Destination Employment

As an extension to the Destination Employment Facebook page, Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) recently launched a Facebook group exclusively for individuals who’ve participated in the pan-Canadian Destination Employment program.

This alumni group will serve as a networking platform for program graduates who might want to share their experiences as newcomers to Canada and as Destination Employment participants. Amongst other things, the alumni group will offer regular industry news updates, advise of upcoming training programs to further build employability and language skills, share recruitment opportunities across the regions, and seek to engage mentors for future programs with similar offerings. Organizations and employers who were key to the program’s success will be able to offer ongoing guidance and advice to group members.

As this three-year pilot program wraps up March 31, 2021, the project team believes it will be extremely valuable to have a platform where successful program beneficiaries can interact and support for one another in the world of work, particularly as the hospitality industry begins to recover as vaccines are more widely distributed and travel restrictions are gradually lifted.

To join the Destination Employment Alumni Group, please click here.

For more information on the Destination Employment program, please click here.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism is one of the hardest-hit sectors in Canada and across the world. Full recovery is predicted to be as distant as mid-2022. Employment in the accommodations industry may not reach pre-COVID levels until as late as 2024.

Despite the uncertainty, the demand for travel will rebound. This opportunity for growth requires industry players to identify the role newcomers have as Canada’s hotels recover from the crisis.

To explore this more fully, join Café New Canadians for a virtual event on Thursday, October 8, at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.

This live chat features:

  • Vibha Vohra-Bhalla, Director, Services & Community Engagement at ACCES Employment
  • Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada
  • Pinar Uzunkaya, Assistant Project Manager at OTEC
  • Carol Logan, Director of Human Resources at The Prince George Hotel in Halifax

Sign up today to explore the role that immigrants have to play in the evolving Canadian hospitality industry, learn about Destination Employment, a free training program facilitated across the country, and hear panellists’ insights on how we will build a flourishing industry that welcomes travel and leisure to Canada once more.

The four guest speakers will also answer your questions live. See you there!

Register for Café New Canadians’ The future of the hotel and tourism industry in Canada virtual live chat

Destination EmploymentThe Destination Employment program prepares newcomers to Canada for jobs in the accommodations industry—an industry in which employers were often desperately seeking skilled staff to welcome the rapidly growing number of visitors across the country. And then, leading into the final year of the three-year pilot, the pandemic hit.

Regional partners were quick to assess and report back on the impacts of COVID-19 in their area.

Amidst plummeting hotel occupancy rates, closures, and staff reductions, the program sought ways to offer alternative support for its participants—those taking in-class training and those looking to apply their skills.

In-class sessions were cancelled as emergency measures were implemented. Where possible, these were wrapped up remotely. Partners then provided one-on-one support, checking in with Destination Employment graduates and participating employers. They helped newcomers navigate financial support, connected them with free online training, and gauged their needs and the impact of changes to the program.

Efforts then began to move ahead with programming, albeit in different forms.

  • In Ottawa, the YMCA moved forward with online information sessions for interested newcomers.
  • In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), ACCES Employment was able to adjust its traditional programming and get an online cohort enrolled by end of May; all graduated with important workplace knowledge and employability skills.
  • The Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC) partnered with Metro Works in Halifax to provide online program orientation in multiple languages for the benefit of newcomers with lower English levels.
  • The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) successfully planned and launched a kitchen helper focused cohort, with both online training and a practical component organized to maintain required physical distancing. STEC is also looking at expansion of the Destination Employment program into rural areas.
  • In Kingston, the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) and local partners are finalizing plans to help newcomers displaced as a result of the pandemic by reaching back out and offering additional training.

Across the country, Destination Employment partners are exploring new opportunities to facilitate access to technology and build the required digital literacy skills to succeed in online learning.

At the national level, Tourism HR Canada is determining how to highlight the transferable skills imparted through the hospitality-focused Destination Employment training, support the displaced workforce, and build connections with program alumni. The organization has initiated meetings with Service Delivery Improvements (SDI) recipients in similar category as Destination Employment. This will promote partnerships, explore opportunities, and share lessons and resources developed over the course of the project. Although no formal partnerships have been established, conversations are moving forward to explore available opportunities.

For more information on the Destination Employment program, including to access the free online Hospitality Essentials courses, please visit

Destination Employment Logo

Hospitality Essentials Offers Free Online Skills Development

Tourism HR Canada, in partnership with the Hotel Association of Canada, is proud to announce the launch of our newest training resources: Hospitality Essentials. These short online courses will help newcomers to Canada and newcomers to hospitality learn the foundational skills to prepare for work in a hospitality environment in Canada.

The microlearning includes a strong emphasis on the roles of Front Desk, Housekeeping, and Line Cook, but many social and cultural topics—working with a team, cultural values in a Canadian workplace—give these courses broader appeal as tools to build transferable skills that can be applied in many workplace settings.

While these short, interactive courses were initially developed for Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program (funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC]), they are available free-of-charge to the entire tourism sector and beyond as informative, interactive, entry-to-practice learning.

The various courses include overviews of key hospitality occupations, specific lessons on vocabulary related to the tools of the trade, and resources on becoming a productive member of a work team.

Hospitality Essentials was developed to be mobile-friendly, allowing participants to access all content via smart phone or more traditional online training platforms.

Please visit the Destination Employment site to register for these free resources and continue your professional development in a safe and easily accessible environment.

Tourism HR Canada is pleased to announce a new partnership with Windmill Microlending, a registered charity organization that offers low-interest microloans to skilled newcomers to Canada who struggle with the cost of upskilling, credentials, and accreditations.

Serving newcomers since 2005, Windmill provides up to $15,000 in microloans to pay for professional examinations, training, assessments, professional association fees, books and materials, living allowance, and other related expenses associated with obtaining credentials and training. Windmill explains that these internationally trained individuals often cannot access mainstream credit because they have low income and/or no Canadian credit history.

At the initial meeting, both Tourism HR Canada and Windmill Microlending identified some strategic areas of alignment with Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment project, considering that both organizations share a similar target audience (newcomers to Canada).

With Windmill Microlending’s long-standing relationship with immigrant serving agencies in Alberta and Saskatoon, Tourism HR Canada will leverage this opportunity to network and reach out to newcomers about participating in Destination Employment. Qualified beneficiaries can in-turn visit Windmill Microlending to access low-interest microloans.

Partnerships such as this one have become imperative to re-emphasize the importance of industry collaboration and the Government of Canada’s initiatives towards achieving a shared vision and common goal of helping newcomers secure sustainable jobs upon arrival in Canada. In the near future, other areas of strategic alliance will also be explored.

Subscribe to Tourism HR Canada for updates.

The Destination Employment program now has a dedicated online space to help connect newcomers with hotel employment and hoteliers with job seekers. Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada, together with regional delivery partners, are delighted to announce this new microsite,

Launched last year in five regions across the country, the three-year pilot program provides skills and language training to newcomers to Canada, while also offering onboarding and mentorship resources to hoteliers.

Properties in Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada who have joined the program are finding skilled staff to fill ongoing job vacancies resulting from a national labour shortage. Newcomers, including refugees, who have completed the training are finding rewarding employment in supportive workplaces.

Available in both English and French, the website features fresh graphics and user-friendly navigation. Visitors to the site will find:

  • A clear overview of program benefits and the application process
  • Details on where the program is offered and by whom
  • Career profiles and pathways for numerous accommodations positions
  • Success stories from program participants—newcomers and employers
  • Videos highlighting the careers of successful tourism professionals from diverse backgrounds
  • FAQs and an online contact form to connect with the appropriate regional delivery partner

Also launched was a brand new success story featuring Destination Employment graduate Mary Grace Ordaniel of Dawson City, Yukon. Originally from the Philippines, she is pursuing a hospitality career at the Eldorado Hotel. She joins program grads from Toronto and Halifax in sharing how the Destination Employment program has helped set them on the path to achieving their goals in Canada.

Watch Mary Grace’s story here.

(Regardez la vidéo française ici.)

Another Yukon success story will be released in the coming weeks. Sign up for Tourism HR Insider to be the first to know.

World University Service of Canada LogoTourism HR Canada was contacted by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) to be a part of its Pathways to Employment for Refugees (PER) project as an advisory committee member. The PER project shares similarities with Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment project, which seeks to connect newcomers to Canada and hotel employers. Both projects are funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The PER pilot will build on WUSC’s experience with the Student Refugee Program and Camosun College’s experience delivering employment skills training in Kenya and Canada.

Tourism HR Canada sees this partnership as a perfect fit to achieve a common goal of addressing labour shortages in the hospitality industry and helping newcomers to Canada acquire sustainable jobs in hotels upon arrival.

Following this invitation was an advisory committee consultation that was held November 5 to 8, 2019, in Victoria, BC.

The primary objectives of the consultation meeting were as follows:

  • To formally meet with the advisory committee members and provide updates on the project so far
  • To identify and meet with potential employers and stakeholders for the project
  • To formally launch the project and sign a partnership agreement with Camosun College
  • To brainstorm on immediate next steps on the project

Tourism HR Canada is pleased to be a part of this project and lauds the government through IRCC for providing a platform for industry players to work collaboratively towards a common goal.

For future updates on this and other employment initiatives, be sure to subscribe to Tourism HR Insider.

Destination Employment Atlantica HotelNow into its second year, the national Destination Employment program continues to successfully help newcomers acquire the knowledge and experience they need to gain meaningful employment in Canada.

The program provides skills and language training to newcomers to Canada in five regions: Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Participating employers gain resources to help onboard the new staff, including the establishment of a robust mentorship program.

The pilot program enters the fall season with regional delivery partners working tirelessly to organize cohorts for newcomers in their respective regions. The following sessions are either planned or already underway:

  • The Yukon Tourism Education Council (YTEC) started a new cohort on September 23.
  • The Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC) commenced classes for its fall cohorts in Regina and Saskatoon, both on September 9.
  • In Ontario, OTEC Workforce Solutions has three cohorts scheduled to start, one on October 7 in Guelph, another on October 7 in Ottawa, and a third on November 25 in Toronto.

Newcomers interested in future sessions in any of the five participating areas can explore the program requirements and connect with their regional delivery partner here.

Hoteliers interested in participating in the program by employing program graduates are asked to contact

With success stories such as these, the program is making an impact both on the lives of newcomers and on the labour shortages challenging hospitality employers.

Destination Employment LogoTourism HR Canada staff met with representatives from World University Service of Canada (WUSC) last week to learn more about WUSC’s Pathways to Employment for Refugees program. The two organizations discussed potential synergies with Tourism HR Canada’s Destination Employment program, which focuses on providing training and job opportunities to newcomers to Canada. Both programs are funded through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

While the focus of each program is different, there are many similarities, leading to opportunities for the two initiatives to benefit from working collaboratively.

The Pathways to Employment for Refugees pilot is a new initiative being implemented in partnership with Camosun College and WUSC. The pilot will build on WUSC’s experience with the Student Refugee Program and Camosun College’s experience delivering employment skills training in Kenya and Canada.

World University Service of Canada LogoThe pilot aims to:

  • Engage private sector and community partners to strengthen understandings of refugee settlement challenges such as access to employment
  • Build the capacity of employers to offer employment opportunities to resettled refugees
  • Facilitate the involvement of private sector and community partners in refugee sponsorship
  • Increase the preparedness of resettled refugees through sector-specific job skills training, pre- and post-arrival

Early discussions with WUSC have also identified opportunities to further pilot training assets developed for Destination Employment, in order to grow user feedback. This will support efforts to continually update and enhance the training resources associated with Destination Employment to ensure they are meeting the needs of participants.

Jon Kiely, Vice President of Product Innovation for Tourism HR Canada, will sit on WUSC’s Project Advisory Committee as a proxy for Destination Employment lead Stacie Travers, who is currently on parental leave.

For future updates on this and other employment initiatives, be sure to subscribe to Tourism HR Insider.

Destination EmploymentNow into its second year, the Destination Employment program continues to connect unemployed or underemployed newcomers to Canada and hotels suffering from chronic labour shortages. Offered in five regions across the country, solid partnerships are ensuring the successful training and transition of newcomers into supportive workplaces.

Delivery partners in Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada have all engaged with prospective employers. Each one has conducted significant outreach, conducting meetings and presentations throughout their region. A total of nineteen employers were signed onto Destination Employment in just three months.

As the program becomes more established, the number of newcomers employed across the regions is quickly escalating. Cohorts in each region have now completed extensive training, including occupational skills and language, and are now securing work in accommodations across each region.

In the past few months, JW Marriott hired nine program participants to join its new operations opening in Alberta this summer. Two employers in the Greater Toronto Area have employed graduates of the Destination Employment program. In Guelph, a large portion of the May cohort came from Eritrea. All were employed by one hotel, who gave remarkable compliments about being pleased with the hires. The hotel expressed its desire to engage more people from Eritrea; they have now been connected to the Eritrean community in Guelph, leading to a new pool of job seekers available to fill other positions in their organisation. The employer also hired a family member of one of the participants.

Additionally, partners are developing specialized training resources to help both newcomers and employers. The Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and its partner Olds College have now completed the translation of 35 training videos into Tagalog, French, and Arabic. These videos introduce the hotel industry in Canada and give opportunities for additional training post-program.

A key communication element of the program has been showcasing the successes of participating hoteliers and newcomers. Building on inspiring video testimonials from Nova Scotia and Ontario, Destination Employment partner the Hotel Association of Canada has secured a partnership with New Canadians TV (on OMNI channel) to produce a special TV episode and online series solely for Destination Employment. The episode and series will feature the employment opportunities the program offers to newcomers and highlight different successful deployment of program assets.

Destination Employment will be offering upcoming intakes into programs in its five delivery regions. If you are a newcomer or an accommodations industry employer who wishes to participate, learn more about the eligibility requirements and the five regional delivery partners here.