Pilot program to help employ new immigrants at Canadian hotels

The pilot program will first be implemented at the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax.
The pilot program will first be implemented at the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax. Courtesy: Google Maps

A new project from the federal government is hoping to address employment concerns at hotels across Canada, as well as provide newcomers with more opportunities.

The newly-launched Employing Newcomers in Canadian Hotels pilot program is expected to connect immigrants and refugees with jobs in Canada’s hotel industry.

“Hotel Association of Canada together with our partner Tourism HR Canada are applauding the federal government for launching this initiative, and we want to thank both the ministers for their leadership and support,” said Hotel Association of Canada president Susie Grynol in a teleconference on Wednesday afternoon.

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The program was launched on World Refugee Day, with hopes of bringing attention to the hundreds of legal immigrants seeking employment in Canada.

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Grynol said the Canadian hotel industry is a perfect fit, as there are currently thousands of available jobs.

“As Canada continues to grow in popularity and tourists flock to visit our beautiful landscapes, hotels, particularly during seasonal periods, are short-staffed,” said Grynol. “As demand continues to rise, we face a situation that is counterbalanced.”

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The project will start in a few urban centres, and work its way out to different communities.

In the East Coast, the pilot project will see its first effort at the Atlantica Hotel in Halifax. President David Clark welcomes the initiative, despite the current lack of specifics.

“The labour force is getting more and more difficult to bring people in at buying-level positions, so we look at every opportunity we can to hire new people,” he said.

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Clark expects the program will help fill a variety of hotel positions, including front office, concierge and housekeeping. He anticipates the positions to be full-time and year-round.

“Some of the barriers might be language, but we’ve worked through those in the past,” he said.

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The project will be facilitated through the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and is designed as an Atlantic Canada-wide initiative. The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia will serve as “key referrals” for individuals that are fit for the program.

“The intent is that these projects will include both urban and rural settings,” said Phil Mondor, president of Tourism HR Canada.

“In terms of the actual numbers of new Canadians that will be attached to it, those are still being set. But we should expect in Atlantic Canada somewhere in the neighbourhood of 130 to 150 new Canadians that will be involved with the project in the next two years.”

The Hotel Association of Canada and Tourism HR Canada believe the pilot project will serve as a long-term solution to addressing the industry’s labour shortages.

“This project is a vital step in the right direction,” said Grynol. “We look forward to working together to help new Canadians build a bright and secure future here in Canada.”

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