Fall 2009 Issue

Le Complexe Les Deux Rivières Sets the Bar as First Employee-Rated Employer of Choice 

Thanks to its commitment to developing and implementing top human resource practices, the Complexe Les Deux Rivières has achieved the distinction of being the first Employee-Rated Employer of Choice. The New Brunswick vacation centre’s employees ranked the property a leader in attracting, retaining, motivating, and training its staff.

With a picturesque location on the banks of the Petit Tracadie River, the Complexe Les Deux Rivières boasts a convention centre and hotel, 50 comfortable cottages, the Centre de Santé Spa, and a one-of-a-kind paddlewheel boat, the Cajun III.

Open since 2000, the property has been a huge success with visitors and staff alike. In an industry that generally sees a high turnover rate, 30 per cent of the property’s staff has worked there since day one. This has positively impacted customer satisfaction, as surveys indicate that 94 per cent of guests were very pleased with their stay and plan on coming back in the near future.

General Manager Daniel Chiasson attributes part of this success to a strong sense of workplace pride. Employees are encouraged to communicate and their ideas are heard and acted upon. When Chiasson came on board in early 2007, he sat down with the entire team to share his vision and listen to their views. Based on the resulting discussions, the management team revitalized the departmental structure and implemented some new employee policies and best practices. They offer in-house and outside training to maximise employees’ potential. Staff members are consistently recognized and rewarded for their efforts. By involving all employees into this change process, there is now a strong team orientation. Continue...

Tourism HR Forum Releases Exceptional Program  

Registration is now open for the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council’s eighth annual Tourism HR Forum. This premier national event will take place at Montreal’s Delta Centre-Ville from November 23rd to 25th, 2009. This year’s theme, “On Your Mark! Get Set! Change!”, addresses critical human resource issues currently facing the tourism sector, including leadership and change management. Featured speakers will examine topics from three perspectives – Quebec, Canada, and the world – as the CTHRC and co-hosts the Conseil québécois des ressources humaines en tourisme bring together their annual conferences. Registration and the full program are available now at cthrc.ca/hrforum.

The HR Forum provides a unique opportunity for tourism managers, human resource executives, corporate trainers, association representatives, and educators to gather. The Forum not only provides a venue to discuss today’s tourism sector, but also puts forward practical, relevant ideas and solutions for current issues facing the sector. Speakers will discuss a variety of timely HR topics, including employee engagement, qualification recognition, sustainability, and labour market trends. Delegates will be sure to come away with insight into addressing current and future challenges facing the tourism sector and, more specifically, their own businesses. Continue...

Stay Informed: CTHRC Offers Cutting-Edge Research Results

Tourism in Canada offers unique experiences, interesting attractions, five-star accommodations, and superb amenities. Consisting of five industry groups (food and beverage services, transportation, accommodation, recreation and entertainment, and travel services), tourism is a large and dynamic contributor to the nation’s economy. In 2008, tourism spending in Canada reached $74.7 billion and the sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP was 2.2%. However, without sufficient qualified employees to provide these services and operate these facilities, the sector will not be sustainable.

Consequently, the CTHRC produces an array of labour market information to provide stakeholders with pertinent information on the tourism sector’s labour force. Total Canadian tourism sector employment in 2008 was 1.8 million people, which represented 10% of all employment in the country. Understanding the characteristics of these existing workers, the projected supply of labour in Canada over the coming years, and ways to competitively attract and retain workers is necessary for the development and implementation of proactive tourism human resource policies.

Among the top challenges is engaging talented workers. Tourism employers face competition for labour, falling birth rates, misperceptions about tourism occupations, and the aging of the baby boomer population. The CTHRC and the Conference Board of Canada work together on labour supply-demand studies, which identify the extent of potential labour shortages in the tourism sector over the medium to long term and make suggestions to alleviate the severity of the predictions. Continue...

New Canadian Finds Success as Vancouver-Based Travel Counsellor

When grey winter skies start to give people the blues, travel counsellor Ruth Suarez knows just how to help. Since 2006, Suarez has worked with Mi Tierra Holidays, a travel agency in Vancouver, BC. Mi Tierra specializes in arranging visits and vacations to Mexico and Latin America, as well as tours of Canada’s West Coast. After five long years trying to find a rewarding job in Canada, Suarez is thrilled to use her sales skills and friendly personality to help people create the perfect vacation.

Born and raised in Mexico, Suarez’s path is one that many new Canadians can likely identify with. She moved to Vancouver in 2001, armed with a university degree in tourism and relevant work experience. But getting even low-paying jobs was difficult and working in her field seemed out of reach. It was depressing, she admits, and frustrating.

“I remember the first job I had here,” she recalls. “I had to work very hard for five dollars per hour, because I didn’t have Canadian experience, even though I had my degree.” Continue...