Reinforce the priority of the development and engagement of an Indigenous workforce; focus on seeking resources to launch a comprehensive strategy.
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has been working with Tourism HR Canada for two years, singularly focused on mounting a pan-Canadian strategy aimed at increasing the number of well paying, sustainable Indigenous tourism jobs and better positioning Canada as a destination for quality Indigenous tourism experiences.
This year’s Forum ignited a passionate discussion on the need to remain steadfastly focused on developing a strategy and seeking funding to engage the Indigenous workforce.
Although the tourism sector has a higher percentage of Indigenous workers than the Canadian workforce overall, it only accounts for 3.5% of our workforce, and the unemployment rate of Indigenous people is nearly double (excluding people living on-reserve) that of the Canadian population overall.
Tourism is an opportunity for employment and for investment by Indigenous entrepreneurs, especially at a time when the demand for Indigenous tourism experiences far outstrips capacity.
ITAC and Tourism HR Canada will enlist in the broad support of the sector to mount a strategy and will continue to work with partners to help communicate with governments on the urgency and gravity of the matter.
Primary aims of their joint project include:
- Increasing the productivity and competitiveness of Indigenous tourism businesses
- Contributing to the increase of well paying, stable jobs through the development of new products and services, and by attracting, training, and retaining Indigenous workers in Indigenous tourism businesses
- Improving the human capital practices of Indigenous tourism employers
- Strengthening partnerships and building capacity with service providers and labour market partners