1.8 Million and Growing

A record 1.8 million Canadians worked in the tourism sector in 2016, recently released census data reveals. Those 1.8 million individuals account for 10.6% of all employed individuals in Canada. As a sector, tourism is the third-largest employer of Canadians, and is rapidly growing. The number of people employed in tourism has increased 11% since 2011, whereas the total number of people employed in Canada has grown just 3.8% in that same time.

Tourism HR Canada will be releasing a series of reports using 2016 census data. Up first: our national summary, profiling Canada’s tourism employees.

As a service sector, the individuals who work for us are key to tourism in Canada continuing to grow and thrive. To ensure our sector is not just a destination for tourists, but also a destination for Canadian workers, we must understand who works for us now. Tourism`s workforce:

  • Tends to be young
  • Includes a greater share of immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and visible minorities than the overall labour force
  • Has a greater share of individuals working part-time, many of whom are youth aged 15 to 24

As a sector, it employed more individuals than manufacturing, education services, construction, professional, scientific and technical services, or public administration!

Over the next few months, we will be using the census data to profile each tourism industry group and five demographic segments of the workforce that are of particular importance to tourism. Look for these reports in the coming months:

  • Accommodations
  • Food & beverage services
  • Recreation & entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel services


  • Indigenous peoples
  • Youth
  • Mature workers
  • Workers reporting a disability
  • Immigrants & non-permanent residents

These reports present a fraction of the available data—there is also information for each province and territory and for 20 census metropolitan areas. For details on your region, email research@tourismhr.ca.