A Dose of Reality, and a Prescription for Surviving a Chronic Shortfall of Workers

Enduring 24 months of the pandemic has led many tourism operators and workers to express feelings of despair, loneliness, and uncertainty. The collective and cumulative fatigue is evidence of a very tired workforce that needs a lot of support. The labour shortage is expected to be long-lasting—it may be a decade or more before the industry reaches pre-pandemic employment levels. Despite the ongoing uncertainties and current situation, the industry has demonstrated resilience and innovation, and there are increasing signs of optimism as restrictions are lifted.

FOCUSED ON WORKFORCE RECOVERY

Tourism, at its core, is a people business and one that relies on a skilled workforce to capitalize on its economic potential for Canada. Re-opening tourism businesses and guiding their recovery requires an all-of-sector approach. A workforce recovery strategy will require flexibility, coordination, and resources to ensure it is responsive to urgent demands and is economically and socially viable over the long term. Fundamentally, the aim must strive for a cohesive strategy to address systemic and structural issues, improve on the sector’s resilience, and strengthen its capacity as a key economic driver.

Tourism HR Canada is working with industry stakeholders from across Canada to address short-term and long-term workforce recovery issues, with an overall aim to grow the supply of workers and hold on to those we have while improving the quality of work.

Currently, Tourism HR Canada is focused on six areas as part of a comprehensive workforce recovery framework:

  1. Comprehensive attraction and retention strategy
  2. Tools to help employers manage new HR demands
  3. Recovery programs and services for reskilling and upskilling
  4. Digitalization strategy to enhance business resilience
  5. Supporting workforce policy and advocacy efforts
  6. Continued workforce/LMI research to inform strategies

A PLAN SHAPED BY YOUR NEEDS AND IDEAS

A comprehensive workforce recovery strategy can only be informed by a broad cross-section of stakeholders from across Canada. We need your help by providing recommendations and ideas and by implementing new tools and strategies to address the issues. Watch for further information and opportunities to engage, including participation in roundtables, hearing or contributing to expert presentations, and ability to supply written submissions. (Soon, we’ll be dedicating a special edition of the newsletter to this topic.)

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

A well-qualified workforce is a prerequisite for economic growth, and tourism is uniquely positioned to contribute to the national economic recovery. Demand for travel and tourism is expected to rebound with exponential growth potential. With a comprehensive, industry-led workforce recovery and growth plan, and the support of governments, tourism can emerge strengthened and more resilient.