Immigration Vital to Tourism’s Success

By 2032, immigrants will be responsible for 100% of Canada’s population growth. Today, without immigration, Canada’s labour force would be shrinking, as the number individuals retiring is greater than the number of school leavers entering the labour force.

Under such circumstances, immigration is a vitally important subject. Tourism HR Canada recently attended the Conference Board of Canada’s National Immigration Centre meeting both to present and to learn about how to better help new Canadians integrate into the labour force.

Participants discussed a range of topics, including:

  • The current economic outlook for Canada
  • The challenges faced by women and racialized immigrants
  • The difficulty in getting foreign credentials recognized and how to help new Canadians to continue to work in their chosen field
  • Investor and entrepreneur immigration systems
  • The potential impact of AI on the labour force
  • The unique vulnerability faced by immigrants and visible minorities in a shifting labour market

Tourism HR Canada participated in a panel speaking to the tourism perspective on labour market issues and immigration. Tourism relies heavily on immigrants to fill the 1.8 million jobs that exist within the sector. While 23.8% of all jobs in the full labour force are filled by new Canadians, they fill 26% of jobs in tourism. In the accommodation industry specifically, they fill almost 32% of all available jobs.

With the number of young people in the labour force declining, jobs vacancies growing, and tourism unemployment running approximately 1 percentage point below the unemployment rate for the labour force, the sector will look to new Canadians to support future growth.

However, new Canadians may require supports, such as Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program, to enter the labour force. As the number of immigrants coming to Canada has grown in recent years, so has the number seeking additional language and workplace training to help enter the labour market.

The panel discussed the opportunities presented by Destination Employment, a three-year pilot project funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and coordinated nationally by Tourism HR Canada in partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada. With partners in five regions (Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada), the program seeks to employ 1,300 newcomers in a range of hotel jobs and, by testing what methods of assessment and training work best, identify a model that is scalable and could be applied to other industries.

As part of its strategy to build a resilient and inclusive labour market, Tourism HR Canada will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in helping tourism businesses to attract and retain this key demographic.

For a detailed look at Canada’s tourism workforce, download our free Demographic Group Summaries.