Month: January 2019

Job and Work Analyst TrainingSix months into a three-year initiative to address skills gaps and labour mismatches, the Future Skills Framework project has been actively gathering and analyzing information to pinpoint the current and emerging competencies Canada’s tourism sector needs to be globally competitive.

While many essential skills remain core to a successful tourism career, professionals must also continually strive to master rapidly changing technologies and be responsive to new demands from growing markets. Jobs have become more fluid; skills once the domain of one occupation are now needed by many.

To keep Canada ahead of the curve, the Future Skills team is consulting with a wide variety of tourism stakeholders. Their feedback will ensure the resulting Future Skills Competency Framework provides employers, employees, educators, students, and governments with a thorough, accessible, customizable tool to manage workforce development.

Several groups have shared their expertise, with many more events to come. Here’s a summary, followed by links to get involved:

International Indigenous Tourism Conference (October): At the inaugural session in Saskatoon, Indigenous tourism operators identified the unique skills and specific knowledge required for success in Canada’s rapidly expanding Indigenous tourism landscape. This feedback will inform policies and programs and demonstrate the acute need to fund an Indigenous Tourism Labour Market Strategy.

Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia’s Tourism Summit (November): Tourism business owners from across Atlantic Canada gathered in Halifax to pinpoint emerging skills and regional HR issues, such as the seasonality of many tourism operations.

Job and Work Analyst Training (January): Tourism HR Canada is now in the midst of facilitating training for consultants and other sectoral organizations. Earlier this month in Ottawa, President and CEO Philip Mondor guided participants through the nine steps of setting a national occupational standard. A second event will be held at the end of January, looking at methodologies for competency writing, facilitation, and job analysis. These skills will guide the individuals analyzing the intelligence collected at the consultation events.

Hotel Association of Canada Conference (February): A breakout session, Defining the Future of Tourism Skills, will see delegates discuss worsening labour shortages and the risks of skills mismatches and employment gaps not being addressed. This will lead into exploring how a competency framework will help better understand the skills and competencies employers are looking for and assist job seekers in identifying the skills they have and how they relate to specific employment opportunities.

Tourism HR Canada has spent 25 years developing a robust library of competencies; dozens of Emerit National Occupational Standards outline the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed for specific professions, from Food and Beverage Server to Travel Counsellor to Hotel General Manager. Along with the feedback from tourism stakeholders, the Future Skills team is mapping these and numerous international standards and competency frameworks to establish a flexible, forward-looking framework that will set the standard for proficient and effective performance.

Tourism professionals and other stakeholders interested in contributing to this groundbreaking project are invited to join the National Advisory Committee and the Content Advisory Panel.

You can also contact to join one of over 20 focus groups to be held over the coming year. What are your expectations for tourism employees? How do you define skilled labour? Your input will be invaluable to ensuring the framework fully reflects the needs of all tourism stakeholders.

blog-action planTourism and hospitality stakeholders from across Canada will gather in Ottawa this March for the annual Labour Market Forum, hosted by Tourism HR Canada.

Individuals representing all levels of business, education, labour, industry associations, and governments will participate in this “sleeves rolled up” working meeting, crafting recommendations and solutions to current and emerging labour challenges impacting the sustainability of our tourism sector.

This year’s key themes reflect the growing recognition Canada’s tourism sector is receiving. Tourist arrivals continue to grow, while visitor spending is also increasing. Tourism is a key employer in every corner of the country, one in ten jobs is related to the visitor economy—jobs ranging from part-time, entry-level work that suits students and others looking for flexibility, to C-suite positions for those aspiring to build a rewarding, lifelong career.

Capitalizing on this increasing demand for Canada’s unique tourism offering requires skilled individuals to provide incredible experiences. But there is increasing competition for workers coming from all economic sectors, as well as changing expectations from employees. Looking at such topics as attraction, retention, and training, forum attendees will collaborate to build on successes and discuss innovative solutions to implement.

On the agenda for 2019:

  • Current labour market data, including some just-in-time stats
  • Labour’s role within the new Federal Tourism Strategy
  • Update on key topics from last year’s event:
    • Temporary Foreign Worker Program
    • Impact of wage changes in Ontario
    • Strategy concerning international students
  • Federally funded labour market projects, for example:
  • Seasonal labour issues
  • Presentations from national tourism associations on their members’ key concerns and activities underway to address these
  • A new career campaign
  • Audacious, outside-the-box solutions to supply, skills, and mobility issues
  • Actions stemming from Tourism HR Canada’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan

Tourism HR Insider will examine the action items and key points of discussion following the event. Be sure to subscribe to keep informed.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In December 2018, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 4.1%, which is 0.9% lower than the rate reported in December 2017, and lower than the previous month (November 2018), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.5%.

At 4.1%, tourism’s unemployment rate was well below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.2%.

All tourism industry groups reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 1.9% in Alberta to 18.8% in Prince Edward Island.

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

Tourism employment comprised 10.9% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of December.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – December  2017/2018
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
December 2017
Unemployment Rate –
December 2018
Tourism 5.0% 4.1%
Accommodations 8.3% 6.3%
Food and Beverage 5.1% 4.4%
Recreation and Entertainment 6.3% 5.3%
Transportation 1.8% 1.2%
Travel Services 3.3% 0.0%
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 December 8, 2018.


Happy new year and greetings as we begin 2019. This is a year to celebrate many successes and to look forward to growth and further important changes. 

For Tourism HR Canada, 2018 was a year of tremendous progress and increased organizational strength. We celebrated our 25th anniversary and wrapped up the Strategic Plan that was introduced three years ago—one that focused on organizational stability, increased flexibility and responsiveness, secured government funding, further diversified revenue strategies, invested in our people, and reinvented solutions to enable us to deliver on our mandate.

It’s been a busy three years that paid off: we achieved nearly all our priorities and further established ourselves as essential to meeting the needs of our stakeholders. Of note was the securing of federal funds for two of our signature projects: Destination Employment and the Future Skills Framework. We also gained the opportunity to work for several new clients, whose projects are essential to shaping the future of their industries. We were very active at the national level on various policy fronts with immigration, labour, tourism research, and transportation. Our Board elected a new Chairperson and sanctioned a new three-year strategic plan.

And so we welcome in the new year with the launch of our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan.

This key publication details how Tourism HR Canada will continue to focus on building a resilient and innovative tourism labour market. It maps out how we will make progress on five strategic priorities, all aimed at addressing two fundamental concerns: filling 100,000s of job vacancies and increasing skills and capacity to ensure individuals and businesses can thrive.

Based on extensive consultation with tourism stakeholders and in response to the Government of Canada’s goal to significantly increase international visitation, these priorities are:

  1. Leading comprehensive labour market research and analysis
  2. Forecasting future skills to foster growth and innovation
  3. Positioning tourism as a destination for employment
  4. Innovating skills development to optimize the workforce
  5. Making strategic investments to ensure organizational strength

Looking forward, we will continue to increase our flexibility and responsiveness, further diversify our strategies, and invest in our people.

As our new strategic plan notes: “Tourism HR Canada has a stronger, more cohesive, and more proactive voice in national public policy. The past few years have also focused on innovation and transformation to ensure the organization can better demonstrate impact, remain financially stable, and offer more customized services.”

This is a vibrant organization with an important mandate. Thank you for sharing in and supporting our work. We anticipate another successful year ahead, and our team looks forward to accomplishing it with the same enthusiasm and commitment.

I encourage you to review the new strategic plan, as it will shape the years to come.

With very best wishes,

Philip Signature

Philip Mondor
President and CEO, Tourism HR Canada

Reskill Project Logo

On December 4th, 2018, Tourism HR Canada and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL) led a one-day consultation event in Port aux Basques, NL. This meeting was part of HNL’s three-year Reskill project, which seeks to reskill non-tourism sector workers for jobs in the industry. It is an innovative approach to employing individuals in rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, building the capacity of existing tourism operators, and creating solutions for tourism labour market shortages.

The Reskill project will reach, engage, empower, and support unemployed individuals facing barriers to employment. Individuals pursuing work in the tourism industry will have access to professional training opportunities, self-directed learning, and on-the-job development with tourism operators in a safe, flexible, and supportive space. Project coordinators will encourage them as they explore their livelihood potential in rural communities in the province.

The meeting was a community needs assessment aimed at identifying the training required for frontline employees, supervisors, managers, and tourism operators. Participants discussed which skills will allow the local tourism sector to thrive, examining:

  • transferrable skills, such as numeracy and communication
  • attitudes, such as adaptability and willingness to learn
  • technological skills
  • business management skills
  • entrepreneurial skills
  • cultural intelligence
  • tourism-specific skills and knowledge
  • sustainable practices

In addition to specific training needs, the meeting gathered information on:

  • the current state of the tourism industry
  • current resources for unemployed and underemployed workers
  • challenges that could affect the program
  • the impact of seasonality

The meeting was attended by representatives from the tourism industry, community leaders, training providers, employment service providers, and representatives from the neighbouring community of Isle aux Morts. Tourism HR Canada and HNL wish to thank all attendees who gave their time and energy to provide important information that will be used to move this project forward.

The Reskill project is supported by the NL Workforce Innovation Centre’s (WIC) Research and Innovation Program. The project is funded by the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement.

Thinking about the future of work, particularly the fragility of many jobs and professions as they are usurped by technology and automation, can be a sobering exercise. While technological advances continue to make our lives easier and more convenient, the often-unintended consequences of these innovations continue to mount, marginalizing work done by humans.

While this reality impacts all sectors of the Canadian economy, the good news is many tourism and hospitality positions have not been greatly affected by these advances and the pace at which these jobs are being lost to automation and technology is slower than in other sectors of the economy.

We all know the speed of change has increased exponentially since carts and horses were replaced by cars and trucks. There once was time to see what new jobs would be created due to advancements in technology, but no longer—it is happening too quickly. And in many instances where automation or technology rendered jobs and even entire industries redundant or uncompetitive, there remained a need for humans to perform important roles within the changed environment…but this, too, is becoming less and less the norm.

For tourism, there is an opportunity here: employers can improve the quality of service and attentiveness to guest needs and further showcase the value of the human connection to the client experience. Tourism operations can embrace advancements that may help alleviate the physical demands of some jobs and help ensure increased workplace safety, while also demonstrating the value-add of personalized service that can only be accomplished through human interaction.

Over the course of 2019, Tourism HR Insider will be highlighting ways our sector can excel because of the human element. These short articles will provide useful and easy-to-implement tactics to tie the client service experience to the human experience through real-world examples and suggestions from HR experts. Stay tuned!