2018 Marks Tourism HR Canada’s 25th Year of Setting Standards and Upskilling Canada’s Tourism Workforce

Tourism HR Canada 25 Years

Throughout 2018, Tourism HR Insider will feature Tourism HR Canada milestones in creating products, programs and services for the tourism workforce in Canada. We’re identifying these milestones not simply as a nostalgic gesture, but more importantly to demonstrate how the organization has been on the cutting edge of labour market issues from its inception 25 years ago. Many of these milestones have substantial impact today—and will into the future.

Tourism HR Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council) came into existence in 1993. Its mandate: to address broad labour market issues, including improving the image of working in tourism, attracting qualified applicants to the sector, collecting and disseminating labour market research and data, recognizing prior learning, and benchmarking training through competency standards.

By 1993, many occupational standards had been created at a provincial level by leveraging funding through provincial governments or regionally-focused initiatives like Western Diversification. Standards documents had been created in nearly all provinces for different occupations, but there was not consistency from one jurisdiction to the next. 

Over the next three years, THRC was well funded to hold consultation events and work with industry, education, labour, and government to update and ratify the existing standards and bring them to a national audience through the newly formed Council. In creating this first batch of National Occupational Standards, a national benchmark was created—one that could be used by employers, employees, career counsellors, job seekers, educators, and students to clearly understand what skills and knowledge were imperative to performing at a competent professional level, anywhere in the country, for occupations ranging from Front Desk Agent to Housekeeping Room Attendant to Entry Level Cook.

The process used to update and ratify occupational standards, and in creating new ones, was and remains unique in that the level of involvement of those working in the occupation is paramount. Our competency standards are frequently described as “for industry, by industry”.

National Occupational Standards (NOS) are the foundation of all occupational learning and professional certification programs offered under the national Emerit brand. Our work on these competency-based standards predates current interest in the value of competency-based training by two decades—testament to the collective vision of the organization’s board of directors. Because of this early work, THRC has had the opportunity to lead the development of international standards, and recently completed the development of Competency Frameworks for the food processing sector and international trade sector in Canada.

Being a world leader in the development of competency-based standards is a key milestone tied to the creation of the Council, and it continues to be a key pillar in everything Tourism HR Canada undertakes on behalf of the sector.