The Labour Force Survey (LFS), conducted by Statistics Canada, is the only source of monthly employment estimates for Canadian industries. It collects monthly standard labour market indicators and is a major source of information on the working-age population in all provinces. Tourism HR Canada reviews the estimates available for tourism industries on an annual basis.

HR Insider subscribers receive monthly estimates of employment and unemployment for each of tourism’s five industry groups and for each province. To sign up for HR Insider, click here.

You can also get detailed labour force survey data by occupation and region through our Rapid reSearch tool, hosted on Sign up for an account to gain access to the data.

Labour Force Survey Annual Highlights (2019)

The information presented here is drawn from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. It shows rates of unemployment in Canada’s tourism sector by province and by industry group.

The data is seasonally unadjusted to allow comparisons between the tourism sector and the overall economy. As such, monthly and annual numbers for Canada’s entire labour force will differ from the seasonally adjusted numbers that are commonly reported.

Annual Average Unemployment by Industry

Unemployment levels in the overall economy were slightly lower in 2019 than the year before. In contrast, unemployment in the tourism sector increased, a trend noted in three component industry groups (accommodations, food and beverage services, and recreation and entertainment). Transportation was the lone industry to see a decrease in unemployment. However, it’s worth noting that the overall unemployment rate was 5.7%, while tourism was over a half percentage point lower, at 5.1%. The economy is generally considered to be operating at full employment when the overall rate reaches 6.0% or lower.

Annual Average Unemployment by Province (Tourism vs. Labour Force)

The highest rates of unemployment occurred in the eastern regions of Canada. Prince Edward Island had the highest tourism unemployment rate, at 10.1%. It and Quebec were the only provinces where tourism unemployment exceeded overall unemployment. In every other province, the tourism sector experienced lower unemployment than the overall economy. The lowest annual tourism unemployment rate occurred in British Columbia, where it reached 3.2%.

National Monthly Unemployment Rate (Tourism vs. Labour Force)

Tourism’s unemployment rate was lower than the overall economy throughout the year, and was consistently considered to be operating at full employment, as it never rose above 6.0%. Tourism saw its lowest level of unemployment in the month of September.

Annual Unemployment Rate (Tourism vs. Labour Force) 1997–2019

Between 2005 and 2008, the tourism unemployment rate closely mirrored that of the Canadian economy. However, since 2008, those rates have diverged. Tourism unemployment has consistently been about a percentage point lower than the overall unemployment rate since 2009, although this gap narrowed in 2019.

canada_govThis project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program


The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

Source: Adapted from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. This does not constitute an endorsement by Statistics Canada of this product.