Travel Courier
Issue Date: May 02, 2019

Now hiring

Addressing Canada's tourism sector labour gap


If you haven’t heard – or seen the “apply within” signs – there is an imminent labour shortage across Canada’s tourism sector. Tourism HR Canada estimates that by 2035 nearly a quarter of a million jobs will go unfilled, resulting in a projected revenue loss of $27.4B for the tourism sector. Travel Courier gets to the bottom of this issue with Charlotte Bell, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, to find out what exactly the labour gap means for Canada’s tourism industry.

Why are we experiencing a labour shortage in Canada’s tourism industry?
Increasing tourism demand, coupled with an aging population are the main contributors to slowing labour force growth issues. Adding to this, the number of people aged 15 to 24, a key component of the tourism labour force, is decreasing and projected to continue shrinking until 2022.

Charlotte Bell President & CEO, TIAC

Which sectors of tourism will be hardest hit?
The food and beverage service industry is expected to face the largest shortfall across Canada.

What is TIAC doing to address the labour shortage?
Addressing labour needs is a significant part of our outreach efforts to government. We continue to push for permanent immigration solutions to address labour supply gaps, pathways for international tourism students to work and stay in Canada, and for funding to help support market research and workforce development programming.

What should young people beginning a career in tourism know about the labour gap?
Tourism grads are in high demand – so there are many opportunities in all regions of the country. However, because so many businesses are struggling to find enough staff, grads may be expected to pitch in in other aspects of business including front-line work. This should be seen as an opportunity for cross-training, ultimately leading to a better understanding of business and more career development opportunities.

Any reasons to be hopeful?
Yes, tourism has been identified as one of the top industries with growth potential in Canada. We are hopeful this will create a more positive outlook from both the government and the public on the incredible potential of tourism careers.