Month: December 2021

(OTTAWA, ON — December 14, 2021) Tourism HR Canada has been certified for exceptional workplace culture by The Canadian Workplace Culture Index, the leading measure of Canadian workplace culture.

Certified companies demonstrate care for their employees, their customers, and their communities. Tourism HR Canada exceeded the Index, made up of the opinions of average Canadians towards workplace culture. The process includes analysis and recommendations across six different workplace attributes: workplace satisfaction, company caring, diversity and inclusion, information and recognition, employee connection, and loyalty.

To be certified, companies must exceed the national benchmark for exceptional workplace culture. Employees are given an anonymous conversational chat survey. Results are aggregated and weighted across six workplace attributes providing an overall score and scores for each workplace attribute.

Scoring in the 92nd percentile of organizations who’ve participated in the program, Tourism HR Canada attained exceptional scores in diversity and inclusion, employee connection, and information and recognition.

“Tourism HR Canada is thrilled to have successfully achieved certification as a Canadian Workplace Culture Leader,” said Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “As the national organization promoting positive workplace practices in the tourism sector, we strive to ensure our organization leads by example. This accomplishment shows us that our efforts are on target. We’ve also gained meaningful insights into ways we can continue to evolve our workplace culture.”

In Canada, the best workplaces have stood out by creating safe workplaces, regardless of whether someone is on the front lines or sitting in a corner office. Culture Innovators in Canada realize that workplace satisfaction, communication, and recognition for all employees are vital. At certified organizations like Tourism HR Canada, there is a fundamental sense of caring among colleagues, and employees’ ability to bring their full selves to work. When companies do everything they can to create a great workplace culture, employees respond by giving the very best they can.

“On behalf of the Tourism HR Canada Board of Directors, I’d like to extend our gratitude and thanks to each member of the Tourism HR Canada team for their commitment to excellence and operating with integrity,” stated Darlene Grant Fiander, Chairperson of the Tourism HR Canada Board of Directors. “It is obvious in the quality of the work that is done that they have created a culture that fosters innovation, creativity, and exceptional service for all of us.”

About Tourism HR Canada

Tourism HR Canada is a pan-Canadian organization with a mandate aimed at building a world-leading tourism workforce. It facilitates, coordinates, and enables human resource development activities that support a globally competitive and sustainable industry and foster the development of a dynamic and resilient workforce. The organization works with the industry to attract, train, and retain valuable tourism professionals by giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed in their careers and entrepreneurial endeavours.

About The Canadian Workplace Culture Index

The Canadian Workplace Culture Index uses research, best practices, and innovative technology to recognize, enable, and amplify exceptional workplace culture —their research partner, the Angus Reid Institute. Through the Canadian Workplace Culture Certification program, we recognize exceptional workplaces and produce an annual report on the state of workplace culture in Canada. The CWCI is an independent business founded by The ReFrame Group. Learn more about the Canadian Workplace Culture Index online at cultureindex.io.

A heartfelt congratulations from the Tourism HR Canada team to Sally MacInnis, Reservations Manager at Keltic Lodge, in Ingonish Beach, Nova Scotia. Sally is this year’s recipient of the Tourism HR Canada Employee Appreciation Award.

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, MP, and Tourism HR Canada President and CEO Philip Mondor presented the award in Ottawa last week at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) Tourism Congress. Accepting the award on Sally’s behalf was Terry Smith, President & CEO, Destination Cape Breton, who nominated her.

Terry described Sally as one of Cape Breton Island’s most authentic and passionate ambassadors. Working with Keltic Lodge for the past 35+ years, Sally promotes Cape Breton Island and all its exceptional experiences to each and every visitor she welcomes. Her infectious spirit and dedication to Island tourism is renowned.

“Sally has a deep knowledge and understanding of Cape Breton’s history, culture, and experiences,” explained Terry. “She keeps up to date on the latest tourism offerings around the Island and cultivates exceptional travel itineraries for her guests, not as part of her duties, but to ensure happy and satisfied travellers. No matter who is on the phone line, or what employee she is dealing with, Sally treats everyone with respect, knowledge, and a caring nature. Her leadership has ensured Keltic Lodge is one of the leaders in Cape Breton Island hospitality and service excellence.”

Sally leads a team of reservation specialists, comprising seasonal and year-round staff, ensuring to mentor each and every one with Cape Breton Island travel knowledge and excellence in customer service.

“Visitors are thankful to have Sally’s personal help and knowledge when they call to book their accommodations,” Terry added. “In thousands of instances, she has turned a one-night stay into three or four, and even a week, just by spending the time to listen to and understand her guest, and then uses that information to customize their itinerary choices, educate them on travel times around the Island, and up-sell them on additional experiences based on their preferences. Sally’s dedication doesn’t only benefit Keltic Lodge, but rather the entire Island.”

Tourism HR Canada is honoured to acknowledge the incredible passion and professionalism demonstrated by Sally, and is delighted to share such a positive story amidst all that the pandemic has dealt to the tourism sector.

The team would also like to extend its congratulations to all this year’s recipients and finalists. Thanks to TIAC for celebrating the individuals and companies who go above and beyond to offer travellers superior tourism experiences in Canada. Watch all their stories here.

In November, tourism employment increased by 11,200, which is highly unusual for this month. Since 2006, the only other time that tourism employment increased in November was in 2012, when employment increased by 5,500. Generally, tourism employment falls by roughly 28,000 between October and November.[1]

Seasonally unadjusted employment across all industries usually declines in November as well. Since 2006, overall employment has only increased in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, employment fell by 137,400 in November.

This year, seasonally unadjusted employment increased by 93,600. When seasonal adjustments are taken into account, employment increased by 154,000.

Data reflects labour market conditions during the week of November 7 to 13, 2021.

Highlights:

  • Tourism employment increased in November, an unusual occurrence for this time of year.
  • Tourism employed 300,000 fewer workers this November than in November 2019.
  • Total employment also increased in November, also an unusual trend for the time of year.
  • The total number of employed workers in Canada has risen by 290,200 since November 2019.
  • The number of unemployed workers has fallen for three months in a row and is only 36,300 individuals higher than it was in November 2019.
  • The number of people not in the labour force has fallen, except for those over the age of 65.
  • The number of people not in the labour force who want to work has also returned to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The overall labour market looks very much like it did pre-pandemic in terms of unemployment, the number of people not in the labour force, and participation rates for most age groups.
  • The general outlook is one in which the labour market has tightened substantially over the past three months, making it more difficult for sectors where employment has not recovered to find workers.

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

Following two months of falling employment, the number of workers employed in the tourism sector rose by 11,200 in November, increasing 0.6%. As of November, 1,735,200 individuals were working in the tourism sector’s five industry groups; this is 111,200 more employed workers than at this time last year. However, compared to the same month in 2019, over 300,000 fewer individuals worked in the sector.

The gain in employment was due to increases in part-time employment, which was up by 21,500 since October. Full-time employment within tourism declined by 10,400, although some industries saw gains in full-time employment (see Figure 2).

While tourism sector employment increased, employment fell by 12,300 (-8.6%) in the accommodations industry group and by 1,700 in the recreation and entertainment industry group.

The travel services industry gained 1,700 employees in total (a loss of part-time employees was offset by a gain of 2,800 full-time employees), following employment declines in six of the past seven months. Any increase in employment within the travel services industry is good news, as employment within that industry has fallen by 56.4% since March of 2021.

Across all industry groups within tourism, employment has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels (see Figure 3). Employment is also lower in all industry groups than in November 2019 (see Figure 4).

The recreation and entertainment industry is closest to pre-pandemic levels of employment. Relative to February 2020, employment in that industry is only down 6.9%, and compared to November 2019, employment is down 5.1%. Recreation and entertainment is also the industry that has gained the most employment relative to 2020.

At the other end of the spectrum is the travel services industry. Employment held up relatively well in this industry for the first year of the pandemic. Since March, employment has plummeted, and is down by 60% relative to the same month in 2019. Travel services is also the only tourism industry in which employment is lower than it was in 2020.


Provincial Tourism Employment

Provincially, there was a mix of employment gains and losses within the tourism sector. Tourism employment grew 10.5% in Newfoundland and Labrador, and there were smaller employment gains in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Manitoba. Tourism employment fell in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia. Tourism employment levels were unchanged in Prince Edward Island.

Unsurprisingly, tourism employment was lower in all provinces than in November 2019. More concerningly, four provinces are showing lower employment levels than last year.

Job Vacancies

Job vacancy data is not as timely as employment data. September data was recently released and shows a large spike in vacancies among accommodation and food service businesses (see Figure 9). The job vacancy rate reached 14.4%, a historically unprecedented level. It has never been this high since Statistics Canada began tracking this data every quarter via the job vacancy and wage survey in 2015[2]. The September labour force survey analysis by Tourism HR Canada showed a large decline in employment that was concentrated among 15- to 24-year-olds. The vacancy data that is now available shows that although young people left their jobs in September, employers were still looking to fill those positions.

Figure 6 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0372-01  Job vacancies, payroll employees, and job vacancy rate by industry sector, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality

Figure 7 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0326-01  Job vacancies, payroll employees, job vacancy rate, and average offered hourly wage by industry sector, quarterly, unadjusted for seasonality

Employment by Sector

As of October, ten sectors of the economy employ more workers than two years ago, while six have lower employment. Overall, seasonally unadjusted employment has increased by 290,200 since November 2019. The largest gains in employment have occurred in professional, scientific and technical services; wholesale and retail trade; and public administration.

In terms of total employment losses and gains, those sectors that have gained employment since November 2019 have added 732,100 jobs. The sectors that have lost employment have 442,000 fewer workers than they did two years ago (see Figure 8).

Figure 8 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0036-01  Actual hours worked by industry, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality

Total Unemployed and Unemployment Rate

Unemployment across the entire economy fell for the third month in a row in November. The number of unemployed individuals fell by 86,700 between October and November and is down by 502,000 since August. Since August, the number of employed workers has increased by 137,600. The gap exists because many young people exit the labour force entirely at the end of summer. They return to school, and are not employed but not considered unemployed because they are not actively seeking another job.

Compared to the same month two years ago, there were 36,300 more unemployed workers in November 2021. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, the lowest since December 2019. Because the labour force has grown, the number of unemployed workers is still slightly elevated compared to both November and December 2019. However, there are fewer unemployed workers than there were in January and February of 2020. In other words, unemployment levels in Canada look very much like they did pre-pandemic.

Figure 9 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01  Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

Not in the Labour Force – Not Employed, Not Seeking Work

As mentioned, some of the drop in unemployment since August is due to people leaving the labour force. Between October and November, the number of people not in the labour force grew by 29,600, and the number of people not in the labour force has grown by 474,200 since August (see Figure 10). This increase is a regular seasonal occurrence. However, even taking seasonality into account, the number of people not in the labour force has grown significantly. Since November 2019, it has increased by 267,600.

But this growth has come from those over the age of 65. In all other age categories, fewer people are not actively participating in the labour force (see Figure 11). One exception in November was those aged 35 to 44, but this age group also showed decreases in August and October. November’s data is likely a fluke since the trend since the summer has been fewer people not in the labour force, except for those over the age of 65.

The seasonally adjusted participation rates, which show the percentage of people actively participating in the labour force, support this assertion. While the total participation rate for anyone over 15 has decreased slightly since November 2019, it is the same or higher for people between the ages of 15 and 64 (see Figure 12).

In November, the number of people not in the labour force who wanted to work also fell from 381,900 to 377,800. The number of people in this category is still higher than in November 2019, but it is now in roughly the same range that it was during pre-pandemic times (see Figure 13). The greatest difference between November 2019 and November 2021 is the increase in individuals awaiting recalls and the decline in the number of individuals citing “other” as a reason for not seeking work, even though they wanted to (see Figure 14).

Figure 10 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

Figure 11 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0017-01 Labour force characteristics by sex and detailed age group, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

Figure 12 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0287-01  Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle, last 5 months

Figure 13 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0127-01  Reason for not looking for work, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

Figure 14 Source: Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0127-01  Reason for not looking for work, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000)

A Tightening Labour Market

Some tourism demand sources—such as international tourism and business travel—remain suppressed. Because of this, some businesses may not require the full complement of staff that they did prior to the pandemic. However, the vacancies data for the summer clearly shows that employment would be higher if tourism business owners could find all the staff they needed.

Demand for tourism goods and services usually drops in the fall, but this year, that is offset by the loosening of restrictions and the return of some international travellers as borders reopen. Because of these two variables, it hard to predict whether vacancies will come down or increase further in October and November.

Regardless, in November, the tourism sector was still employing 300,000 fewer workers than it was in 2019. And over the past few months, Canada’s overall labour market has largely come to look as it did pre-pandemic. Overall employment is now higher than it was two years ago. Unemployment is only slightly elevated, as is the number of people not in the labour force who would like to work but cannot. For most age groups, the number of people not in the labour force has fallen.

This may be good news for those who lost work due to the pandemic. Most of them have found new jobs. It is not good news for any sectors of the economy where demand for services is growing and employment has not recovered. The slack that existed within the labour market this spring and summer has vanished over the last few months.

View more employment charts and analysis on our Tourism Employment Tracker.


[1]Average decline in tourism employment in November between 2006 and 2019

[2] Data was not collected in Q2 and Q3 of 2020

Graduates of the Destination Inclusion program, which offers free learning and mentorship opportunities to racialized individuals in communities across Eastern Ontario, have been sending in their success stories. The program is clearly offering individuals new opportunities to pursue employment in the tourism sector.

Recent grad Clairon Haynes shared her Destination Inclusion experience:

When this program was recommended to me by Saint Laurent Employment Services, I was super excited because it jelled well with my pre-existing experience acquired in Montreal working at Pierre Trudeau International Airport. I always wanted to work as an airport screening agent since I already have my Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) red pass from Transport Canada!

Learning about the ins and outs of the front desk role was rather interesting, intriguing, educational, and informative. The online learning modules were easy to navigate, and I like how there were quizzes at the end of each topic. They tested all domains of mental cognition—knowledge, skills, comprehension, and application. Each question was designed to give me the practice I need to get the gist of what my daily job as a front desk agent will look like.

With this training I feel more confident to begin my job search in my field.

Since the completion of my training, I have been able to apply to several front desk related jobs. The Ottawa Airport has reached out to me for an interview and testing next week for their screen agent position. I am excited!

I appreciate everything that this course will help me to achieve in the future.

Delivered in partnership with the World Skills Employment Centre and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO), the Destination Inclusion program will continue to run through to the end of March 2022.

Registration is ongoing, and interested applicants are invited to find more information—including how to sign up for an upcoming virtual information session—at destinationinclusion.ca.

Employers wishing to connect with Destination Inclusion graduates and tourism professionals interested in mentoring participants are invited to email info@destinationinclusion.ca.


This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario

By Joe Baker, Tourism HR Canada Board Member

This article was originally published in STAY Magazine.

One of the greatest challenges the hospitality and tourism industry is grappling with is the present state of our workforce. Workforce can be an ambiguous term. When I use the term, I am speaking about a spectrum that includes every individual working in our industry—from frontline to senior executive.

The most pressing issue at hand requires us to focus on a core concept that should already be present in every business in this industry—real leadership.

In September of this year, Canada reached a milestone on our route to recovery. According to Statistics Canada, after four consecutive months of increase, the country added 157,000 new jobs. The gains in September brought employment back to the same level as in February 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic. A sampling of the headlines from major media outlets could lead an observer to believe all is well. To mention but a couple: “Canada’s labour market returns to pre-pandemic levels” (BNN Bloomberg), “Canada posts massive jobs gain; employment back to pre-pandemic levels” (Reuters). Looks good. Doesn’t it?

If you have been reading STAY Magazine then you know this is not the lived experience of employers across Canada’s hospitality and tourism industry. In late November of this year, through in-depth analysis, Tourism HR Canada reported an unprecedented 200,000 job vacancies. That is 200,000 jobs unfilled due to an insufficient supply of human capital.

These two data points create a challenging dilemma and conflicting narrative for our industry. On one hand, we run the risk that our government officials who may be looking at macro-level employment numbers are influenced to slow business relief programs assuming there is a healthy and robust workforce. This puts pressure on our associations and advocacy bodies who are tenacious in their push for continued support to our employers. And most immediately this puts pressure on our employers who feel beaten by the pandemic.

These seemingly divergent data points also put pressure on a narrative I hope we can begin to move away from. The idea that hospitality and tourism workers have traded their jobs for a steady supply of government subsidies and are staying at home rather than returning to work is both inaccurate and dangerously anecdotal.

It also casts our workforce in an extremely unflattering light and allows us to shift blame to them rather than wrestling with the idea that it is the industry that let them down. Take a moment to reflect on what the Stats Can data told us—the Canadians who left the overall workforce during the pandemic have now returned. But interpreting the data requires careful analysis. They may have returned to the workforce, but they did not return to our workforce. They left. And they likely aren’t choosing to come back.

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as having said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” The question to ask ourselves now looks more like this. Why did our workforce leave in the first place? What prompted that choice? Why did they then decide to re-join the labour market in a new industry? And what can we learn from this loss that can prevent another in the future?

As we look forward to solutions, we need to focus on new recruitment strategies in tandem with new retention plans. The cost of this correction in the labour market will be substantial. And anyone reading this who works in sales or human resources equally understands that the cost of recruiting new is far greater than investment in retaining those we have. If we want to make a difference, we need to accept that the path less travelled is one lined with empathy and growth leading to a new approach in human capital management that nurtures our workforce.


Joe Baker is a passionate leader within Canada’s tourism, hospitality and education sectors and a vocal advocate for a resilient, inclusive, future-forward industry. He is CEO of Joe Baker & Co., a human capital consultancy focused on strengthening hospitality and tourism organizations and people. Baker was dean at Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts where he led the most significant transformation in the school’s over 50-year history. He serves on the board of directors at Tourism HR Canada, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and is on the editorial advisory board for SUSTAIN Magazine.

Joe can be found everywhere @thejoebaker.