About the rapid response project for hard-hit tourism and hospitality workers 

The disruption to the global economy from COVID-19 is unprecedented and rapidly evolving with its impact on the Canadian labour market likely to be widespread, long-lasting, and unpredictable. On May 14, 2020 the Future Skills Centre (FSC) and OTEC announced a rapid response project for the hundreds of thousands tourism and hospitality workers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The goal is to equip hard-hit workers to be able to navigate an uncertain future and get new skills for changing jobs by 1) understanding and supporting their immediate needs, 2) mapping their skills and assets, and 3) finding and implementing in real-time new approaches to digitally reskilling and upskilling.

For workers displaced by the pandemic, the project will provide a channel through which they can find immediate services to support resilience during the crisis as well as access the latest information on relief programs, grants, community support, and upcoming re-skilling, upskilling, and employment programs as they come online.

For businesses, it will provide a way to engage and support employees while they are laid off as well as a framework for tracking the stages of recovery and coordinating training needs assessment and business planning activities to respond to evolving market realities such as new training in safety and protective equipment and spacing.

The project will be launched in phases and tested in Ontario first. FSC and OTEC are working with industry partners like Tourism HR Canada to look for opportunities to share and scale the project in other provinces.
In Ontario, industry partners in the project include the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), the Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC), Tourism HR Canada, and Tourism SkillsNet Ontario.
About the objectives of the rapid response project
  1. Understand impact on displaced workers: We will study and document what methods are most effective in reaching a very diverse population of displaced workers in this sector. Based on that outreach we will conduct a detailed survey that will lead to an initial analysis to identify needs, impacts and preferences by occupations; locations/regions and demographic indicators; highlight resilience and/or vulnerability factors among the diverse workforce; and also identify transferable skills pathways and opportunities for targeted interventions.
  2. Engage workers and provide immediate information, services and supports: the outreach efforts described in Objective 1 will lead to the creation of a registry of displaced tourism workers (not currently available);
  3. Launch a virtual collaboration and service platform: The above registry will then be linked up to a new Tourism SkillsNet Ontario Resource Information Hub, leveraging locally available up-skilling and cross training opportunities, career coaching/planning supports, re-certification opportunities, and links to job boards and hiring fairs, as well as other market re-entry supports as needed;
  4. Maximize early retraining and upskilling opportunities in high demand segments: With a firm grip on the target population and existing resources available to ensure engagement and anchoring by displaced workers, this next stage will develop and implement programs and services to support displaced workers by redesigning existing training offerings, designing new training offerings, implementing Rapid Response Service Centres, and developing targeted mitigation, out-placement and layoff aversion strategies.
  5. Accelerate destination-based recovery plans: True to our mandate, we will keep our eye on the long-term impact of this initiative by leveraging business intelligence gathered from a new Virtual Service and Collaboration portal to monitor and evaluate collaborative recovery planning activities across various sites around the province.
Organizations interested in collaborating on the project can contact Kim Marshall at kmarshall@otec.org.

Organizations interested in collaborating on this project, please contact:

Kim Marshall
Vice President, Workforce Solutions
416.622.1975 ext. 226