On behalf of the Tourism HR Canada team, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy new year. I know that 2022 has arrived under incredibly challenging circumstances. Our hard-hit tourism sector has been dealt another blow as the Omicron variant rages. In addition to the worry and uncertainty around the virus itself, the impact of the measures put in place to try to mitigate its effects will be strongly felt by most employers and employees in our industry. Please know that we are here to assist however we can. We continue to update our COVID portal with the current federal programs available to you, and ensure our mental health resource page links to the latest guidance and support.
And while we acknowledge the current struggle, there is reason for optimism. Advancements with vaccines and treatments for COVID continue to emerge. Actions to support our sector are being undertaken by governments, industry associations, and advocacy bodies across Canada. In the fall, we saw the launch of the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP), which will provide rent and wage subsidies to qualifying businesses. The Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) also offers employers assistance with wages. For workers, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit all offer various income supports.
Looking ahead, I am pleased to share that the Government of Canada confirmed funding for two three-year projects for Tourism HR Canada:
(1) Maintaining a Foundational Labour Market Forecasting and Intelligence System
This initiative sees the continuation of the labour market research and analysis that is core to our mandate. We will continue to track and share the latest data around our workforce to show the impact of the pandemic to date and the projected impacts on recovery and rehiring. This information is crucial to the development and implementation of smart, targeted programs to rebuild a strong and sustainable visitor economy. Ongoing updates to this information are provided through our Employment Tracker, and new studies and reports will be released throughout the duration of this project.
(2) Tourism Workforce Recovery: Helping Restore 100,000s of Jobs and Build Resilience
This project encompasses several initiatives to secure tourism’s revival, including:
- updated and new information and tools to address post-pandemic labour market issues, with a focus on the attraction and retention of a skilled workforce and on skills upgrading for both workers and tourism operators to respond to unprecedented market changes;
- a secure, stable, and adaptive learning management infrastructure to support post-pandemic priorities and enable the organization to adapt, evolve, and execute a digital strategy to help businesses address essential workforce needs;
- new training and micro-credentials in high-demand skills areas that further promote improved diversity, inclusion, and anti-oppressive practices and in skills areas that have high transferability/marketability in the labour market (this focus on retooling skills is in direct response to COVID-19, with the aim of accelerating recovery of the tourism workforce); and
- new online, customizable workforce management tools for employers and intermediaries (e.g., career development practitioners, educators) to foster stronger attachments to the workforce for both job seekers and workers.
This funding was part of a December announcement made around federal support to the tourism sector. It demonstrates the priority attached to this sector and to the work we do. Tourism HR Canada has, perhaps, never been more important to the industry. The next three years will steadfastly focus on the recovery of the workforce. As we say in our mandate, our aim is to build a resilient, competitive, and inclusive labour market.
I’d like to gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s generous funding and ongoing support of our work. A sincere thanks also goes out to our partners and stakeholders, who continue to collaborate, communicate, and innovate to ensure we succeed in our shared goal of restoring a resilient and prosperous Canadian tourism sector. And, of course, a heartfelt thank you to the individuals across the country who are connected to the tourism realm, whether as employers, employees, entrepreneurs, students, or educators—your passion for this industry is what makes Canada a world-class destination and what will ignite travel’s revival.
With very best wishes,
President and CEO, Tourism HR Canada