Published on: Jun 27, 2018
Every year, World Refugee Day takes place on June 20 and this gives the Canadian government and citizens the opportunity to reflect on the world refugee crisis and the Canada immigration situation. Canada offers significant help to displaced and persecuted individuals who are in need of protection, housing and employment. The country has a well-established tradition of success in offering this type of protection and helping the world’s most vulnerable.
In addition to focusing on the plight of refugees and displaced people and the causes of their exile, Canada is also looking at how these people can make a contribution to society. Canada has shown great commitment to helping immigrants and currently has one of the world's biggest refugee resettlement programs. At the moment, an innovative pilot project is running, aimed at connecting newcomers with employment opportunities in the tourism industry.
Taking steps to break down barriers to employment is an important way of making sure newcomers, including refugees, can settle and be integrated into the country. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, and Bardish Chagger, the Small Business and Tourism Minister, have made an announcement that there will be funding for the new pilot project to help new settlers get jobs in the hospitality sector. The project will receive around $7 million and will be piloted for 3 years. The Hotel Association of Canada will be helping to run it, assisting up to 1,300 new settlers, including refugees, to get work experience and improve their language skills (English and French), with both informal learning as well as formal language lessons.
The Hotel Association of Canada is partnering with Tourism HR Canada for this initiative. These agencies will work alongside provincial and local partners in the labour market to give new settlers sustainable and long-term jobs in hotels across different regions of Canada. In these regions, tourism is a strong economic factor and the industry brought in $41.2 billion of the country's GDP in 2017. However, this sector can find it hard to attract and retain sufficient staff to meet its demands. So, the new pilot program will not only support Canada immigration but will also support the tourism industry. Around 200 and 600 hotels throughout Canada are likely to take part in this pilot program.
Reflecting on World Refugee Day, Ahmed Hussen noted the importance of focusing not only on the plight of refugees but also on ways that Canada can integrate these people into the country. Bearing in mind that these individuals are not in a position to apply for a Canada visa or Canada ETA, they still want and need to be able to contribute socially and economically to the country by investing their energy and talents. Minister Hussen believes that the private sector can play an important role here and has mentioned that he was proud of the partnership between the Canadian government and other organizations, including Tourism HR Canada and the Hotel Association of Canada.
These organizations are working hard to integrate new settlers into the country, helping them to join the labour force and take part in the country's economy. The Minister also noted that Canada's tourism industry is strong and can offer immigrants and other settlers a positive new start. Based on the success of the new program, Minister Hussen is looking forward extending a warm welcome to other new arrivals in Canada, who will play an important role in developing economic growth right across the country.
Bardish Chagger noted the government's ongoing commitment to finding new and innovative ways to tackle the labour challenges that the hospitality sector is currently addressing. The program will set up a scalable model to assist hotel owners who are looking for energetic and committed new employees. On this note, new immigrants will benefit from the opportunity of entering the Canadian workforce for the first time.
President of Tourism HR Canada, Philip Mondor commented that his organization was proud that the Canadian government had chosen the tourism industry to be part of this new project. He noted that hotels within this industry had always invested in new settlers, offering various opportunities for them to find jobs and backing this up with training and support.
To show how important the tourism sector is, in 2017, Canada welcomed a record 20.8 million tourists. Some of these people would be entering the country on a Canada visa or Canada ETA and one in 10 Canadian jobs is associated with the tourism economy. Therefore, immigrants who are employed in this sector are making a valuable contribution.