, one on October 7 in Guelph, another on October 7 in Ottawa, and a third on November 25 in Toronto.

Newcomers interested in future sessions in any of the five participating areas can explore the program requirements and connect with their regional delivery partner here.

Hoteliers interested in participating in the program by employing program graduates are asked to contact destinationemployment@tourismhr.ca.

With success stories such as these, the program is making an impact both on the lives of newcomers and on the labour shortages challenging hospitality employers.

Toronto, Ontario, September 26, 2019: Today, OTEC Workforce Solutions announced that President and CEO, Victoria Behune, has decided to retire effective December 31, 2019. Behune joined OTEC on March 20, 2006 and has served as President and CEO for almost 14 years. She has been a dynamic, visionary, entrepreneurial leader who has overseen the growth and development of OTEC during her tenure by building strong teams and expanding the organization’s portfolio and social impact through innovative products and services. She guided OTEC’s most critical operations, finances, marketing and management processes supported by an experienced and progressive Board of Directors.

A passionate tourism executive and leader, Behune has contributed to help building Ontario as a successful tourism destination by ensuring that well-trained, customer centric and knowledgeable employees are ambassadors to the sector and tourism regions. Under her leadership, OTEC has transitioned to serve the diverse needs of the tourism and hospitality industry, due to economic, political and demographic shifts and changing tourism trends.

Behune has also contributed significantly to Ontario workforce development strategies and the needs of the industry for skilled labour due to shortages. She has helped spearhead new strategic initiatives, as well as technology-based and innovative solutions, to support the sector’s need for skilled labour. She, along with the team at OTEC, established new models for partnerships with government, education, tourism regions and employment serving agencies serving youth, Indigenous peoples, refugees, new immigrants, mature workers and persons with disabilities.

Prior to joining OTEC, Behune served as Vice-President, Membership, Travel and Marketing at CAA Mid-Western Ontario. She was the Vice-President Revenue Development and Partnerships at Tourism Toronto and the Director, Marketing and Visitor Services at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. She has held other progressive senior leadership roles in her 45+ year career in tourism and hospitality.

Behune has made a significant impact to the sector that has spanned the areas of destination management, attraction and destination marketing, experiential and cultural tourism development, labour market and workforce development and travel services management. She has been on the Board of Tourism HR Canada for almost 14 years helping to provide guidance to the national sectoral association also leading on workforce development issues. Previously she has led or served on several DMO, Community and Academic Boards and Committees, including as President of Attractions Ontario, Chair Vaughan Tourism, President of Oakville Arts Council and was on the inaugural Board of Destination Ontario (formerly OTMPC).

“On behalf of the OTEC Board of Directors, we would like to thank Victoria for her passion and dedication to OTEC throughout her tenure as President & CEO. She has been an inspiring and progressive CEO who has guided OTEC’s development and progression into a leading workforce development organization. We would like to congratulate her on her next chapter,” remarks John Wilkinson, OTEC Chair.

Behune will continue to serve as President and CEO of OTEC until December 31, 2019. Starting in 2020, she will continue to assist and associate with the organization. The new President & CEO, who will lead OTEC starting on January 1, 2020, will be announced shortly by the Board of Directors.


About OTEC
OTEC is an Ontario-based independent, not-for-profit training, consulting & workforce development organization that delivers high quality, creative and branded solutions for the development and growth of a professional, skilled workforce. It is the leading source support for communities to build workforce capacity and for companies to attract, retain, and develop high performing employees and become Employer of Choice organizations. OTEC is the premier source for Customer Service training and strategy development, Tourism Ambassador training, leadership skills training and certifications and education products and services for tourism, hospitality and service oriented organizations in a wide range of industry sectors both nationally and internationally.

As the lead source for tourism labour market information, Tourism HR Canada consistently analyzes new data on the workforce. These analyses help inform practices and policies around labour issues, such as recruitment, retention, compensation, training, and benefits.

A key resource: the Canadian census, which contains highly detailed facts on the demographic makeup of the people who staff jobs in the industry.

The most recent census (conducted in 2016) provided us with customized data, including a detailed look at the gender of the 1.8 million employees working in Canada’s tourism sector. The numbers are broken down for specific positions and for each province and territory.

To make this information easy to access, we’ve produced a series of interactive tables that allow you to explore the gender balance of dozens of tourism occupations. Users can select the national picture or any specific region.

Highlights:

  • Tourism’s labour force has a higher ratio of female workers (51.4%) than the full Canadian labour force (48.2%). This holds true across each province and Yukon, but not the Northwest Territories or Nunavut.
  • Based on a workforce of over 1.8 million, there are over 58,000 more females working in tourism than males.
  • Travel services employs a predominately female workforce (70.7%), while transportation employs a predominately male workforce (71.8%). In the middle are accommodations (60.3% female), food and beverage services (57.7% female), and recreation and entertainment (47.2% female).
  • Of the managerial roles listed, human resources managers has the highest female representation (67.6%), while managers in transportation are most likely to be male (76.9%).
  • Of all occupations, the roles of maîtres d’hôtel and hosts/hostesses are female dominated (89.7%), a trend that holds from region to region, except in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon.
  • Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs were by far more likely to be male (93.9%). This was true in every part of the country, with some regions’ taxi industries being 100% male.

Applying this information to attraction and retention efforts, employers may want to look at how their policies could better support staff or better diversify their workforce. For example, slightly more females than males report looking after aging parents—they’ll be seeking flexible schedules. Changes to legislation on parental leave are translating into more men taking additional time to care for young children—they’ll be looking for workplaces that make this transition as easy as possible. Industries where females make up a high proportion of frontline roles but a low proportion of managerial roles should examine their practices around promotion, mentorship, and training.

Explore the interactive tables below to find information on specific regions and/or occupations. To see the underlying numbers, right-click on a particular occupation and select “Show data”.

Looking for more data? View our complete offering of demographic profiles.

Destination Employment LogoTourism HR Canada staff met with representatives from World University Service of Canada (WUSC) last week to learn more about WUSC’s Pathways to Employment for Refugees program. The two organizations discussed potential synergies with Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program, which focuses on providing training and job opportunities to newcomers to Canada. Both programs are funded through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

While the focus of each program is different, there are many similarities, leading to opportunities for the two initiatives to benefit from working collaboratively.

The Pathways to Employment for Refugees pilot is a new initiative being implemented in partnership with Camosun College and WUSC. The pilot will build on WUSC’s experience with the Student Refugee Program and Camosun College’s experience delivering employment skills training in Kenya and Canada.

World University Service of Canada LogoThe pilot aims to:

  • Engage private sector and community partners to strengthen understandings of refugee settlement challenges such as access to employment
  • Build the capacity of employers to offer employment opportunities to resettled refugees
  • Facilitate the involvement of private sector and community partners in refugee sponsorship
  • Increase the preparedness of resettled refugees through sector-specific job skills training, pre- and post-arrival

Early discussions with WUSC have also identified opportunities to further pilot training assets developed for Destination Employment, in order to grow user feedback. This will support efforts to continually update and enhance the training resources associated with Destination Employment to ensure they are meeting the needs of participants.

Jon Kiely, Vice President of Product Innovation for Tourism HR Canada, will sit on WUSC’s Project Advisory Committee as a proxy for Destination Employment lead Stacie Travers, who is currently on parental leave.

For future updates on this and other employment initiatives, be sure to subscribe to Tourism HR Insider.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In August 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 4.9%, which is 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate reported in August 2018, but higher than the previous month (July 2019), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.7%.

At 4.9%, tourism’s unemployment rate was well below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.3%.

With the exception of Accommodations and Recreation & Entertainment, all tourism industry groups have reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 0.0% in Prince Edward Island to 6.5% in Alberta.

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

Tourism employment comprised 11.4% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of August.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – August 2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
August 2018
Unemployment Rate –
August 2019
Tourism 5.1% 4.9%
Accommodations 3.1% 5.1%
Food and Beverage 5.8% 5.3%
Recreation and Entertainment 4.1% 4.6%
Transportation 5.9% 5.3%
Travel Services 3.1% 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 August 17, 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.