CTHRC Participates in Two Panel Sessions at the 2013 Tourism Congress

Panel on Diversity in Guests and Employees

A tourism destination without the people who welcome and serve the visitors is simply a geographic location.  With this thought in mind, the International Gateway: Serving Guests and Working With a Diverse Workforce panel highlighted the importance of having staff who are engaged and well-trained to not only meet the needs of a diverse group of international guests but also a diverse team of co-workers focused on the same goal. The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, the Canadian Tourism Commission and P. Basillie Consulting were all represented on the panel.

The panel began with an overview of the evolving nature of international visitors to Canada and the increase in visits from new emerging markets.  Having a training strategy and training materials that can assist employers familiarize their staff with some of the important cultural nuances of these emerging markets was identified as a solid competitive advantage for operators who undertook such initiatives.  Discussion then moved to managing diversity within the workplace and how to recruit, train and retain new Canadians as a crucial demographic for employers in most regions of Canada.  An added element to the discussion was a profile of the unique experience of hiring new Canadians in the Yukon.  The blend of Aboriginal-Canadians, non-Aboriginal Canadians and new Canadians was shown to give a unique and positive experience in workplaces where this dynamic was at play.

The panel wrapped with a challenge proposed to the audience.  They were asked to think about both sides of the training equation (to serve visitors from emerging markets, and integrate new Canadians into the workforce) and think about how they might leverage the attributes of their new Canadian employees to better serve international visitors, because there may be a natural fit to do just that.

Panel on Recruitment

The 4th pillar of the Federal Tourism Strategy is fostering an adequate supply of skills and labour to enhance visitor experiences through quality service and hospitality, an objective that is crucial to a sector that already employs 1.7 million Canadians.  But, the aging population, fewer youth workers, and seasonal demand will culminate in the inability of labour supply to keep pace—estimates suggest that tourism businesses will be unable to fill 48,000 full-year jobs by 2015.

While some employers have had success using temporary foreign workers to fill gaps during peak seasons, recent changes will make it more difficult for tourism businesses to use this program. Given the sector’s widespread attraction and retention issues, combined with recent policy changes, a session at the 2013 Tourism Congress was focused on recruitment alternatives.

Presented by representatives from the CTHRC, Sherrard Kuzz LLP, and the Canada Employment Insurance Commission, participants heard about recent immigration and EI program changes, as well as potential recruitment solutions specific to mature workers, unpaid interns, and contract employees.