Month: June 2019

Tourism HR Canada spent June 12th to 14th in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, participating in several events related to determining the future skills needed by the tourism workforce. Team members interacted with a variety of tourism stakeholders, exchanging valuable insights on the short- and long-term opportunities and challenges facing the sector.

The Need for Flexible Employment

The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) held its fourth annual Tourism Workplace Leadership Conference on June 12th. This one-day learning and networking conference connects educators, frontline employees, mid-level managers, and those who are Emerit certified or are currently pursuing certification.

Tourism Workplace Leadership ConferenceCalum MacDonald, Tourism HR Canada’s Vice-President of Labour Market Intelligence, presented at the Educator Forum, a venue for trainers and educators to explore the opportunities and challenges of guiding youth into long-term, rewarding careers in tourism. This session provided an overview of the opportunities available to youth and others setting out in their careers, and the tools and resources available to workers and employers.

A critique often levelled at tourism is that the jobs are seasonal, low-paying, and precarious. But this ignores who fills tourism jobs: over 30 percent are occupied by young people aged 15 to 24. They fill a higher share of jobs in tourism than in any other industry.

For those in school full-time, as many of these youth are, a part-time or seasonal job meets the needs dictated by their schedule. The low earnings associated with those jobs are often because they are part-time, seasonal, or may be supplementary to other income.

These are also often first jobs: a valuable place to learn skills and an initial entry point to the labour market. Over four in five Canadians say skills learned working in the tourism industry are relevant (37%) or somewhat relevant (46%) to developing skills that would allow them to be successful in their career. Labelling these jobs as precarious ignores the fact that starting in a “low-skilled” job does not preclude using it as a springboard to a career in the sector.

Future Skills Are Present Concerns

Tourism HR Canada also presented on the future skills needed by the tourism workforce. This session showed how the changing nature of work and increasing economic importance of tourism provide new opportunities to support tourism growth.

Attendees learned how Tourism HR Canada’s Future Skills Framework introduces a new approach to addressing mismatches between skills and labour to help employers and workers pinpoint opportunities to perform more effectively.

Delegates discussed the general concern people are feeling about the economy. Despite economic numbers being quite good (including the lowest unemployment rate in forty years), people feel there is an inherent instability in today’s economic systems and are not convinced tomorrow will be as good as today.

Further, the skills workers require are changing. Individuals are less likely to stay in a single job or career. Instead, they will work in many unrelated fields, or in multiple environments at the same time. The complexity of the skill sets required focus on adaptability and flexibility.

Having a breadth of skills rather than a deep mastery of one single set of skills is the future. The demand for skills that can be replaced by technology is declining, while the demand for advanced cognitive skills, socio-behavioral skills, and skill combinations associated with greater adaptability is rising.

Of further concern: Artificial Intelligence and machine learning threaten to force people out of work as industry finds ways to automate jobs currently filled by people. The tourism sector is somewhat immune to these trends due to the service-oriented nature of the industry and the need for flexibility. One of the benefits of human staff is adaptability. After the lunch rush, your cashier can clean tables and help prepare for the dinner rush. People are flexible. So far, machines are not.

But automation can replace many tasks, and there is potential for disruption as individuals need time to learn new skills and may find their skills becoming obsolete faster than they can retrain. The workers who will succeed? Those who engage in constant skill upgrading by numerous means. This requires having solid foundational skills that allow for mobility between jobs.

Taking the Lead on Skills

Following the Workplace Leadership Conference, Tourism HR Canada led a two-day discussion of the Future Skills Framework project with subject matter experts from across Canada.

Future Skills Framework Focus GroupThe Future Skills Framework will be a library of competencies required by workers in the Canadian tourism sector. The session identified and built key competencies that embody leadership in tourism.

The focus group was facilitated by Lyne Marcil, Director, Psychometric Services. She guided participants through various questions and prepared material to get input and feedback on the overall structure of the framework. The main objectives of the session were to:

  • Review and discuss the Future Skills Framework categories and competencies
  • Review and develop competencies relating to leadership in the tourism industry

Thanks all those who gathered in Saskatoon to develop competencies and evaluate the Future Skills Framework. The two-day focus group exceeded expectations and the team is grateful to have had the chance to work with the subject matter experts who attended.

Once the data gathered from the event is analyzed, an updated framework will be drafted. The newly drafted framework and competencies will be developed over the summer and presented to industry in a series of focus groups being hosted throughout the fall and winter of 2019-2020.

If you would like the opportunity to review the framework and provide your feedback, please sign up here.

Destination Employment LogoTourism Saskatchewan, through its education department, the Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC), is a proud partner in the Destination Employment program, which helps newcomers to Canada gain meaningful employment in the tourism sector.

With generous funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada launched the three-year pilot program in June 2018. Saskatchewan was among five regions chosen to receive funding for the program. Delivery of the program in Saskatchewan is led by STEC, working with the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association (SHHA) and other partners.

Tourism is one of the world’s most rapidly growing sectors. Maintaining an adequate, skilled labour force is a challenge. Estimated growth in tourism between now and 2035 will require the creation of jobs at a faster rate than that of labour force growth, thereby limiting the expansion of the industry and compromising services.

Destination Employment assists hoteliers and accommodation businesses with attracting new employees and retaining valuable staff. The benefits are wide reaching and enrich communities through increased economic activity, greater opportunities for Saskatchewan residents, and a more diverse tourism sector that provides exceptional service.

Delivery partners working with STEC include the Saskatoon and Regina Open Door Societies and the Saskatoon Industry Education Council. Currently, ten Saskatchewan businesses are active employers in Destination Employment. The SHHA plays a role in identifying hotels that wish to participate.

Day 1 of classes for Destination Employment participants in Saskatoon

Fifty-seven individuals, selected by the delivery agencies, recently completed the program. At the end of training, program participants are matched to employers.

By supporting them in areas of language proficiency, workplace safety concepts, and employment-related skills, Destination Employment positions some of Canada’s most vulnerable residents on a pathway to stable employment and job advancement.

“It is a privilege for STEC to lead this initiative in Saskatchewan and work with people from around the world who have come to Canada for a new start,” Carol Lumb, Director of STEC, said. “They bring a wealth of knowledge and skills with them that strengthen Saskatchewan’s tourism sector.”

Click here for more on Destination Employment, including how to apply.

The Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada Chapter has launched a new microsite detailing the programming for its annual conference, held from September 18-20 this year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Among the highlights is a workshop hosted by Statistics Canada, offering hands-on experience with the robust data the agency provides, including Frontier Counts, the National Travel Survey, and the Visitor Travel Survey. Statistics Canada has changed and updated many of its tourism-related data products over the past few years, and those looking to navigate them and extract key information will be expertly guided through these changes by Statistics Canada personnel.

Moving Forward, this year’s conference theme, invites tourism researchers to be forward thinkers: to rediscover Canada’s tourism industry through various lenses that acknowledge the past while providing guidance for our future. A future that inspires authentic cultural experiences for travelers, while providing interactive opportunities for practitioners. Moving Forward calls for impactful tourist experiences across various niche tourism markets, bringing destinations to life and providing tourists with unforgettable travel experiences. Canada’s future tourism seeks to break down barriers and empower stakeholders to work together to deliver innovative research methodologies. This year’s conference will highlight the path ahead, focusing on new ways of thinking about tourism in order to capitalize on emerging technologies, methodologies, and societal changes.

Visit the conference microsite now for details and to take advantage of Early Bird pricing.

Tourism HR Canada congratulates CGLCC, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, on its receipt of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Advancing Progressive HR Practices Award.

This prestigious award is granted to individuals, organizations, and employers with more than a decade of leadership in advancing human resource management practices that foster authentic, quality service and contributing to Canada’s ability to compete globally.

Established in 2003, the organization has a long history of supporting diversity by linking LGBT+ businesses to the wider business community and by providing resources to businesses looking to attract LGBT+ clientele and offer a welcoming workplace for LGBT+ employees.

To help LGBT+ entrepreneurs thrive, it offers:

  • Access – by building relationships between the LGBT+ business community and the corporate world, and by educating LGBT+ businesses about policies, regulations, and opportunities
  • Engagement – by being an advocate for LGBT+ businesses and supplier diversity, while providing a forum for people to meet and exchange information
  • Visibility – through its regular workshops, webinars, and events
  • Support – through its training, mentoring, supplier diversity, and global programs.

In the spring of 2019, Tourism HR Canada partnered with CGLCC to support the growth and promotion of Canada’s LGBT+ tourism market. CGLCC delivered a series of diversity training workshops across the country. LGBT+ Inclusion Training for the Tourism Industry enhanced the market-readiness of Canada’s tourism businesses, both from the perspective as a destination for visitors and for employees.

Diversity Training SessionThe 13 workshops guided tourism business owners and staff through best practices to make LGBT+ customers and staff feel welcome and accepted, and served in a way that exceeds their expectations. Additional online training covered inclusion in the workplace, including federal and jurisdictional legislation. Topics ranged from the impact of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism, to the importance of safe space, and facilitators provided strategies and opportunities to put learning into practice.

“CGLCC is honoured to receive this award,” said Darrell Schuurman, CGLCC co-founder and CEO. “LGBT+ tourism contributes significantly to the economic impact of Canada’s tourism industry. As an organization that is focused on supporting social change for the LGBT+ community through business, our LGBT+ Inclusion Training for the Tourism Industry is built to ensure that Canada’s tourism industry is ready to welcome the LGBT+ traveller, and to provide those visitors the service and experiences they are looking for.”

LGBT+ Inclusion Training for the Tourism Industry was first developed in consultation with the tourism industry in 2005. Over 1,000 tourism stakeholders from Halifax to Victoria to Whitehorse have since learned to create inclusive workplaces and deliver welcoming visitor experiences. The program has evolved over the years, and now includes online and in-person components, available in both English and French.

Participants have provided rave reviews of the content and the facilitators; one participant cited how the training was “invaluable in envisioning how to make my community more inclusive”, while another expressed that the workshop helped “understand the issues that affect the LGBT+ community and how to approach them at an everyday level (personal/work/public)”.

“Our organization is proud to acknowledge the significant contributions CGLCC has made to the diversity of our tourism sector,” stated Tourism HR Canada President & CEO Philip Mondor. “Their vision and leadership have ensured employers across the country can access hands-on resources that enhance our ability to provide an open, welcoming environment for visitors and staff alike.”

Multiple regions expressed interest in hosting the program in the future. Tourism HR Canada is delighted to advise that federal funding from the new Canadian Experiences Fund targets inclusiveness and will help expand the reach of this programming.

Subscribe to Tourism HR Insider to be the first to hear of upcoming opportunities to partake in LGBT+ Inclusion Training for the Tourism Industry.

As part of its efforts to foster growth and innovation in tourism, Tourism HR Canada is delighted to sponsor the Master’s Researcher Award, coordinated by the Tourism and Travel Research Association – Canada Chapter (TTRA Canada).

This award is to encourage and recognize excellence in—and the usefulness of—research on travel and tourism at the Master’s level.

With a founding objective of conducting comprehensive, timely research to inform policy and personnel decisions, Tourism HR Canada looks forward to supporting inventive studies that help shape a globally competitive, sustainable tourism sector.

The winning student will receive a $1,000 cash award, complimentary TTRA Canada conference registration, and up to $1,000 towards travel and accommodation (based on submitted receipts) from TTRA Canada. For group submissions, only one student will receive funding to attend the conference and present a summary of the work.

Eligibility: Work completed as a Master’s student or post-graduate student while enrolled at a Canadian institution between May 31st, 2018, and June 1st, 2019, will be considered.

Requirements: Eligible students must submit:

  • A one-page cover letter that outlines the role of the study author(s) and a description of the student applicant’s previous involvement in tourism (academic or industry), as well as their future career goals.
  • A 500-word abstract that clearly describes the rationale, methods, and results of the research study.
  • An original electronic version of the completed research study in PDF format. The theses or research report may be in English or French. All authors’ names and their academic institution must be redacted from the study to facilitated blind review of the submission. Multiple authors may have contributed to a research report, and they may be all awarded the Tourism HR Canada Master’s Researcher Award, but only one student will be funded for travel to the annual TTRA Canada conference.
  • If multiple authors have contributed to a research report, all authors should sign a brief statement that outlines which author is the “official submitter” (i.e., the individual who will travel to the conference if the report wins the reward).

Criteria: The papers will be judged by a review committee consisting of members of TTRA Canada and of Tourism HR Canada. The review committee will examine and judge the submissions based on the quality of research, creativity of approach, relationship to travel and tourism, usefulness and applicability, and quality of presentation.

TTRA Canada also offers the Gordon Taylor Award for Undergraduate Research, sponsored by Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

This award recognizes an interest and potential for excellence in tourism studies and encourages undergraduate students to pursue research excellence through employment in industry and/or graduate studies.

The winning student will receive a $1,000 cash award, complimentary TTRA Canada conference registration, and up to $1,000 towards travel and accommodation (based on submitted receipts) from TTRA Canada.

The deadline for submissions for both awards is June 30th, 2019.

Submissions and questions should be directed to:

Frederic Dimanche, Ph.D.
Chair, TTRA Canada Awards Sub-committee
Director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Ryerson University
Phone: (416) 979-5117

The Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada Chapter hosts its annual conference this year from September 18-20 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Moving Forward, this year’s conference theme, invites tourism researchers to be forward thinkers—to rediscover Canada’s tourism industry through various lenses that acknowledge the past while providing guidance for our future. Moving Forward calls for impactful tourist experiences across various niche tourism markets, bringing destinations to life and providing tourists with unforgettable travel experiences.

Tourism researchers, students, and other stakeholders may now submit presentations, papers, workshops, and student posters on the theme or on other relevant, timely topics. Accepted submissions will be eligible for one of three non-monetary awards for best paper (refereed abstracts), best presentation (non-refereed), and best student poster/presentation.

Submissions should highlight the path ahead, focusing on new ways of thinking about tourism in order to capitalize on emerging technologies, methodologies, and societal changes. The themes addressing the scope of this year’s conference include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Cultural, heritage, indigenous tourism research
  • Emerging methods – innovative research methodologies
  • Bridging the gap between academic and practitioner
  • Product development
  • Visitor experience
  • Culinary tourism

The deadline for submissions is June 14, 2019. Visit TTRA’s website for more information.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In May 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 5.4%, which is 0.9% higher than the rate reported in May 2018, but lower than the previous month (April 2019), when the unemployment rate stood at 5.5%.

At 5.4%, tourism’s unemployment rate was below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.5%.

The Accommodations and Transportation industry groups reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 2.9% in Saskatchewan to 12.2% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador were below the rates reported for the provincial economy (Figure 1).

Tourism employment comprised 11.2% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of May.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – May 2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
May 2018
Unemployment Rate –
May 2019
Tourism 4.5% 5.4%
Accommodations 6.5% 5.7%
Food and Beverage 4.8% 5.1%
Recreation and Entertainment 5.2% 8.7%
Transportation 2.2% 1.9%
Travel Services N/A 2.7%
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 May 18, 2019.