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Tourism HR Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a federally funded student work placement program offering paid work-integrated learning opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector. Called Propel, the program offers Canadian tourism employers a wage subsidy of up to 75 per cent of a qualifying student’s wages, to a maximum of $7,500. 

Tourism employment in August had about 285,000 fewer workers than it did in the same month in 2019 according to Stats Canada's Labour Force Survey. There are more than 130,000 unfilled accommodations and food services jobs across the country. Propel offers progressive employers looking to nurture talent and develop skills a chance to rebuild their workforce lost during the pandemic.

“The number one challenge we’re seeing as we come out of the pandemic is a significantly decreased workforce,” stated Philip Mondor, president and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “Propel is part of a long-term strategy to build back the tourism workforce. The program creates a direct link between students who have missed out on opportunities to get a foothold in the labour market and employers who, despite their best efforts, were not able to retain staff.”

Early Adopters See Program As A Key Strategy to Combating the Labour Shortage

Director of the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University, Frederic Dimanche, worries the next crisis is the labour gap that is being experienced in hospitality and tourism.

“The reputation of our sector has suffered and school enrolments are down. Proactive strategies such as Propel, with efficient and innovative partnerships between the public sector, schools and industry, are essential to succeed,” said Dimanche.

Early adopters of Propel include popular tourism businesses and schools including Accor, George Brown College, Ryerson University and Vancouver Community College.

“It’s been a devastating 18 months for hospitality, but the teamwork and spirit of entrepreneurship that has seen us through is truly inspiring. We are delighted to be part of an initiative that is helping our industry to win and build back stronger and better than before,” said Accor CEO North & Central America, Heather McCrory. “I started my career over 30 years ago in the laundry room at Accor’s Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and advanced through the business to now lead over 22,000 employees in more than 100 hotels across North and Central America. This program will help to find those passionate individuals who want to be part of an exciting future.”

About the Program

Funded by the Government of Canada through the Student Work Placement Program, Propel offers registered Canadian businesses, startups and not-for-profits related to the tourism and hospitality sector a wage subsidy of up to 75% of a qualifying student’s wages, to a maximum of $7,500. Students enrolled at a recognized post-secondary institution can apply for a paid position to fulfil the co-op or internship component of their program. The position being covered must be a work-integrated learning opportunity for a post-secondary student but can be accessed by businesses that cover all facets of the visitor economy: accommodations, food and beverage services, culinary, recreation, entertainment, culture, events, transportation, travel services, and more.

Benefits of the program ensure that students gain paid hands-on learning and mentoring in their field of study. Employers acquire much-needed early talent to help with the recovery of the industry, as well as assistance with wages after an 18-month stretch of little or no income. Post-secondary institutions complement their programming by connecting students and the workplace.

For more information on the Propel program please visit PropelCareers.ca.