Month: February 2019

Future Skills Framework LogoJoin Tourism HR Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) to discuss critical labour issues impacting the sector’s competitiveness. An industry consultation event will take place February 27, from 9:00 am to 11:30 am, at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, leading into the 2019 BC Tourism Industry Conference.

Existing labour shortages are expected to worsen over the coming years and could be exacerbated if skills mismatches and employment gaps are not addressed. This session is a component of a much larger project that will see the development of a comprehensive Future Skills Framework. Its goal: to redress skills and labour mismatches and provide interactive resources that will assist job seekers, employers, educators, and governments to 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.

Out-of-town transportation costs (of up to $900) will be reimbursed for the first twenty participants, subject to approval.

Email to register for the session.

Tourism comprises 10% of Canada’s workforce—1.8 million workers in 200,000 workplaces. Between accommodations, food and beverage services, travel services, recreation and entertainment, and transportation, tourism industries generate nearly 5% of Canada’s GDP.

Tourism is synonymous with Canada’s identity: it emphasizes social capital and cohesion, promotes inclusion and diversity, and contributes to cultural and heritage preservation.

The International Labour Organization reports that the “high intensity of labour within the industry makes it a significant source of employment and places it amongst the world’s top creators of jobs that require varying degrees of skills and allow for quick entry into the workforce [by under-represented groups]”.

Number of Tourism Workers Outpaces Many Industries
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-400-X2016290

Tourism is outpacing the growth of many sectors worldwide. Investment in the development of tourism products and services is an investment in jobs that help rebuild and transform communities and create economic prosperity. Tourism can create meaningful employment that is accessible to everyone, increasing participation rates in an ever-expanding global economy, while helping incentivize investments in infrastructure and rapidly advancing technology. Increasingly, the tourism sector has become Canada’s classroom for “first jobbers”, providing rich learning experiences that help individuals gain social and employability skills that last a lifetime, and that communities rely on to showcase, preserve, and strengthen local traditions, customs, and culture.

Although tourism attracts many young people and individuals seeking their first Canadian work experience, it also attracts many more—those seeking interesting careers and opportunities that support personal interests or lifestyle needs. With more than 400 types of jobs in the sector, there are opportunities for nearly everyone.


Canada’s Tourism Sector: Number of Workers by Industry

40,000 163,000 287,000 394,000 949,000
Travel Services Accommodation Transportation Recreation & Entertainment Food & Beverage Services

(Source: 2016 Canadian Census)

Young people, students, individuals in transition, and others entering the Canadian workforce for the first time often look for tourism jobs that offer flexible hours so they can accommodate other scheduling demands (such as education or childcare). Individuals seeking permanent, full-time, stable employment are drawn to the variety of tourism professions in outdoor recreation and adventure, events and meeting planning, hotel or food and beverage operations, transportation, travel services, and more. Entrepreneurs are attracted to the sector because it’s good business: the demand for uniquely Canadian tourism experiences is boundless. Mature and retired individuals seek tourism jobs to augment incomes, stay connected to communities, mentor young people, and remain active.

Tourism will continue to be a prosperous economic sector for all regions of Canada. The growth of the visitor economy is outpacing many industries worldwide. Canada is poised to gain a much larger share of the global tourism market and increase its global standing and competitiveness—but to succeed must first attract, develop, and retain talent.

There are many economic, social, and political factors as to why tourism is important—all reasons why investing in tourism employment is important to Canada. Here are the top ten:

  1. Tourism has high job growth potential. Tourism offers jobs that fit personal lifestyles and needs: accessible, entry-level jobs that enable people to earn an income while studying or in transition; stable, well-paid, middle-class jobs with highly sought transferable skills and multiple career paths; C-suite roles for those seeking leadership and advancement opportunities; or employment for individuals looking for adventure and wanting to augment their income.
  2. Tourism provides economic and business development or entrepreneurial opportunities that can help transform waning economies and increase economic diversification. Communities dependent on declining industries are looking to tourism as a sustainable alternative. Tourism draws on the expertise of local people to provide authentic, tailored, compelling, quality experiences. Visitors are attracted to destinations for much more than the vista: they seek transformative experiences involving local culture and customs. Diversifying economies involves an investment in human capital by reskilling or upskilling workers, thereby transforming the local workforce. Because tourism builds on local resources, it can help create reliable and stable income in a region.
  3. Tourism employment is multifaceted and provides a rich learning experience. People in tourism acquire ‘skills for life’: skills that are in demand and transferable to many jobs and help people participate in society or transition into other professions. Tourism operators invest in training to enable people to gain the language skills, Canadian workplace experience, and job-related skills to succeed in the workforce and advance their career prospects.
  4. Tourism offers social advantages. Canada’s tourism sector is highly diverse. Compared to the economy overall, tourism employs a higher percentage of under-represented groups in long-term, well-paid, skilled jobs. Tourism employment is one of the most important social structures that helps groups better integrate into society and the world of work. Because of the broad range of products and services, there are multiple career and worker pathways that enable people to advance rapidly.
  5. Tourism promotes environmental benefits. The products or services offered by many tourism businesses are based on a sustainable business development model. Tourism businesses factor in land use planning and conservation, waste reduction, and eco-efficiency to help reduce ecological impacts. For many, their reputation and the very ‘experience’ they offer capitalize on the fact that they are environmental stewards.
  6. Tourism creates an influx of wealth that contributes to the local economy overall. Income from tourist activities has a significant “spin-off” effect. Money spent on tourism fuels economic activity in many other sectors. For example: infrastructure demands lead to construction jobs; tourists seek additional services in banking and retail; and specialized tourism—such as health tourism—requires increased capacity.
  7. Tourism is a stimulus for infrastructure investments. The influx of new wealth derived from tourism enables communities to invest in infrastructure improvements that will serve more than visitors. Improved roads, expanded technology and communications networks, revitalized community areas, and other investments boost the quality of life for all citizens.
  8. Tourism contributes to political stability and is synonymous with Canadian identity. Scholars have long studied how tourism is a means for political and ideological goals. For example, Edgell (1990) asserts, “the highest purpose of tourism policy is to integrate the economic, political, cultural, and intellectual benefits of tourism cohesively with people, destinations, and countries to improve global quality of life and provide a foundation for peace and prosperity.” In many ways, the Canadian tourism brand is built on a reputation of political stability and safe and secure conditions. Consequently, tourism is synonymous with Canada’s identity: it embodies the very values or ideals that define Canadian culture. Tourism businesses create opportunities for multicultural experiences and the ability to gain skills for cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration.
  9. Tourism has good jobs and jobs at a premium. Good jobs are those with safe working conditions and stable, predictable incomes based on competitive salaries/wages. Good jobs provide opportunities for advancement, have flexible working hours, and accommodate personal needs. Progressive employers invest in ongoing training or professional development, offer health benefits, and create an inclusive culture. These very traits are characteristic of tourism workplaces. Many tourism jobs are also gaining prominence because of the increased value placed on personalized service (especially in a time of increased automation and use of artificial intelligence) and public safety and security. For example, tourism workers are in roles that involve critical surveillance, such as hotel room attendants, taxicab drivers, or front desk agents. Others help monitor and manage a vulnerable food supply chain or provide shelter in times of disaster.
  10. Tourism is everywhere. Tourism employment exists in every corner of Canada. Tourism is foundational to the future of Canada’s economy, with jobs that will continue to flourish even when other industries decline.

Not only is tourism important to Canada’s economy, it is uniquely positioned to increase social capital and contribute to political stability. Bottom line: tourism employment shapes Canada’s identity by helping transform lives and communities. Investments in attracting, developing, and retaining workers are needed beyond the investments made for infrastructure or incentivizing private investments. The sector (and indeed Canada) cannot thrive without a resilient and diverse tourism labour market.

LGBT+ Inclusion Training AnnouncementTourism HR Canada and the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce are proud to announce a series of diversity training workshops for anyone working in tourism.

Canada’s international reputation as a welcoming and diverse destination attracts many LGBT+ travellers, who represent a global market of US$200 billion annually. Businesses that establish themselves as inclusive not only attract a larger share of this market, they also create a more diverse workplace that supports and benefits their staff.

Thanks to funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, tourism operators, staff, and suppliers are invited to take part in an online module and one of many four-hour, in-person sessions scheduled across the country throughout March.

The online training focuses on LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace, including federal and jurisdictional legislation, and is a precursor to the workshop.

The workshop, which is interactive and includes a take-away workbook, includes the following:

  • Introduces terms and definitions regarding the diversity of LGBT+
  • Discusses the impact of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism in the workplace
  • Details why safe space is important and what it looks like
  • Reviews the bottom line, specifically the internal and external benefits of LGBT+ inclusive space
  • Introduces new strategies when interacting with LGBT+ employees and customers
  • Provides an opportunity to put new concepts and learning into practice
  • Gives staff an opportunity to brainstorm ways to create LGBT+ inclusive spaces both proactively and reactively
  • Links training to provincial and federal policies and legislation

A full list of the sessions is below. To register, please click any of the linked times below or visit the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce website.

For more details, please call 1-866-300-7556 or email

Location Date Time Language
Quebec City March 4, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm French
March 4, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm French
Comox Valley March 4, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
Victoria March 5, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
Winnipeg March 5, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
March 6, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm English
Fredericton March 5, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm French
March 5, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
Halifax March 6, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
March 7, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm English
Saskatoon March 7, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
March 8, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm English
Yellowknife March 12, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm English
Kelowna March 13, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
Windsor March 18, 2019 1:00 – 5:00 pm English
March 19, 2019 8:00 am – 12:00 pm English


Number of People Employed in the Recreation and Entertainment Industry by ProvinceTourism HR Canada has released a second set of updated demographic summaries, examining the workforce in the recreation and entertainment, transportation, and travel services industries. These cover businesses ranging from heritage institutions to gambling places, from airlines to tour operators, and travel arrangement and reservations services.

Based on the most recent Canadian census data (2016), these summaries show how many individuals are working in each industry across the country, and analyze such characteristics as age, gender, immigrant status, and education. The summaries also explore the occupations that employ the largest number of people and whether they are employed full- or part-time, year-round or seasonally.

Additionally, the summaries describe industry workforce trends since the 2011 census. Many industry groups saw a rise in total employment numbers, but some, like travel services, saw jobs decrease. Reflecting Canada’s labour force as a whole, the average worker age increased, as did the percentage of immigrant and non-permanent resident workers.

Other highlights include:

  • Some recreation and entertainment occupations had a strong gender divide. Over 75% of outdoor sport and recreation guides, janitors/caretakers, and landscapers identified as male, while more than 70% of accounting clerks and human resource managers were female.
  • Over 30% of the transportation workforce is over the age of 55, making it the highest in the tourism sector, and about 10% higher than the national average. This suggests significant labour shortages are imminent.
  • Travel services had more employees who had immigrated to Canada than any other tourism industry group, at 35.2%.
  • Small businesses are common: 80.4% of transportation businesses had fewer than 20 employees, as did 91% of travel services.

These profiles offer tourism stakeholders from employers to policy makers a detailed look at one of Canada’s fastest-growing economic sectors, offering insights into creating targeted attraction and retention efforts, progressive HR practices, and innovative education and training solutions.

Access these and other summaries from our Labour Market Information section.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In January 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 4.9%, which is 0.7% lower than the rate reported in January 2018, but higher than the previous month (December 2018), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.1%.

At 4.9%, tourism’s unemployment rate was well below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 6.2%.

With the exception of the accommodations industry group, 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 3.1% in Saskatchewan to 15.9% in Prince Edward Island.

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

Tourism employment comprised 11.0% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of January.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – January  2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
January 2018
Unemployment Rate –
January 2019
Tourism 5.6% 4.9%
Accommodations 8.0% 9.6%
Food and Beverage 5.3% 4.6%
Recreation and Entertainment 7.9% 6.9%
Transportation 2.3% 1.8%
Travel Services 4.0% N/A
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 January 19, 2019.


Skills Gain LogoTourism HR Canada congratulates the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick (TIANB) on the launch of its new program aimed at creating more qualified tourism professionals: Skills Gain.

The team at TIANB worked closely with staff from Tourism HR Canada to add a new online option to its existing Skills Gain workshops. The online format addresses industry feedback for a training program that can be accessed 24/7 and does not require travel and the associated expenses (gas, parking, mileage, etc.).

TIANB first hired Tourism HR Canada in 2014 to identify unmet training needs. Tourism HR Canada conducted market research, examining training practices used by businesses and training offered by educational establishments. As part of the project, researchers asked respondents to identify barriers and challenges to current training practices, areas requiring additional skills training, and perceived future workforce needs.

The team collected 174 completed surveys. The vast majority were from small businesses with fewer than ten employees. Just one-third of respondents reported having a training budget. Only about one-quarter offered a formal in-house training program, and very few purchased external training materials. Respondents also reported skills gaps in various functional areas, including general workplace knowledge, essential competencies, and occupation-specific skills.

In response to the survey feedback, TIANB secured funding to develop a series of workshops aligned with the specific needs identified by tourism operators. The organization engaged Tourism HR Canada to develop the resources. The focus: customer-service-related competencies reinforced by some specific occupational training. (Many occupation-specific training needs in the province were being met through Emerit’s nationally available training and certification resources.)

Over the past year, Tourism HR Canada and TIANB renewed their partnership, this time to augment the workshop resources with self-directed online modules covering the five core skill areas identified by industry:

  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Professionalism
  • Communication skills
  • Thinking skills

With the launch of these Skills Gain modules, New Brunswick now has a tailored training solution offered in a flexible format to meet industry expectations.

To learn more about the program, please visit

To access the training, please visit

HT Hospitality Training LogoThe SMART accreditation program has hit another milestone: HT Hospitality Training becomes the first private institution to achieve the SMART+ distinction, highlighting the range of high-quality programming available to those wishing to start or further a career in tourism and hospitality.

Based in Ottawa, Ontario, since 2002, the hospitality training company offers short-term, hands-on courses for unemployed and underemployed individuals. The newly accredited programs are:

  • Housekeeping Room Attendant
  • Banquet Server, In-Room Dining, and Food & Beverage Server
  • Front Desk Agent

Each one weaves together national occupational standards, transferable skills, job performance and health and safety standards, technical skills, and career planning. Students earn multiple certificates, including Emerit, First Aid/CPR, WHMIS, Smart Serve, and food safety.

“We are proud of this wonderful achievement. It affirms the work we have been doing, and we are hopeful that it will open up new opportunities for us to guide even more people in acquiring the essential skills, information, and connections to start a solid career in hospitality and tourism, while serving the needs of our industry partners,” said Norman McEvoy II, President and Director of Operations, HT Hospitality Training.

HT Hospitality Training staff members (clockwise, from top left): Norman McEvoy II, Christine Smith, Louise Smith, Barbara Eade

The team ensures programming keeps pace with evolving industry skill requirements. Staff members must have tourism experience. They are well connected with the local sector and actively seek feedback to reflect current practices in their courses. Past students and tourism employers visit classes to share their employment journeys.

Experiential learning is a priority. Each student completes a supervised three-week placement at an area property, allowing them to apply their learning firsthand and experience how key transferable skills such as customer service, teamwork, and communications play out on the job. Students graduate well placed to gain employment—and economic independence—upon completion of their program.

HT Hospitality Training follows a Social Purpose Business model. Its mandate is to effect change by making a positive impact on students and society by placing vulnerable clients in established, permanent positions in Ottawa’s thriving hospitality sector. Its long-standing funding partnerships ensure students can access the courses at no cost. Ongoing communication with area employers ensures the school focuses on occupations in need of staff and that students complete their training at peak hiring times.

Diversity is a key strength at HT Hospitality Training: students represent a wide variety of equity groups, fostering respect, teamwork, and open communication. They can access many supports to overcome challenges to completing their courses and gaining employment. Newcomers to Canada can arrange additional onsite language training. Program delivery methods are varied to cater to all learning styles. Staff consult with the Ontario Disability Support Program and social workers to provide an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Frequent student feedback identifies further areas for assistance.

“HT Hospitality Training is known for its practical, tailored learning experiences aimed at helping newcomers and others get meaningful tourism jobs,” stated Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “Our sincere congratulations to the team on its dedication to creating a skilled tourism labour force and empowering its students to reach their education and employment goals.”

Click here for more on the SMART accreditation program and application guidelines.

Destination Employment LogoThe Destination Employment project aims to help unemployed and underemployed newcomers secure well-paid, stable, long-term hotel jobs. Equally important is developing a sustainable, systemic model for employment programming—one that leads to economic and social benefits for newcomers and employers and increased collaboration among community-based service providers and stakeholders.

A joint initiative of Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada, this three-year pilot project is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and coordinated by partners in five regions across the country.

Throughout the Maritime provinces, employers and organizations have expressed strong interest in Destination Employment. As the coordinating body for the region, the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC) has been actively conducting outreach to newcomer organizations and accommodation operators.

“Similar to businesses across the country, tourism operators in the Atlantic region are facing chronic shortages of labour,” says Darlene Grant Fiander, NSTHRC Executive Director. “This is affecting their ability to deliver consistent high-quality guest service and impacting business and community growth. The Destination Employment program fills a valuable need for accommodation operators in connecting them to a previously underutilized labour pool. Many of these newcomers will play an important role in positioning the industry for positive growth over the coming years.”

Key partners in the Destination Employment initiative in Atlantic Canada include:

  • Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
  • Western Regional Enterprise Network
  • Valley Regional Enterprise Network
  • New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour
  • Multicultural Association of Fredericton (MCAF)
  • PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada

To recruit potential newcomer participants, NSTHRC has been holding information sessions with settlement associations, government agencies, and Regional Enterprise Networks in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador has an existing program underway; where appropriate, Destination Employment will be offered as an aligning support resource.

Newcomer recruitment sessions were held throughout January in collaboration with two key partners: ISANS in Halifax and MCAF in Fredericton. Over 50 enthusiastic newcomers attended the Fredericton session, seeking information about eligibility requirements, the types of positions available, the typical hours of work, and participating hotels. In February, additional newcomer outreach sessions are scheduled for Charlottetown and Moncton.

NSTHRC recently marked an exciting milestone, successfully placing its first Destination Employment employee with the Atlantica Hotel Halifax. The Atlantica has a history of hiring newcomers through the ISANS Immigrant Youth Employability Program. This successful hiring of newcomers highlights the property’s welcoming environment, employee support network, and opportunities for advancement—the key attributes Destination Employment is looking for in employers.

NSTHRC is currently exploring programming opportunities with newcomer groups to provide classroom and skills-based training in advance of hiring opportunities.

For more on opportunities to get involved with the Destination Program in Atlantic Canada, please visit