Month: May 2022

The pandemic has caused significant disruption to the tourism labour market, much greater than the economy overall. While the latest Labour Force Survey shows the workforce is recovering, there is a long way to go: tourism remains over 200,000 workers below the same month in 2019.

In many ways the issues we have today are not new, but the awareness of the challenges and the severity of the issues have been heightened. Many are looking for answers, particularly as the summer tourism season gears up.

Solving the problem is about looking at things differently—it’s a new context, and we’re not talking about returning to 2019. This re-think is about making bold choices and focusing on reform that will help the sector address long-standing structural and systemic issues—changes to public supports and perceptions of the sector, with investments that will help the sector recover, grow, and be more resilient.

For employers, a thorough review of HR policies and practices should be a priority. To help, Tourism HR Canada offers the free “Now Hiring” guide, which covers a range of essential HR practices, tips to implement them, and practical checklists and forms to help tackle key issues.

Covered in the guide is information on how to:

  1. Build a blended workforce
  2. Overhaul your recruitment strategies
  3. Diversify your workforce
  4. Invest in digitalization to build up your workforce
  5. Rethink and rework work arrangements
  6. Work on retention strategies
  7. Pay attention to your HR/employer brand
  8. Be a centre of meaningful learning
  9. Optimize your current workforce
  10. Get good at & prioritize partnerships
  11. Use unconventional, flexible work schedules
  12. Increase your HR IQ
  13. Emphasize the total compensation package

With the labour shortage impacting numerous sectors across Canada—and internationally—the competition for workers is fierce. Businesses who are committed to real change will be able to establish themselves as employers of choice and lead the way in securing tourism’s reputation as a destination for employment.

Access Now Hiring here

Canadian Tourism Labour Market Snapshot

Overall, tourism employment grew slightly (2.2%) from March to April and the unemployment rate improved for all industries except for the food & beverage services industry, which saw a slight uptick. Nevertheless, there was significant improvement in the unemployment rate across all industries when compared to the same month in 2020 and 2021. Likewise, the size of the tourism labour force saw positive gains, with an increase of 1.8% over March to 1.9 million—a significant gain from April 2021 (up 13.2%, from 1.7 million).

Labour Force Survey data[1] released for April 2022 reveals that, at 1,921,600 workers, Canada’s tourism labour force has seen a significant gain from April 2021—up 13.2% from 1,697,300.[2] While this is a very positive sign that workers are returning to tourism occupations, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic persist as the tourism labour force remains 217,500 workers short of the sizeable pre-pandemic total of 2,139,100 (April 2019).

As such, though many indicators (such as positive changes in the monthly unemployment rate and significant employment gains in the accommodations, transportation, and travel services industries) show indications of imminent workforce recovery, labour shortages have been a pressing challenge for the industry in the first four months of 2022.

April 2022 Tourism Employment = 9.2% of Canadian Workforce

Tourism employment comprised 9.4% of the total Canadian labour force for April 2022—slightly above the previous month (9.2%). Tourism employment increased by 39,400 (or 2.2%) from March. Total employment now sits at 1,823,900 (up from 1,784,500 the previous month).

April’s employment numbers saw significant positive change for all industries except food & beverage services (which saw a slight decline of 0.8%). The most significant employment gains were in the accommodations, transportation, and travel services industries. Looking at the same month in previous years, employment in the tourism industries has grown since April 2021 (up 21.1% overall) but continues to lag behind the levels seen pre-pandemic in April 2019 (-9.5%).

April 2022 Tourism Unemployment Rate = 5.1% (less than half of the rate in April 2021)

In April 2022, the unemployment rate in the tourism sector was at 5.1%—lower than the previous month when the unemployment rate stood at 5.4% and slightly better than Canada’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.5%. All industries except for food & beverage services saw a lower unemployment rate than the previous month. All tourism industry groups have reported significantly lower unemployment rates than the same month last year.

On a provincial basis, tourism unemployment rates ranged from 4.2% in Quebec to 15.9% in Prince Edward Island. The seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for tourism in each province, with the exceptions of Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta, were above the rates reported for the provincial economy.

The overall employment increase in April is due to increases in full-time employment. Part-time employment in the tourism sector declined sharply (-13,400), while full-time employment increased by 52,800 workers.

For a full look at the latest tourism workforce trends, please visit the Tourism Employment Tracker.

[1] SOURCE: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, customized tabulations. Based on seasonally unadjusted data collected for the period of April 10 to 16, 2022.

[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.

Tourism HR Canada met with its network of provincial and territorial human resource organizations (HROs) in Ottawa last week to discuss work plans associated with training and assessment resources that constitute the Emerit Tourism Training brand.

The first in-person meeting with this network in over two years, the group dove in to the opportunity to connect and discuss not only the key projects Tourism HR Canada will be launching over the next three years, but also the plans of all participating organizations to identify opportunities for collaboration and avoid duplication of effort where possible.

Attendees included:

  • Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Conseil québécois des ressources humaines en tourisme
  • go2HR
  • Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Ontario Tourism Education Corporation
  • Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité
  • Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council
  • Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick
  • Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island
  • Tourism Saskatchewan
  • Travel Nunavut
  • Yukon Tourism Education Council

(Manitoba Tourism Education Council, Hospitality Saskatchewan, and the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta are also members of this network, but were unable to attend the meeting.)

Each participating HRO presented their priorities over the next 18 months, including details on initiatives with some overlap with the national work plan, opening up a dialogue on how best to collaborate and leverage the various initiatives to serve the needs of the tourism sector writ large.

Tourism HR Canada staff presented on specific national-level projects, then hosted breakout sessions to gather additional intelligence and discuss next steps with respect to how best to document all initiatives, align efforts, and identify specific initiatives where collaboration or joint work plans can begin.

While discussions covered many HR-related priorities, the focus was on the development of new Emerit resources that included:

  • Developing and testing a new micro-credentialling model
  • Updating eLearning and micro-learning tools
  • Leveraging the new national competency library (Workforce Management Engine)
  • Updating Professional Certification credentials
  • Discussing a new technology platform to host new and existing tools

“The meeting was not only of strategic importance, it was an energizing experience to be amongst colleagues all focused on how best to provide support (programming and resources) for the industry that we are all passionate about. We believe tourism to be a place for people to find job and career satisfaction and are committed to building back such an important component of Canada’s economy,” stated Tourism HR Canada V.P. of Workforce Development Jon Kiely.

The HRO partners are an integral part of the broader Working Groups network established to assist Tourism HR Canada with this new work, provide input into what is developed, and assist with the piloting and testing of the resources created. As work progresses, there will be numerous touchpoints to engage these key stakeholders to ensure Tourism HR Canada is developing what is of most critical importance to employers, employees, job seekers, and the education community. This feedback will also inform the work of the Tourism Workforce Recovery & Growth Task Force as it develops a framework for recovery that addresses short-term and long-term systemic and structural issues.

“I appreciate the opportunity to meet colleagues from across Canada and learn about their work,” said Tracy Breher, Tourism Saskatchewan’s Executive Director of Destination and Workforce Development. “Some excellent collaborative opportunities emerged, both with Tourism HR Canada programs and other HROs. These partnerships will benefit Saskatchewan’s tourism sector on many levels. Participation in national campaigns increases the effectiveness of messages and the value of our investment. I am excited about the work to come and the strategic collaboration that will advance our collective goals of a stronger, skilled workforce.”

We invite you to look for project updates and other exciting news from our collective work plans in future editions of Tourism HR Insider.

Employer Perspectives: Barriers & Enablers to Accessible Workforce Entry

The Project

Persons with disabilities (PwD) in Canada face many barriers to meaningful first-time employment. But research on employer perspectives–including barriers and enablers employers face in recruiting and hiring PwD–and actionable solutions are still needed, especially in the context of COVID-19 recovery.

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) and the CNIB Foundation are working to understand what employers need to support PwD and to help develop the Employment Standards, tools, and resources that will get them there.

The Ask

BHER and CNIB would like to invite you to a 60-minute discussion on your perspectives and experiences with recruitment and hiring for PwD.

The Benefits

These discussions are an opportunity to help develop solutions to shared challenges. They are also a space to network and share stories and best practices with employers from across the country.

The findings from this project will be used to help inform new Employment Standards for the Accessible Canada Act, and to build employer tools and resources to support universal accessibility and help with regulatory compliance in recruitment and hiring.

All findings, tools, and resources will be made publicly available and shared directly with participants.

 All participants will receive a $100 choice gift card as a token of appreciation for your time and insights.

Who Should Attend?

HR & talent leaders from federally regulated and other large private sector organizations. Expertise in accessibility or equity, diversity, and inclusion is not required–we are simply looking to understand your experiences and needs in your roles.

Discussions will focus on…

  • You/your organization’s experiences with strategies for recruiting, hiring, and supporting PwD
  • Barriers your organization faces in recruiting, hiring, and supporting PwD (e.g., biases/misperceptions across your organization, capacity challenges, financial barriers, etc.)
  • Examples of success stories or what has worked to support PwDs in your organization
  • The resources, tools, or other supports that would actually be useful to address barriers and needs in your organization
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted attitudes, barriers, and experiences around recruiting and hiring PwD

Please note that the sessions will be recorded for research purposes. All identifying information will be kept strictly confidential and anonymized in public content.

Session Dates and Registration

Upcoming sessions are being held through May and June, including:

  • Thursday, May 19 @ 4:00 – 5:00 PM Eastern
  • Thursday, May 26 @ 4:00 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Click here to register.

If you have any questions, concerns, or would like more information, please contact: Maria Giammarco, Sr Lead, R&D at

About BHER

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that brings together Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions.

About CNIB

Founded in 1918, the CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion.