Month: August 2019

Tourism HR Canada is pleased to announce the 2019 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study is now available.

Employers in Canada’s tourism sector want to know they are offering competitive compensation strategies, just as workers and labour organizations want to know that they are receiving them. Having sound compensation data will help the tourism sector support a dynamic and balanced labour market.

Produced with R.A. Malatest and Associates, this comprehensive study presents data and analysis on the compensation and benefits offered by businesses in Canada’s tourism sector. Over 2,100 employers from across the country provided data for over 48,000 employees in food and beverage services, accommodation services, recreation and entertainment, and travel services.

The study contains information on the type of compensation (e.g., hourly or annual), salary range, median salary, and bonuses for 30 occupations in the sector. This data is broken down by region, industry group, employment status (full-time, part-time, seasonal), and union status.

The study also includes data on businesses’ policies around gratuities, benefits, perquisites and incentives. Additionally, in response to the changing landscape of compensation across the country, the study collected data on the impact of minimum wage increases on businesses in the sector.

Respondents were optimistic about the health of the sector. Overall, tourism businesses reported an increase in revenues in 2018 over the previous year. When asked about future demand, 21.9% expected to increase the size of their workforce in 2019, compared to only 6.3% who expected their workforce to shrink.

Understanding trends in compensation will help employers attract and retain the talent needed to continue to grow the sector and compete on an increasingly crowded global stage. The information contained in the Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study is essential for the development and implementation of consistent and effective human resource strategies. The data will help all tourism stakeholders set pay policies, develop evidence-based human resource strategies, and analyze competitive practices.

Access your copy of the 2019 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study now.

Note: If you participated in the Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study survey in 2018, please contact for your complimentary copy of the study.

Fast Facts

  • Nationally, the highest paying occupation receiving an annual salary was director of sales and marketing. The highest paying frontline position receiving an hourly wage was sous chef.
  • The most common benefits offered were group health/dental insurance, life insurance, and short-term disability. The most common perks included employee discounts or free services, flex time, and communications technology.
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents had staff who received gratuities, but only half had a gratuity splitting policy.
  • Businesses in British Columbia and Ontario were more likely than those in Alberta to report they were able to absorb the costs of minimum wage increases.
  • Among the changes implemented to help manage the increases, the most common was charging higher prices.

International Indigenous Tourism ConferenceThe Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has announced programming for its International Indigenous Tourism Conference. The annual event will be held this year from November 12 to 14 in Kelowna, BC, on the traditional territory of the Syilx Nation, in partnership with the Nlakapamux and Secwepemc Nations, Tourism Kelowna, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and Indigenous Tourism BC.

Under the conference theme “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.”, presenters will focus on inspiring communities and entrepreneurs to explore tourism as an economic driver. “Transform” focuses on the impacts of Indigenous tourism on visitors and Indigenous operators alike. “Unite” speaks to the power of partnerships and coming together to empower the Indigenous tourism industry.

Highlights of the three-day event include keynote speakers Jordin Tootoo, first Inuk player in the NHL, and Sarain Fox, host of Future History on APTN, as well as local cultural tours, networking opportunities, and the Indigenous Tourism Awards.

Early-bird pricing is in effect until August 31. Register today.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In July 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 4.7%, which is 0.5 percentage points higher than the rate reported in July 2018, but lower than the previous month (June 2019), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.8%.

At 4.7%, tourism’s unemployment rate was below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.9%.

With the exception of the transportation sector, all tourism industry groups have reported higher unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 0.0% in Prince Edward Island to 6.9% in Nova Scotia.

The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province were below the rates reported for the provincial economy (Figure 1).

Tourism employment comprised 11.7% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of July.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – July 2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
July 2018
Unemployment Rate –
July 2019
Tourism 4.2% 4.7%
Accommodations 2.8% 3.4%
Food and Beverage 5.1% 5.9%
Recreation and Entertainment 3.7% 5.0%
Transportation 4.0% 2.9%
Travel Services N/A 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 July 20, 2019.

Future Skills Framework LogoAnnounced last fall, the Future Skills Framework project seeks to address the changing nature of work in the tourism sector. Under the three-year, federally funded initiative, Tourism HR Canada is creating a comprehensive and sustainable competency framework for the Canadian tourism economy.

The framework will be a dynamic collection of competencies and essential employability and social skills. Anyone may access it to:

  • Bolster training and development
  • Define career planning pathways
  • Consolidate recruitment and selection criteria
  • Improve credential recognition
  • Outline succession planning
  • Refine performance management practices
  • Delineate occupation profiles

To ensure it reflects the realities of our evolving tourism sector, the Future Skills team has hosted several focus group sessions, with subject matter experts and industry professionals providing valuable insights.

Over the coming year, the team will seek further guidance from tourism stakeholders at sessions to be held across the country—this is your opportunity to share your vision for the future of the sector.

What’s involved?

Over two days, a facilitator guides about 20 participants through discussions and activities to identify and build the key competencies on a given subject area—this could be essential skills, occupation-specific skills, or transferable skills such as leadership. Participants share relevant knowledge, experiences, and thoughts on industry skill needs and gaps as the group works towards agreement on the content of the competencies.

Why participate?

Broad and engaged participation in these focus groups will ensure the competency framework addresses the full range of skills needed to keep our tourism sector competitive and forward-looking. The project will greatly benefit from the expertise of those throughout the various tourism industries: accommodations, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation, and travel services. Participants’ experiences in operations, research, training, and application will inform the content of the framework.

Previous participants expressed the value of cross-industry collaboration, networking opportunities, and more fully understanding the profound impact and wide range of uses the competency framework will have.

Sign up or learn more

Details on upcoming sessions—locations, dates, topics—are available by emailing One upcoming session will be held September 24 and 25 at the Novotel Ottawa. Another session will take place in Whitehorse in October. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Sign up for Tourism HR Insider for further updates on this project.

Now in its second year, the Destination Employment program has successfully helped newcomers to Canada prepare for and land hotel jobs across the country. The initiative helps hoteliers to fill critical vacancies in a tight labour market and provides them with resources to help onboard and mentor these new employees.

As the program grows to include new areas within the five key regions, Tourism HR Canada and project partner the Hotel Association of Canada are pleased to release a series of three infographics to showcase the benefits of the program to hoteliers and newcomers.

The first, targeted to hoteliers, demonstrates how Destination Employment provides solutions to the labour shortage and offers the opportunity to create a diverse and welcoming workplace. The steps to register are clearly outlined.

The second, for newcomers to Canada, puts the rewarding employment and benefits offered by the hotel sector at the forefront.

Finally, the third infographic, again for newcomers, showcases the suite of job and growth opportunities available when employed at a hotel.

All three are available through the Destination Employment webpage—please share with any interested parties.

For updates on the Destination Employment program, subscribe to Tourism HR Insider.