Month: April 2021
On April 19, 2021, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, released Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience. It contained promising news to help address tourism workforce recovery efforts. More information is needed to know how some of these initiatives will work, but based on the information contained in the budget document, several initiatives align with recommendations Tourism HR Canada tabled in the Workforce Shortfall: What it Takes to Restart Canada’s Tourism Workforce report (February 2021) and the report on outcomes from the annual Labour Market Forum (March 2021).
The new Canada Recovery Hiring Program is timely and essential for the sector. We emphasized the need to focus on redeployment and re-employment, along with measures that would help address seasonal workers. Details on this new hiring incentive program are still being developed, but it looks like it will address some of what we outlined. It will begin in June and end in November, covering up to 50% of the costs associated with staffing up—whether that means recalling previous workers, adding new staff, or increasing their hours.
Supporting Skills for Success is another new program which aligns with the skills and work transition programming we mention in our recovery strategy, targeting the same vulnerable populations.
Our recovery strategy highlights the need for community workforce planning. Here, too, the budget has funding for a new Community Workforce Development Program. The program will support communities to “develop local plans that identify high potential growth organizations and connect these employers with training providers to develop and deliver training and work placements to upskill and reskill jobseekers to fill jobs in demand”—words that are very similar to those used in our report. Although tourism is not mentioned in the detailed text (other sectors are), this needs to be looked at closely.
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) has been extended, as we also recommended in our report.
The budget proposes the development of a new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. “Working primarily with sector associations and employers, funding would help design and deliver training that is relevant to the needs of businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, and to their employees. This funding would also help businesses recruit and train a diverse and inclusive workforce.” (Page 112, Chapter 2) There is limited information or detail in Budget 2021 on this new program, although it appears to be like the former Sector Council Program (which was dismantled by the previous government). Tourism HR Canada was one of the originating Sector Councils, and deemed exemplary in its efforts.
Here is a list of further funding initiatives that are aligned with tourism workforce recovery (extracts directly from the budget report):
- Helping Youth and Students Build Job Skills and Connect with Employers: $721 million in the next two years to help connect them with employers and provide them with quality job opportunities.
- Student Work Placement Program: $239.8 million in the Student Work Placement Program in 2021-22 to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. This funding would increase the wage subsidy available for employers to 75%, up to $7,500 per student, while also increasing employers’ ability to access the program.
- Youth Employment and Skills Strategy: $109.3 million in 2022-23 for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to better meet the needs of vulnerable youth facing multiple barriers to employment, while also supporting over 7,000 additional job placements for youth.
- Canada Summer Jobs: $371.8 million in new funding for Canada Summer Jobs in 2022-23 to support approximately 75,000 new job placements in the summer of 2022.
- Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit: Expand the Canada Workers Benefit to support about 1 million additional Canadians in low-wage jobs, helping them return to work and increasing benefits for Canada’s most vulnerable.
- Canada Digital Adoption Plan: This new program is described as “comprehensive support to help small businesses adopt new technology”. The funding is to work with organizations to provide access to skills training, advisory services for businesses, and support costs to adopt technology. (Note: the impact of digitalization on the tourism workforce was featured in the Labour Market Forum in March. View the presentation here.)
Other measures will contribute significantly to helping build the tourism workforce and meeting the needs of vulnerable and precarious workers in the sector. The Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System, the National Mental Health Standards, and supports for businesses to pay for mandatory quarantine for Temporary Foreign Workers will be a great help to the sector.
Workforce initiatives aside, the budget contains many other measures to help tourism sustain operations and recover from the pandemic. It presents one of the more promising budgets concerning workforce issues.
Although not all priority strategies recommended in Tourism HR Canada’s recovery plans are addressed, the measures can go a long way in helping sustain and restart Canada’s tourism workforce. Accessing and harnessing these initiatives will demand a focused and all-of-tourism approach to advocate on behalf of the sector, to ensure that appropriate resources are destined for tourism jobs.
Government of Canada Budget Backgrounders
In March, seasonally unadjusted tourism employment increased by 50,800. March was the second month in which tourism employment increased, following five months of decreasing employment from September to January. Despite the increase, Canada’s tourism sector employed 450,200 fewer people than it had in February 2020.
The seasonally adjusted data from the labour force survey shows that employment in Canada increased by 303,000. In contrast, unadjusted labour force data shows a slightly smaller employment increase of 249,200. As tourism sector employment data is unadjusted for seasonality, the 249,200 number is used to compare tourism employment growth to the broader economy.
Tourism employment increased in March, with the addition of 45,400 part-time workers and 5,300 full-time workers, an overall increase in employment of 3.3% compared to February. In February and March combined, tourism employment increased by 139,700. The lifting of public health restrictions largely drove this increase. The third wave of COVID-19 that emerged in mid to late March resulted in another round of restrictions. Employment will likely drop once more in April. To what degree remains to be seen.
Data is from the week of March 14 to 20, 2021.
While Ontario and Alberta largely drove February’s employment increase, March’s employment increases were more equitably distributed across provinces. Notably, in Newfoundland and Labrador, tourism employment increased by 2,400, up 18.2%, following a drop in employment of 5,300 in February.
- Seasonally unadjusted tourism employment increased by 50,800 in March.
- March 2021 saw tourism employ 1,575,000 workers. It was in March of 2020 that tourism employment first started to decline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On a year-over-year basis, tourism employment is down slightly, -0.2% compared to March 2020. However, compared to March 2019, tourism was down 20.7%, employing 410,700 fewer workers.
- Over the two months of February and March, tourism employment increased by 139,700.
- As of March, Canada’s tourism sector employed 450,200 fewer people than it had in February 2020. Across all industries, there were 349,100 fewer people employed this March than there were in February 2020.
Please note: To allow comparisons with tourism sector data, which sees significant employment fluctuations over the year, we use seasonally unadjusted data for both tourism employment and overall employment.
Tourism Employment Rate
In March, employment across the entire Canadian economy increased by 249,200. The tourism sector made up 20.4% of the monthly employment gain, adding 50,800 employed workers. March was the second month of employment gains in tourism, following an increase of 88,900 in February.
Employment increased in four of the five tourism industry groups. The transportation industry saw an employment loss of 12,400 workers. The largest increases in employment occurred in the recreation and entertainment (28,800) and accommodations (18,100) industry groups.
In March of 2021, tourism employed 1,575,000 workers. In March of 2020, tourism employment first started to decline in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking year-over-year, tourism employment was down slightly, -0.2% compared to March 2020. However, compared to March 2019, tourism was down 20.7%, employing 410,700 fewer workers.
The most significant increase in employment occurred in part-time work within the food and beverage services industry group (26,700). However, a loss of full-time work within the same industry group (-15,000) offset that gain. Part-time work was also responsible for the majority of employment gains in the recreation and entertainment industry. The loss of part-time work in the transportation industry drove overall employment losses. Full-time employment in that industry actually increased by 5,700. The accommodations industry saw gains in both full-time and part-time work.
Because the industry groups that make up tourism are different sizes, looking at the monthly change in employment as a percentage change relative to the previous month provides a more equitable picture of how each industry is recovering. It also helps illustrate the size of the employment increase or decrease relative to total employment within a given industry group. Even following two months of employment gains, tourism employment is down 22.2% compared to February 2020, the last month before pandemic-related employment losses began.
On a percentage basis, the accommodations industry gained the most employment in March, increasing 18.3% compared to February. But despite that increase, employment in accommodations is still down 29.5% compared to February 2020, the greatest percentage decrease in employment of all tourism industry groups.
Other industry groups saw smaller percentage increases in employment this March. The recreation and entertainment industry increased employment by 8.6%, and employment in the food and beverage services industry grew 1.6%. However, employment in transportation decreased 4.0%. In all these industry groups, employment is down 20% or more compared to February 2020.
Employment in the travel services industry grew by 4,600 from February to March, increasing 8.6%. According to the data, employment in that industry is just 2.8% lower than in February 2020. Employment numbers for the travel services industry require further examination as they do not align with data on economic activity within the industry. Travel services is the smallest tourism industry group in terms of employment. As the Labour Force Survey is a sample of workers, travel services employment data does show more monthly variability than the other industry groups. While one month of data may be an outlier, multiple months of data show employment to be higher than expected. In travel services, gross domestic product (GDP) in January 2021 was only 63.2% of what it was in January 2020. This decrease in GDP is comparable to the food and beverage services industry, yet employment remains higher in travel services. While the total number of active tourism businesses had decreased by 8.3% between February 2020 and December 2020, the number of active travel service businesses fell 30.3%. Finally, job posting data shows postings for travel counsellors, an occupation which makes up about half of all jobs in the travel services industry, down 72% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Employment numbers may be somewhat held up by workers being furloughed and receiving the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. These workers are considered employed, but that would not account for the entire discrepancy. Data on hours worked by industry group, which will be available in next month’s employment update, may help explain the discrepancy between the economic and employment data.
We are at a point where year-over-year employment levels are comparing the current employment data to employment in the first months of the pandemic. In the first two months of the pandemic, almost 900,000 tourism workers lost their jobs. When comparing 2021 to 2020, employment may have increased on a year-over-year basis, while still remaining well below pre-COVID levels.
Going forward, we will compare monthly employment to 2020, to assess how employment compares to the first year of the pandemic. Additionally, we will compare monthly employment to 2019 to assess the recovery relative to the pre-pandemic period. It should be noted that tourism employment losses in March and April 2020 were massive and any comparison of 2021 and 2020 numbers should take that into account.
Tourism employment is just slightly below where it was last year, but over 20% lower than in March 2019. Employment in the accommodations industry group has dropped the furthest compared to both 2020 and 2019.
Provincial Tourism Employment
In most provinces, tourism employment increased in March. Only Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island lost a significant percentage of employment, while employment in Alberta fell back slightly following a strong gain in February. Tourism employment in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 18.2%, adding 2,400 workers to its tourism sector. Employment gains also occurred in British Columbia (16,600), Ontario (15,000), and Quebec (14,000).
Compared to 2019, tourism employment is well below pre-COVID levels for the month of March, ranging from -8.5% in New Brunswick to -37.8% in Newfoundland and Labrador. Some provinces are showing higher employment levels than at this time last year, but due to the uncertainty and labour force volatility that existed in March and April of 2020, year-over-year data should be interpreted with caution.
Tourism Unemployment Rate
In March 2021, the unemployment rate in the tourism sector was at 13.0%, which is 3.0 percentage points lower than the rate reported in March 2020, and lower than the previous month (February 2021) when the unemployment rate stood at 15.5%.
At 13.0%, tourism’s unemployment rate was above Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.1%.
With the exception of transportation and travel services, all tourism industry groups reported lower unemployment rates than the same month last year.
|Tourism Industry Group||
|Food & Beverage Services||18.6%||13.8%||14.0%|
|Recreation & Entertainment||18.8%||20.1%||15.3%|
On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 8.2% in Saskatchewan to 20.0% in Prince Edward Island.
The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province were above the rates reported for the provincial economy.
Average Tourism Employment Change
Although the specific month varies by year, between February and April tourism employment reaches its lowest annual point. Following a January employment decline after the holiday season, tourism employment grows minimally until significant growth takes place in May, when the sector ramps up for summer. The past year has been anything but standard.
Tourism employment trends have deviated significantly from their usual seasonal trends. February and March were no exceptions. The employment growth rates were driven by the lessening of public health restrictions that allowed businesses to reopen and rehire. Unfortunately, in much of the country this was short-lived and new restrictions foretell further employment declines that could last into late May.
Figure 10: Average Monthly Employment Change in Tourism (2001-2019 vs. 2020/21)
|Average Monthly Employment Change 2001 to 2019||Monthly Employment Change 2020/21|
The Tourism Labour Force
The tourism labour force grew slightly in March, only increasing by 0.3%. The labour force is the combined number of employed tourism workers and former tourism workers actively seeking employment. While employed tourism workers increased by 50,800, the number of unemployed tourism workers decreased by almost the same amount (-46,100), leading to little change in the overall size of the tourism labour force.
The total labour force (all industries) has only grown by 96,400 since February 2020. This suggests that either there has been little growth in new entrants to the labour market, or those new entrants are being offset by people who lose employment and are not seeking new work—hence not being included in the active labour force.
Employment by Sector
As of March, Canada’s tourism sector employed 450,200 fewer people than it had in February 2020. Across all sectors, there were 349,100 fewer people employed this March than there were in February 2020. Employment is higher than it was pre-COVID in eight sectors of the economy.
It is difficult to tell if the increase in employment in those eight sectors is driven by former tourism workers, former workers from non-tourism sectors where employment remains depressed, or new entrants to the labour market. Former tourism workers are likely migrating to other industries, but we do not know precisely how many.
Where to From Here?
Tourism’s employment increases in February and March were a response to the lifting of health restrictions in several provinces. The emergence of a deadly third wave of the virus will temporarily undercut these gains. Although some businesses will try to retain employees where at all possible as they prepare for summer, tourism employment will drop once more come April.
That said, not all provinces are being affected by the third wave and the increasing percentage of Canadians who have received at least one dose of vaccine, ranging from 17.9% to 26.2% depending on the province in question—and higher in the territories—does bring hope that as the third wave recedes, a sustained lifting of health restrictions can occur. Quickly restaffing in preparation for the summer will be a key priority for businesses.
For more on the impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s tourism workforce, please visit our Employment Tracker.
 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.
 Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)
We would like to thank everyone who participated in our LGBT+ diversity and inclusion training programs over the past 18 months. Thank you for fostering inclusion and understanding and for developing LGBT+ safe spaces across the country.
This national project was funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) through the six Regional Development Agencies, delivered in a partnership between Tourism HR Canada and Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC). The project was an incredible success and contained five core learning opportunities:
Navigating LGBT+ Diversity and Inclusion in the Tourism Industry: This live, facilitated, and interactive workshop introduced participants to the basics of an LGBT+ inclusive vocabulary, space, and workplace. We delivered 81 workshops for free across Canada, with over 800 participants attending.
Feedback was incredibly positive, including such comments as, “So rarely is this much value provided in an online course, let alone a free one! I was engaged the whole time and truly learned valuable tools to assist me on my corporate & personal D&I [diversity and inclusion] journey. Thank you!”
Travel Market-Ready Seminars: This seminar shared exclusive LGBT+ travel market research and case study best practices from around the world, as well as exposing participants to several custom LGBT+ products to help inspire a LGBT+ tourism welcoming strategy. We delivered 41 seminars for free across Canada, with over 360 participants attending.
Destination Audits: This program assessed a destination’s strengths and areas for improvement in LGBT+ travel market-readiness and tourism strategies. A final recommendation report delivered to participating destinations serves as a benchmarking tool to continue to assess and elevate their LGBT+ travel market strategy. We delivered 15 destination audits across Canada for free.
Tourism Toolkit: To further assist participants with becoming more inclusive and welcoming of LGBT+ travellers, we created and distributed 11 new downloadable resources. Topics included:
- Developing LGBT+ Products and Tours
- Inclusive Procurement Guidelines
- Trans and Non-Binary Inclusion Resource Guide
- Hosting LGBT+ Inclusive Events
- Community Engagement Guide
- Marketing to the LGBT+ Community
- LGBT+ Inclusive Policies and Practices
- Starting an Employee Resource Group
- Allyship Resource Guide
- LGBT+ Inclusion Guide
- Business Case for LGBT+ Inclusion
Rainbow Registered Accreditation Program: A new CGLCC accreditation program was developed, aimed at recognizing businesses and organizations who meet rigorous standards that ensure LGBT+ customers and staff feel safe and included. This new CGLCC program will be launched in spring of 2021—stay tuned!
COVID-19 has shone a light on where inclusion, acceptance, and appreciation can be improved.
We understand this may feel like a strange time to prioritize a program like this, when so much has changed in the face of COVID-19. We believe the pandemic has shone a light on areas where there are still divisions and where inclusion, acceptance, and the appreciation of different talents and experiences could be improved.
These programs are important in ensuring the tourism industry comes back even stronger and more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse post-COVID. Your participation was an indicator that we are making diversity, inclusivity, and safety a focus for times ahead.
For more information on these programs moving forward, please visit CGLCC’s website.
By Joe Baker, Tourism HR Canada Board Member
We are now well past the one-year mark since COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic. The data, the projections, and the road ahead seem almost insurmountable as we fight towards our next normal. But of course, there is hope. Through the devastation and grief, we have continued to look within ourselves and our support systems for strength and courage. The word resilience has come to define Canadian tourism during the first year of the pandemic. Our industry, our businesses, and our people have embodied author Adam Grant’s definition of resilience: “the strength and speed of our response to adversity”. We have demonstrated immense strength and we have been forced to embrace speed as we responded to the many waves of adversity.
So where do we go from here? What lies beyond resilience? I believe it’s time to focus on reinvention. Reinvention is not scrapping everything and starting again. Nor is it throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Reinvention is about reiterating our original idea—our invention—to create a more powerful and relevant version of ourselves and our businesses. If we want to reinvent tourism, it begins not as top-down policy from government or business strategy implementation. Although those are vital to our recovery, reinvention begins with individuals—tourism professionals embracing the moment and creating new things that centre around our core tourism ethos. And we don’t have to look far to see it happening already.
Along my local travels, I bumped into two people who have embraced that very philosophy. Gaby Saucedo and Mike Karpishka are co-owners of Ottawa Tiki Tours. They kindly shared their inspirational story of transformation with me, and I share it here with you as an example of the potential to reinvent.
Gaby is an insurance broker. Mike has been a children’s entertainer for 30 years. He was instrumental in Mad Science’s early developments and was part of that family for 15 years before establishing his own entertainment company. When the pair met, they quickly discovered their shared interest for the tourism and hospitality industry—an industry neither had experience working in. As it turns out, they didn’t need that experience to enter the industry because they came equipped with something even more potent: an idea and the willingness to embrace change. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable, and through their passion and interest in the industry, reinvented their careers and joined the Canadian tourism family.
Scheduled to set sail in May of 2021, Ottawa Tiki Tours provides a new way to experience the nation’s capital. Hawaiian tiki hut-style boats are rented for 90-minute tours that take guests up and down the Ottawa River and can be rented for a variety of different events and social gatherings. They meet Transport Canada’s guidelines, are equipped with all coast guard requirements, are licensed, and even have toilets aboard! With a limit of 12 people per ride, it is also an ideal tourism experience for the current and post-COVID world.
How did two people with no experience in the tourism industry embark on such a business journey? They opened their minds to new ideas and did not accept limitations as roadblocks. About two-and-a-half years ago, the concept of tiki boats in Lake George, New York, was first brought to the attention of the co-owners. They immediately saw it as a tourism opportunity for Ottawa and promptly left the careers they knew for the chance to explore the unknown. The pair checked out the operations and discovered it was a franchise based in Florida. They found someone closer, in Connecticut, selling boats and put in an offer to purchase their first micro-fleet. They now had the idea, the business plan, and the resources.
By fall of 2019, they were ready to launch their business when they found out that the way the boats were constructed was not authorised for Canadian waters. Despite some challenges, they spoke to Transport Canada, who suggested they build their own boats, and that’s exactly what they did. All of their boats are now manufactured in Canada, within the Ottawa region. Once again, they were ready to launch when another disruption occurred: COVID-19. Ever optimistic and hopeful, the co-owners pushed through with their idea, and their perseverance and resilience worked in their favour. They were getting noticed, and even more encouraging was that they were getting bookings. Partnership requests poured in from all over Canada, the U.S., Australia, and the Bahamas. The pair anticipate that by summer 2022, they will have 40 boats in the water across Ontario alone.
What is the bigger tourism picture here? They believe people will drive in for the experience and simultaneously take in Ottawa’s vibrant tourism scene while there. And as they expand, the same philosophy of community tourism applies for any region they occupy.
“We’re a ‘bring-your-own food’ experience, so we want the restaurants to really use that as an opportunity,” states co-owner Mike Karpishka. “If we put our third boat in the water, we are going to use it for re-bookings and to help local tourism or at least the restaurants by saying the only way to get a ticket to the hottest event in town is to buy a $50 meal from one of the local restaurants. Then you will be given a code to buy the tiki tour tickets. We want to deflect some of the attention that’s being put on us and really support every tourism business in the region, because everybody is suffering and we want to help as many small businesses as possible.”
Their excitement for collective transformation and success is undeniable, and their faith and encouragement to prosper in this hard-hit industry is inspiring.
Their business prospects don’t stop at what they themselves own. They are also interested in helping others that want to be a part of their business. Part of that expansion includes selling boats to current operators. They will license one of them for 10 years for their specific existing territory and create a lease agreement as to where the vessel can be operated.
Their advice on how others can reinvent and succeed in this era of disruption? “Even if COVID goes away, the scar of COVID will linger for many years. People are going to stay in their micro-communities. As much as possible, people should try to learn how to pivot, focus, and develop that nimble mentality and think differently. Talk to people, lean on other people’s experiences, utilize social media, connect,” offers Karpishka. Co-owner Gaby Saucedo adds, “Think about your idea of the business and take away COVID. Does it still work? If it does, move it forward. It’s not easy, it’s not impossible, and you have to not give up. Keep trying.”
Accepting change is not an admission of failure. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a statement about embracing transformation and growth. A willingness to be vulnerable. And acknowledging change is necessary to realize that. So, as we move through this pandemic trying to rebuild and refocus, let’s not retreat. Let’s move forward head on. Let’s reinvent our industry, which starts through reinventing ourselves. And let’s not be afraid to rock the tiki boat along the way.
Joe Baker is President and CEO of Joe Baker & Co., a leadership consultancy focused on strengthening organizations and people at the core of a future-forward hospitality and tourism industry. Joe is a board member of Tourism HR Canada and presently working with the team at OTEC as a Strategic Advisor on the Tourism and Hospitality Emergency Recovery initiative. You can find Joe everywhere @thejoebaker.
New information from the Tourism Human Resource Module (THRM) will soon be available on Tourism HR Canada’s website.
The Tourism Human Resource Module is commissioned by Tourism HR Canada and produced by Statistics Canada. It provides statistics for the entire sector and each of its five industry groups from the years 2007 to 2019. Data can also be requested for 1997 to 2006, or accessed through Statistics Canada.
Tourism Greatly Outpaced Overall Economy Pre-Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, the number of full-year jobs in tourism had grown by 26.7%. Over the same period, the total number of full-year jobs in the Canadian economy grew 14.1%
Within tourism industries, jobs grew the fastest in the food and beverage services industry group (37.8%) and transportation industry group (37.8%).
The number of employee jobs within tourism grew significantly faster than the number of self-employed workers in tourism. Employee jobs grew 28.4%, while the number of self-employed jobs grew 9.7%.
Growth in part-time jobs outpaced growth in full-time jobs. The number of part-time jobs grew 36.5% from 2007 to 2019, while full-time jobs grew 20.3%. At the start of the time period, part-time jobs made up 39.7% of all full-year tourism jobs. By 2019, they made up 42.7% of all full-year tourism jobs. This shift is largely driven by the growth of the food and beverage services industry. Over half of all jobs in that industry are part-time and the number of food and beverage service jobs within tourism grew from 52.6% in 2007 to 57.2% in 2019.
Among the provinces, tourism jobs grew the fastest in Alberta, where they rose 48.6% from 171,903 full-year jobs in 2007 to 255,450 jobs in 2019. Among all regions of Canada, tourism jobs grew the most in the territory of Nunavut, more than doubling between 2007 and 2019.
Figure 1: Number of Jobs by Year and Class of Worker
Employee Jobs by Age Group
The tourism sector provides young workers with a large amount of their employment. A general population survey conducted by Tourism HR Canada in 2019 found that 28% of Canadians found their first job within one of the five industry groups within tourism. The THRM shows that in 2019, 34.1% of full-year jobs within tourism were held by workers aged 15 to 24. The fact that tourism was the industry hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic is one reason the subsequent recession hit young workers so hard.
That said, up until then, the share of Canada’s population that was aged 15 to 24 was actually declining. This was because millennials, a large demographic group, were aging out of the 15 to 24 age category. As of 2019 the youngest millennials—generally considered those born in 1996—were 23. Gen Z that follows is a smaller demographic cohort.
This can be seen in the THRM data on employee job growth by age category. While young people still fill a large share of tourism jobs, that share has declined since 2007. The number of full-year tourism jobs held by 15- to 24-year-olds grew 13.7% from 2007 to 2019, but their share of total tourism jobs declined from 38.5% to 34.1%. At the same time, the number of tourism jobs held by 35- to 44-year-olds grew 56.3% and the share of tourism jobs held by this age group increased from 17.9% of employee tourism jobs to 21.8%.
Figure 2: Employee Jobs by year and Age Group
Employee Jobs by Immigration Status and Gender
Immigrants have come to hold an increasing share of jobs within the tourism sector. In 2007, 309,120 full-year jobs in tourism were held by immigrants. By 2019, that number had grown to 482,857 tourism jobs, an increase of 56.2%. Immigrants also increased the share of tourism jobs they held from 22.7% in 2007 to 27.6% in 2019.
By industry group, the number of immigrant-held jobs grew the fastest in accommodation, increasing 157.3%. The share of jobs held by immigrants grew from 24.6% of accommodation jobs in 2007 to 34.8% in 2019.
Women hold a higher share of jobs in the tourism sector than men. As of 2019, 53.6% of tourism jobs were held by women. But there has actually been a slight decrease in the share of jobs held by women. Although the number of tourism jobs held by women has grown 25.9%, the number of tourism jobs held by men has grown faster. This resulted in the share of tourism jobs held by women decreasing from 54.6% in 2007 to 53.6% in 2019.
Looking at the industry groups in 2019, women held 70.1% of jobs within travel services, followed by 59.1% of jobs in accommodation and a majority of food and beverage services jobs (57.5%). Men held slightly over half of the jobs in the recreation and entertainment industry and 67.3% of transportation jobs.
Figure 3: Employee Jobs by Immigration Status and Gender
 Employee jobs are defined as all jobs in which the person draws compensation for services rendered. Jobs in which workers are paid by tips or commissions are included. Self-employed proprietors of unincorporated enterprises and unpaid family workers are not included.