Tourism HR Canada Fostering Accessible Employment Opportunities in Tourism

Federally Funded Belong Initiative Will Strengthen Long-Term Diversity in Tourism Workforce

(OTTAWA, ON—December 4, 2023) In the wake of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Tourism HR Canada announces a new, three-year project, Belong, that will support the long-term labour market integration of persons with disabilities across the Canadian tourism sector. The project is generously funded by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. Belong plays a core role in Tourism HR Canada’s mission to create an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible tourism sector.

Belong will provide a range of national programming to increase awareness of disability inclusion and connect job seekers with disabilities with meaningful work in tourism. Training and resources will enhance tourism employers’ understanding of the significant benefits of hiring, retaining, and promoting persons with disabilities and strengthen the sector’s capacity to create accessible workplaces. Job seekers and community associations will learn more about the wide range of employment opportunities available in tourism and its commitment to equity.

Coming as the sector is rebuilding, with travel nearing pre-pandemic levels, the initiative will help with diversifying the tourism workforce and broadening talent attraction and retention strategies.

“By fostering an environment where every individual’s unique strengths are celebrated, we enrich our workplaces and contribute to a more vibrant and welcoming tourism community,” states Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to connect and support tourism employers and the disability community across the country and to dismantle barriers to employment. With over 400 types of occupations in tourism, our sector is well placed to benefit from the many skills and experiences of a diverse workforce, and to offer ample employment opportunities for a wide range of talents.”

The Opportunities Fund (OF) brings together employers and employees with disabilities to increase the participation of working-aged persons with disabilities in the workforce. The objective of the program is to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain, and keep employment, advance in their careers, or become self-employed. Through the OF, more Canadians are able to achieve financial independence and participate in all aspects of society.

Tourism HR Canada will create a National Tourism Employment Inclusion Partnership to work closely with national, provincial/territorial, and local stakeholders to promote the project, recruit participants, and identify and support the needs of persons with disabilities, employers, and community associations.

“We will be undertaking a full suite of activities to ensure the provision of wrap-around support for job seekers, businesses, and serving agencies,” adds Mondor. “This will include the development of online and in-person training and workshops on creating accessible and inclusive workplaces, downloadable disability inclusion toolkits, inclusive employment events, a referral program, a consulting clinic, a mentorship model, and much more. We are also ensuring our own resources and communications are as accessible as possible through an audit of our own materials.”

A key component of Belong will be the undertaking of research to understand how disability impacts people with multiple marginalized identities in tourism workplaces, considering gender- or sex-related barriers and mental health and substance use disorders. The research will also analyze tourism occupations to identify telework/work-from-home opportunities and develop materials to encourage awareness of what these are and why they are vital to diversifying the workforce.

Belong will also develop guidelines and tools for a national accreditation program to encourage and recognize tourism businesses that are actively engaged in accessible workplace practices.

“The Belong project offers Canada’s tourism sector the opportunity to build back better,” reflects Mondor. “Tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry that employs one in ten people across Canada, and we are grateful for the ability to ensure such a large economic sector is taking a lead on creating accessible, inclusive workplaces and a more diverse workforce.”

Find project details and sign up for updates at

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