Month: October 2019

In a report on travel destination trends for LGBTQ2 travel in 2019, Travel Pulse selected just one Canadian city in its ‘top 30’ destinations: Montreal.

While the recognition does represent a foothold into this burgeoning market, a new initiative aims to increase Canada’s national profile as a premier tourism destination for the LGBTQ2 market: one where LGBTQ2 customers are respected, welcomed, and can socialize and travel safely.

Tourism HR Canada and principal project partner CGLCC, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, along with many provincial and local labour market partners, will deliver diversity workshops and assist tourism businesses with how to effectively understand, value, and serve LGBTQ2 customers and employees.

Funded as part of the Government of Canada’s Canadian Experience Fund and delivered via the six Regional Development Agencies, this pan-Canadian initiative runs from September 2019 to March 2021. It builds on a successful series of workshops CGLCC conducted across Canada in March 2019.

The project aims to deliver a responsive, comprehensive, and sustainable LGBTQ2 Tourism Market Ready Program that will help businesses and communities welcome a lucrative and fast-growing LGBTQ2 market. It will additionally reinforce objectives set out by Canada’s Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, which identifies the LGBTQ2 market as a priority.

LGBTQ2 tourism is an opportunity for economic development with great potential for profitable, long-term products and services. By strengthening Canada’s tourism markets, this project will also contribute to the increase of well-paid, stable tourism jobs across the country, including in rural areas. LGBTQ2 tourism helps businesses and communities reach new market segments as a means for increasing competitiveness. The UN World Tourism Organization states that LGBTQ2 travellers are recognized as travelling with greater frequency and with higher-than-average spending. The global market is valued at US$200 billion annually.

Over the next two months, Tourism HR Canada will work with CGLCC to identify regional stakeholders and assess the uniqueness of each region to develop plans for delivery. If your tourism business would like to be a part of this exciting project, please contact Tourism HR Canada.

Subscribe to Tourism HR Insider for announcements on workshop dates and locations.

By 2032, immigrants will be responsible for 100% of Canada’s population growth. Today, without immigration, Canada’s labour force would be shrinking, as the number individuals retiring is greater than the number of school leavers entering the labour force.

Under such circumstances, immigration is a vitally important subject. Tourism HR Canada recently attended the Conference Board of Canada’s National Immigration Centre meeting both to present and to learn about how to better help new Canadians integrate into the labour force.

Participants discussed a range of topics, including:

  • The current economic outlook for Canada
  • The challenges faced by women and racialized immigrants
  • The difficulty in getting foreign credentials recognized and how to help new Canadians to continue to work in their chosen field
  • Investor and entrepreneur immigration systems
  • The potential impact of AI on the labour force
  • The unique vulnerability faced by immigrants and visible minorities in a shifting labour market

Tourism HR Canada participated in a panel speaking to the tourism perspective on labour market issues and immigration. Tourism relies heavily on immigrants to fill the 1.8 million jobs that exist within the sector. While 23.8% of all jobs in the full labour force are filled by new Canadians, they fill 26% of jobs in tourism. In the accommodation industry specifically, they fill almost 32% of all available jobs.

With the number of young people in the labour force declining, jobs vacancies growing, and tourism unemployment running approximately 1 percentage point below the unemployment rate for the labour force, the sector will look to new Canadians to support future growth.

However, new Canadians may require supports, such as Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program, to enter the labour force. As the number of immigrants coming to Canada has grown in recent years, so has the number seeking additional language and workplace training to help enter the labour market.

The panel discussed the opportunities presented by Destination Employment, a three-year pilot project funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and coordinated nationally by Tourism HR Canada in partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada. With partners in five regions (Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada), the program seeks to employ 1,300 newcomers in a range of hotel jobs and, by testing what methods of assessment and training work best, identify a model that is scalable and could be applied to other industries.

As part of its strategy to build a resilient and inclusive labour market, Tourism HR Canada will continue to collaborate with stakeholders in helping tourism businesses to attract and retain this key demographic.

For a detailed look at Canada’s tourism workforce, download our free Demographic Group Summaries.

Joe Baker, Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College
Joe Baker, Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College

By Joe Baker, Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College

According to Tourism HR Canada, tourism is a $90 billion industry that employs over 1.8 million workers, outpacing many other industries in the country. As Canada’s share of the global tourism market increases, so does the need for a highly skilled workforce. At Centennial, we see this as an opportunity to build a workforce that meets the skills required for the future of work in tourism. How do we do this? By learning from the source.

Last week, Philip Mondor, president and CEO of Tourism HR Canada, facilitated a two-day workshop at Centennial College on the future of work in the tourism sector. The event provided our faculty with an insight into the current and future labour market issues. It also offered an introduction to the Future Skills Framework and competency-based learning. Understanding the needs and challenges of the industry allows us to tailor our curriculum. By critically mapping programs against competency frameworks and closing any gaps, we ensure that our grads are prepared for the future success of working in tourism.

Canada’s position on the global tourism market, as well as its global standing and competitiveness, is largely dependent on its ability to attract, develop and retain talent. Education needs to play a role in this talent pipeline. There is a need to increase the understanding of the tourism industry’s economic and social importance among businesses, industry, governments and educators.

How do we as Canadian educators address these issues? By creating a curriculum that immerses students in real-life experiences. These include work-integrated learning opportunities, events, competitions, field trips, workshops and all things connected to the industry. We need to ignite a passion for tourism within our students and help them see the industry as a viable and rewarding place to pursue their careers. We also need to ensure that their passion can be matched with opportunities for career development.

We pride ourselves on the fact that our faculty members come to us directly from the industry.  Their direct knowledge and experience ensure that our tourism-focused programs are relevant to the needs of employers. As educators, we have to be equipped with knowledge of current trends, standards and needs of the industry. With that knowledge our faculty can challenge their own assumptions and the system itself. Together we can address the needs of the industry and guarantee its success.

Collaborating closely with partners like Tourism HR Canada enables us to identify current needs and create programming that makes a difference. This way, we can shape the future workforce of the Canadian tourism industry within the higher education institutions across the country.

Tourism HR Canada thanks Joe Baker for this contribution and insight. Centennial College offers two SMART + Premium Programs–accreditation that recognizes they meet or exceed industry standards. Find out more here.

RISE | Recognizing Canada's Best Indigenous Tourism ExperiencesBy the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)

ITAC, in partnership with Tourism HR Canada, is looking to develop a nation-wide Indigenous tourism standards recognition program, entitled RISE. The goal of this project will be to support Indigenous tourism businesses of all kinds, from authentic cultural experiences to essential tourism services in Indigenous destinations to community-based initiatives in the planning stage. The outcome will be increased readiness for all businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations who participate, enhancing their ability to attract visitors and deliver memorable quality experiences. RISE will do this by providing precise, measurable, actionable, and easy-to-implement criteria to ensure that Indigenous tourism operators are wholly prepared for today’s travellers.

RISE is respectful of Indigenous cultural protocols, philosophies, and worldviews as defined by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, and as such, will be developed through a collaborative process. In anticipation of the development of RISE, the project team is conducting a nation-wide engagement process to ensure that all Indigenous tourism stakeholders are given the opportunity to inform the development of the standards recognition program.

This is where you come in!

We would like to hear your thoughts, ideas and insights on what this new Indigenous tourism standards recognition program should look like. Your comments and opinions will contribute directly to ITAC’s new National Standards and RISE.  Your participation is greatly appreciated, and we cannot do this without you, so please take 5 minutes to complete our online survey for a chance to win a $250 Visa gift card!

Click here to complete the online survey.

If you are interested in sharing your thoughts by participating in a one-on-one phone interview, simply click the link below and follow the instructions to choose an interview date and timeslot that work best for you.

Schedule an Interview.

For more information regarding RISE, please contact

Complete the Online Survey!

If you would like to receive this information in French, please contact the project team at the email address above.

Tourism HR Canada regularly provides tourism stakeholders with new information on the labour force. A key data source is the Canadian census, which contains highly detailed information on the demographic makeup of the people who staff jobs in the industry.

We’ve released a series of charts that explore the share of tourism employees in 38 occupations who are either at, above, or below the expected skill level/educational attainment for their occupation. The information is further broken down by the age of the employee, gender, immigrant status, and work patterns (full-time or part-time).

Here’s an overview of how to read the charts and what trends to explore.

What does skill level mean?

This set of figures includes data on the relative “skill level” of employees in tourism occupations. Here, “skill level” refers to the level of educational attainment on the part of the employee, not job proficiency.

The data on expected skill level for an occupation was collected from the Canadian government’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This database compiles information on hundreds of occupations nationwide. These occupations are then classified by skill level and broad occupational category on a matrix structure.

The skill levels (still referring to employees’ levels of educational attainment) are categorized alphabetically from A to D, each letter denoting a level of educational attainment typically required for that line of work.

Jobs classified at the “A” or “B” skill level typically require a post-secondary level of education. Classes “C” and “D” occupations generally need lower levels of educational attainment. (The NOC matrix also includes 0 level management occupations, which are at skill level A.)

NOC Level Skill Level
0 Management (Skill Level A)
A Occupations usually require university education
B Occupations usually require college education or apprenticeship training
C Occupations usually require secondary school and/or occupation-specific training
D On-the-job training is usually provided for occupations

What do the charts show?

The NOC matrix indicates the level of education “usually” required to work in an occupation. However, many people work in occupations that do not necessarily correspond with their educational attainment.

Using the 2016 census, Tourism HR Canada was able to identify the share of employees in an occupation who are below, at, or above the “usual” skill level expected for the occupation. If workers are classified as “above the required skill level”, they have reached a higher level of education or training than is necessary for their respective occupations.

For example, a cashier with a doctorate would be classified as above the required skill level for their occupation, regardless of their competency as a cashier. Similarly, those who are classified as “below the required skill level” may have not yet attained certain levels of training expected for their job yet may be competent employees. Those who are “at the required skill level” would possess whatever degree of education expected of one in their position (be it a high school diploma or a university or college degree) and whatever supplemental training is required to carry out their role, but no more.

The figures produced from this data are arranged for each of the 38 occupations included in Tourism HR Canada’s customized census tabulations, produced by Statistics Canada. The reported level of educational attainment of employees who work for establishments within the tourism sector was compared to the skill level rating in the NOC matrix. While many of these occupations (e.g., cashiers) include individuals working in non-tourism industries, these are not included in the analysis.

Census data was then used to further classify employees in the occupations by their age, gender, immigration status, and “work activity” (i.e., part- or full-time employment). A further non-occupation-specific analysis was done for the five industry groups within the tourism sector (see chart 5 of 6).

How do I read the figures?

The figures produced from this data are visualized in a set of six graphs that can be toggled using the arrows at the bottom of the page. Each has a horizontal bar graph and a pie chart showing the data. Graph 1 shows the overall breakdown of employees who are below, at, or above the required skill level within an occupation based on the “usual” level of education indicated in the NOC matrix. The other graphs show the same data cross-tabulated with additional variables such as employee age group, gender, immigration status, tourism industry subgroup, or work activity.

Occupations can be selected from the drop-down menu near the top of each page. The occupation’s NOC skill level classification will be visible to the left of the occupation name. All occupation names will be preceded by a four-digit number in that drop-down menu. These numerical codes may be entered into the “NOC Quick Search” function on the National Occupational Classification webpage for further information, including a general job description, a list of alternate titles, main duties, educational and employment requirements, and more.

In the four graphs that further classify employees by additional demographic variables, the bar graphs show the percentage of employees, below, at, or above the required skill level for each demographic variable. The pie charts show the total number (as well as percentage) of employees at each skill level for each demographic variable out of the total number of employed workers in the occupation.

How do I interpret the numbers?

Numerous trends can be found within the dataset. As an example, most individuals employed as air pilots, flying instructors, and flight engineers are appropriately skilled for their respective careers, with this trend holding true regardless of age, gender, or work activity. For this occupation, individuals with a higher level of education than required are more common than those who are under-skilled.

Sample 1: Skill Level of Air Pilots, Flying Instructors and Flight Engineers – Level B

Skill Level of Air Pilots, Flying Instructors and Flight Engineers – Level B

In contrast, the majority of those working as cooks have a lower level of educational attainment than is usual for this occupation as defined by the NOC matrix. Again, this trend holds true regardless of the demographic variables examined, except for cooks who are non-permanent residents.

Sample 2: Skill Level of Cooks (by Immigration Status) – Level BSkill Level of Cooks (by Immigration Status) – Level B

What should I consider while exploring the charts?

Numerous other trends can be extracted from this data, but it is important to note that data can often be equivocal, and that there are many potential pitfalls. As mentioned, in the NOC matrix, skill level refers to educational attainment, not proficiency in an occupation.

Furthermore, the data shown has not been analyzed for statistical significance. Without this, it is difficult to determine how meaningful differences are, regardless of how obvious they may appear. Often, subtle (and occasionally not-so-subtle) differences in data prove to be statistically insignificant. Without further work, there is a chance of being incorrect in assuming that there is a difference, for example, between the overall skill level of immigrant and non-immigrant bakers.

Still, the available data is useful as an indicator of trends in the sector and where further analysis is worth undertaking. Curious trends often inspire further investigation into their cause.

Click here to explore the full range of charts.

Future Skills Framework LogoOctober has seen two consultation meetings for the Future Skills Framework, marking its progression from establishing the framework’s overall structure to developing in-depth, specific industry competencies.

The three-year Future Skills initiative will produce a comprehensive and sustainable collection of competencies for the tourism sector, defining current and emerging skills.

Focusing on key aspects of professionalism, service excellence, and food and beverage services (F&B), expert panels consisting of experienced professionals ‘from the field’ came together to ensure the framework will reflect the most important aspects of being a successful host within the sector.

Moncton tourism professionals join Future Skills focus group

The first session brought together an industry panel in Moncton, NB. Its focus on excellence in service and professionalism will ensure that the framework accurately captures these core components of providing guests with best-in-class experiences.

The second session, kindly co-hosted by the Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC), took place in Whitehorse, YT. It gathered local food and beverage servers and managers, including banquet servers, bartenders, and wine servers, to strengthen the F&B pillar of the framework.

Future consultation will seek to develop competencies for all industry groups within the tourism sector.

If you are a tourism professional who would also like to be part of future-proofing the industry’s labour market, please do let us know.

As part of several pan-Canadian projects focused on providing Canada’s tourism sector with a continuum of market readiness programming, Tourism HR Canada will be working with Twenty31 and Alphabet Creative to update and enhance its Business Builders series. LogoDesigned for small business owners, Business Builders is part of Tourism HR Canada’s range of training resources for the tourism sector, available under the Emerit® brand. It offers practical tools such as templates and worksheets, along with learning modules on:

  • Business planning
  • Financial management
  • Human resource management
  • Marketing
  • Sales and service
  • Managing operations

This initiative will move the resource to mobile-friendly delivery, as well as adding content and tools for addressing sexual harassment policies and fostering a safe and inclusive workplace—the update will include cultural competencies and highlight best practices.

With 72% of tourism businesses in Canada having fewer than 20 employees, resources to help owner-operators navigate all components of managing a business will ensure they can provide superior service to an increasingly global clientele.

The project kicked off this week and will move into a discovery and consultation stage with operators next week.

Stay tuned to Tourism HR Insider for updates on this entry-to-practice market ready resource.

Article courtesy of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Rise Project, spearheaded by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Tourism HR Canada, will embark upon updating and transforming ITAC’s National Guidelines into a standards-based recognition framework for Indigenous tourism.

The Rise Project will ensure that the newly updated framework helps to address the demand for the development and marketing of Indigenous tourism businesses and experiences, which will aid in the sustainable growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada. The newly updated National Standards and Recognition Program will ensure that future planned Indigenous tourism products and services provide authentic experiences and recognize Indigenous tourism businesses, experiences, and entrepreneurs. This will provide many opportunities for expanding the market potential on the world stage as well as accelerating economic growth and the development of sustainable tourism offerings within Indigenous communities.

The Rise Project Team will build off its existing relationships with provincial/territorial Indigenous tourism bodies and their leaders to utilize valuable industry knowledge for the development of the new standards and recognition framework, which is anticipated to be completed in early 2020.

The Rise Project Team will be engaging ITAC’s membership and additional subject matter experts, which is a critical step in the stakeholder engagement process. Information on how you can share your thoughts with the project will be distributed in the coming weeks. We encourage you to participate and share your ideas on this important industry initiative.

You can learn more about the Rise Project directly from the Project Team once their initial contact is made. We also invite you to join us at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference where you can learn more about ITAC’s Rise Project. We will continue to keep you updated as the team works through their milestones. We thank you in advance for your support.

(seasonally unadjusted)

In September 2019, the unemployment rate1 in the tourism sector was at 4.5%, which is 0.2 percentage points lower than the rate reported in September 2018, and lower than the previous month (August 2019), when the unemployment rate stood at 4.9%.

At 4.5%, tourism’s unemployment rate was below Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.0%.

With the exception of Accommodations and Food & Beverage Services, all tourism industry groups have reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year (Table 1).

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 2.1% in Manitoba to 5.0% in Prince Edward Island.

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

Tourism employment comprised 11.1% of the total Canadian labour force for the month of September.

Table 1 – Employment Rate by Tourism Industry Group – September 2018/2019
Tourism Industry Group2 Unemployment Rate –
September 2018
Unemployment Rate –
September 2019
Tourism 4.7% 4.5%
Accommodations 5.5% 8.1%
Food and Beverage 5.0% 5.3%
Recreation and Entertainment 5.3% 4.6%
Transportation 3.0% 1.2%
Travel Services 2.7% 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 September 21, 2019.


Over 80 members of Canada’s tourism research community recently gathered to network and learn about the latest tourism research from statisticians, academics, students, and destination marketers. The thought-provoking Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) Canada Chapter Conference was held September 18-20 on Treaty Six land in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Statistics Canada led a workshop prior to the conference, showing how to access the highly detailed information that can be gathered from the Frontier Counts, the National Travel Survey, and the Visitor Travel Survey, as well as Tourism HR Canada’s own Rapid reSearch Tool. The afternoon saw attendees visit Wanuskewin Heritage Park for a case study on building authentic Indigenous tourism experiences.

Delegates were welcomed to the conference’s official opening by Lyndon Linklater, a traditional knowledge keeper and storyteller and a citizen of the Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six.

Highlights of the two-day event included keynotes from Stephen Pearce of Tourism Vancouver on how to develop a film tourism destination by working hand-in-hand with the film industry, and an inspirational discussion on how to “find your awesome” by Kerri Twigg of Career Stories Consulting.

Attendees learned about the development of Indigenous tourism experiences based on work by Tourism Saskatchewan, Glyph Creative Strategy, and Insightrix Research and the insights they have acquired.

Some of Canada’s leading tourism researchers, including Michel Dubreuil of Destination Canada, Larry Filler of Environics Analytics, and Greg Hermus of the Conference Board of Canada, shared innovative approaches to filling in data and information gaps.

There were 27 breakouts on a wide range of topics, ranging from the impacts of climate change on tourism to wine tourism to overcrowding to Canadians’ sentiments towards the sector. Delegates were also able to participate in several workshops to learn about such subjects as modern brand communication and place marketing and the economic importance of tourism as displayed by the Tourism Satellite Account.

Calum MacDonald, Tourism HR Canada’s Vice President of Labour Market Intelligence and member of the TTRA Canada Board of Directors, showed delegates how to access information on the tourism sector’s labour force using data available through the Rapid reSearch Tool. This online portal allows users to pull customized data for the tourism sector from the census, labour force survey, business counts, and provincial-territorial human resource modules, as well as projections of labour supply and demand for the tourism sector.

He also presented the findings of two surveys of Canadian residents on their perceptions of tourism as an economic driver and as a place of work. The conclusion? As we grow the tourism industry, it is important that we continue to create well-paid, career-oriented tourism employment, as well as the frontline jobs that provide an entry point to the labour force.

The conference recognized the work of the next generation of tourism researchers via poster and video presentations by students from the University of Manitoba, Vancouver Island University, the University of Guelph, and Ryerson University.

The winner of the Gordon Taylor Award for Undergraduate Research was Katherine Lo of Ryerson University for her paper built on a qualitative study (based on in-depth interviews with hotel professionals) titled “Skills Gaps in the Luxury Hospitality Sector: The Case of Toronto”.

Tourism HR Canada proudly sponsored the Graduate Researcher Award, given to Brittany Lutes from the University of Guelph for her paper “You bragged I booked: an exploration of how social network behavior influences destination choice”. The research was conducted in collaboration with Tourism Nova Scotia and examined two distinct groups of social media users. She concluded that those with a tendency to conform are inclined to visit destinations that are trending within their social network, while those who tend to brag or seek out social return prefer to travel to destinations that are unique or perceived to be superior to those trending on social media.

The next TTRA International Conference will be held in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 16 to 18, 2020. The TTRA Canada Chapter Conference will return in September 2021, hosted in Kingston, Ontario.