Like so many sectors, tourism is facing serious labour shortages that threaten individual businesses as well as Canada’s productivity, prosperity, and competitiveness.
To be competitive in today’s global marketplace, our country depends on having a continuous supply of skilled, qualified workers, whether from domestic or international sources. That supply depends on labour and learner mobility. The lack of systemic, inter-provincial and international credential-recognition mechanisms, particularly for non-regulated occupations, is one of the biggest barriers to mobility.
The federal government is working to change this by improving Canada’s collective capacity and ability to recognize foreign credentials. Through research and partnerships, Tourism HR Canada is striving to facilitate systemic change that will result in improved foreign-credential-recognition processes, particularly in the tourism sector.
What Does “Credential Recognition” Really Mean?
Credential recognition simply refers to the process of verifying and assessing an individual’s skills, competencies, and credentials in a fair, consistent, transparent, and rigorous manner.
This definition of credential recognition is relatively new. In the past, “credentials” typically referred only to formal learning and education (e.g., professional designation, degree, or diploma). That’s why credential-recognition mechanisms for academic degrees and certifications already exist for regulated professions such as medicine, engineering, and many trades. But this emphasis on formal learning has resulted in non-regulated occupations being largely overlooked.
If the Canadian tourism sector is to achieve true labour mobility for its more than 400 non-regulated occupations, we must have better mechanisms for assessing, comparing, and recognizing informal and non-formal learning such as self-study, workplace education, training, and experience.
In other words, we need to move from a “certificate-based” to a “competency-based” system.
The Benefits of a Competency-Based System
The biggest issue with a certificate-based system is that there are so many different types and sources of credentials.
As a general rule, certificate-based credentials are tied to the institutions that issue them. From a hotel chain’s five-star service certificate to a particular college’s hospitality diploma, each credential stands alone and, too often, isolated.
More and more, education, government, and industry stakeholders are realizing how this isolation impedes not only credential recognition, but also labour and learner mobility.
At the end of the day, employers simply need to know whether candidates have both the appropriate education and the experience—the credentials—for the position they are seeking to fill.
When there are accurate, reliable mechanisms in place that enable employers to assess skills and credentials, everyone wins: employers gain access to more qualified candidates and individuals gain access to positions that match their abilities.
Creating a Systemic Foreign-Credential Recognition (FCR) Model
The federal government’s FCR program is aimed at bringing about systemic change across Canada by improving our collective capacity and ability to recognize foreign credentials.
Tourism HR Canada strives to support this systemic change in a number of ways.
We collaborate with other sectoral organizations and national stakeholders.
We foster good practices by engaging in mutually beneficial credential-recognition activities with educational institutions and employers.
By working to increase labour and learner mobility, we hope to create opportunities for individual workers and strengthen their confidence in the benefits of life-long learning.
Current Research and Pilot Projects
Over the past ten years, there have been numerous studies looking at the issue of equivalency assessment and examining ways to recognize prior learning. For example, recent studies suggest that a competency-based model may be adopted successfully not only by the tourism sector, but also by other industries and in other countries.
Tourism HR Canada is currently conducting research and undertaking pilot projects to develop and test systems and tools for both competency-based assessment and credential recognition. The goal is to use the results to facilitate the integration of internationally trained workers into the Canadian tourism workforce.
Working Together: Opportunities to Collaborate
Tourism HR Canada undertakes collaborative partnerships with a variety of organizations to bring about systemic change and increase labour and learner mobility, both nationally and internationally.
By working together, we can pursue shared objectives, undertake complementary activities, and enhance communication with stakeholders.
- Are you involved in prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR)?
- Do you have an interest in the issue of credit and learning transfer?
- Is program articulation on your to-do list?
- Does credential recognition keep you up at night?
If so, we’d like to hear from you! Contact us.
Tourism HR Canada Partnerships Around the World
World Education Services and Tourism HR Canada are working together in the areas of credential evaluation and skills assessment to facilitate the hiring and training of internationally trained individuals within the tourism sector.
The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) and Tourism HR Canada partner on a variety of related projects. For example, the CICIC now features profiles for many unregulated occupations, including those in tourism.
The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and Tourism HR Canada are working towards the creation of a Canadian Learning Transfer System. Through the ACCC’s Canadian Immigration Integration Project, Tourism HR Canada is also promoting the tourism sector and facilitating the assessment and training of prospective immigrants.
Tourism HR Canada is working closely with the stakeholders of CARIBCERT, a certification program designed for the Caribbean tourism industry, to achieve reciprocity and increase labour mobility between the Caribbean and Canada.
The Federation of Dining Room Professionals and Tourism HR Canada are working together to achieve program articulation and increase labour mobility for those working in food and beverage.
Services Sector Education and Training Authority and Tourism HR Canada are working on the issue of certification and recognition of qualifications and standards for event management. As part of this, the Event Management Body of Knowledge Executive (EMBOK) and Tourism HR Canada are partnering to build on the EMBOK framework to harmonize event management standards globally.