OTTAWA — In honour of World Refugee Day, on June 20, the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), Tourism HR Canada and the federal government announced the launch of the Employing Newcomers in Canadian Hotels Pilot Project.
The three-year pilot program will see nearly $7-million dedicated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to connect newcomers to Canada with jobs in the hotel industry in five regions across the country.
“We are very proud that the government of Canada has selected the hotel industry to pilot this project and we are pleased to support new Canadians as they settle into Canada,” Susie Grynol, president of HAC said in a media teleconference. “Hotels have a long history of investing in new Canadians by providing a range of opportunities and strong training support to meet the needs of newcomers. The skills that will be learned by participants in this program — be it communication or how to respond to customer needs — will remain with them throughout their careers. These are essential skills required in any Canadian workplace environment.”
This pilot program is one of the first through IRCC’s $32-million dedicated-funding stream for service-delivery improvements and innovations made under the government’s settlement program. This initiative project will assist up to 1,300 unemployed or under-employed newcomers to secure a range of hotel jobs, including both entry-level and management positions.
Through the program, Tourism HR Canada will partner with HAC and other provincial and local labour-market partners to employ newcomers in sustainable, long-term hotel jobs in Atlantic Canada, Southern Ontario, Saskatoon/Regina, Banff/Lake Louise/Southern Alberta and the Yukon. Between 200 and 600 hotels across Canada are expected to participate.
“This project will strengthen Canada’s bold new tourism vision, while simultaneously supporting the newcomers who continue to play a pivotal role in tourism’s growth and success,” added Phil Mondor, president, Tourism HR Canada. “As we look to increase international overnight visitors by 30 per cent by 2021, having skilled, trained, multilingual and culturally diverse and aware employees is welcomed. Our industry needs additional labour to fully compete on the global stage and newcomers to Canada offer a world experiences that can be built upon to provide hotels with this talent.”
The pilot will not only help participating newcomers gain job experience, but address hotel-industry labour shortages while developing and testing an innovative settlement-service delivery model.
“Knowledge developed through this project is expected to be transferable to other areas to support newcomer employment through an innovative approach,” explained Mondor.
“Through this pilot, we will have the opportunity to build a much-needed mobility framework, which will include a strong evaluation component and scalable solutions that could address our labour shortages over the long-term,” continued Grynol. “This project is a vital step in the right direction.”