Government of Canada helps Cape Breton University build local tourism sector through enhanced training

News release

March 17, 2022                        Sydney, Nova Scotia             Employment and Social Development Canada

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.    

Quotes

 “Our Government is focused on helping the hardest hit sectors, like tourism and hospitality recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. This investment will increase Cape Breton’s competitiveness in the tourism market and will help Indigenous communities and local businesses seize the opportunities that the post-pandemic world will bring.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

“This project will contribute to the renewal of tourism across Canada by encouraging more tourists to visit beautiful Cape Breton Island and help stimulate the local economy. I look forward to seeing Cape Breton University’s progress in the innovation and promotion of Indigenous tourism.”

– Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Mike Kelloway

“Across Canada, entrepreneurs, organizations, and businesses showed their resiliency by reinventing themselves during the global pandemic. The funding provided today will help relaunch the visitor economy in Cape Breton through new investments and opportunities for Indigenous tourism, programs for improved worker retention and removing barriers for traditionally under-represented workers in the labour market.”

– Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault

“Cape Breton University is excited to work with the federal government in this post-pandemic recovery for our Island’s tourism industry. We have been leaders in tourism education and training for decades and we look forward to working with government and community partners to help grow, strengthen, and build capacity for the Cape Breton Island tourism sector long into the future.”

– David Dingwall, President, Cape Breton University (TBC)

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing up to $67 million under the Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP) to support up to 24 projects that will help remove barriers and provide training and supports for under-represented groups in the tourism and hospitality sector, which has been particularly hit by the economic effects of the pandemic. 

  • From this funding, Cape Breton University will receive an investment of over $2 million for its Cape Breton Island Tourism Training Network.

  • The tourism and hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit sectors by the pandemic. According to the Conference Board of Canada’s Briefing: COVID-19 Impact on Tourism Sector Employment and Revenues, it is expected that employment in the sector will remain below 2019 levels until 2023.

  • Outbreaks of COVID-19 that resulted in lockdowns caused tourism employment to drop anywhere from 15% to 23%. As of February 2022, tourism employs 269,000 fewer workers than it did in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic reached Canada, an employment drop of over 13%.

  • The tourism and hospitality sector is a significant source of employment for young workers and newcomers. In 2019, youth (persons age 15–24) held more jobs in tourism than any other age group, representing 34% of Canada’s tourism workforce, and 28% of tourism employees were immigrants or non-permanent residents.

  • The Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program launched an open call for proposals in January 2022, providing up to $276 million to help connect Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in sectors where employers need workers. The call for proposals closes on March 18, 2022.

Associated links

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jane Deeks
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
jane.deeks@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
819-994-5559
media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
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