The tourism and hospitality sector has been particularly hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many workers displaced. To support the sector’s economic recovery, the Government of Canada is helping Canadians obtain the skills they need to find good jobs, which in turn will help businesses in this sector adapt and thrive.
Today, Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton – Canso and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced funding to Cape Breton University for their Tourism Training Network project funded under the Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP). This investment will make it easier for people to receive training in Indigenous tourism, help develop new promotional products that will enhance the visitor experience, and encourage more tourists to visit Cape Breton Island to stimulate their economic recovery.
This is one of up to 24 projects funded through the Sectoral Initiatives Program that will help employers and industry stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sector to attract and retain skilled workers, build capacity through training and resources, and remove barriers for groups that continue to be under-represented in the labour market. In particular, this project will help to design, develop and implement the Cape Breton Island Tourism Training Network, which aims to increase Indigenous tourism on the Island, while examining best practices, conducting research and forecasting labour market trends to inform their approach to promote tourism.
The Sectoral Initiatives Program has been integrated into the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP), which has an expanded scope for large-scale projects that offer a broader range of supports to train workers and help employers, especially from small and medium-sized businesses, develop practical and effective solutions. The SWSP will also help workers and employers by supporting solutions to address current and emerging workforce needs in key sectors, like health, clean economy, and others hard-hit by the pandemic.
Budget 2021 committed $1.78 billion over three years through several new initiatives that support the skills development and training of workers, and provide incentives for employers to hire and retain them. These measures will help create almost 500,000 new job and training opportunities for workers over the coming years. The Government of Canada had committed to creating over one million jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels, which was achieved in 2021.