Close this search box.

Tourism Hospitality Emergency Recovery Launches Nationally



(Toronto, Ontario – May 18, 2021) The Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), in partnership with the Future Skills Centre (FSC), is pleased to announce the launch of Tourism Hospitality Emergency Recovery (THER) – Phase 2.

Based on the success of the pilot project launched in spring 2020 to respond to the unfolding impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ontario’s tourism and hospitality sector, the Future Skills Centre is reinvesting $3.16 million to scale the project nationally.

Over the past 14 months, tourism and hospitality continues to be the hardest-hit sector in terms of pandemic-related unemployment. The THER initiative was initially focused on identifying and supporting the immediate needs of workers in this sector –disproportionately consisting of vulnerable individuals including youth, women and newcomers to Canada.

“As the sector now shifts from immediate response to long range recovery planning, with support from the Future Skills Centre, we’re pleased to expand the scope of the Tourism Hospitality Emergency Recovery initiative. In addition to addressing the immediate needs of workers, THER will now also focus on supporting businesses in developing sector-based workforce recovery planning,” said Adam Morrison, President and CEO, OTEC. “Collaboration has never been more important than it is now as we work together to find real solutions to rebuild this critical sector, and to that end we’re working closely with many important partners across Canada who each hold a piece of the puzzle in supporting post-pandemic workforce recovery.”

“As the tourism and hospitality sector grapples with the impact of the pandemic, we know that support for workers and businesses in this sector will be crucial to recovery,” says Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre (FSC). “Expanding this program to connect workers and businesses with innovative approaches to skills development, reskilling, upskilling, and other supports will help accelerate the rebuilding of our economy and prepare us for future change.”

Tourism and hospitality is a broad sector critical to the economy, comprised of five distinct but related industry groups: accommodation; food and beverage services; recreation and entertainment; transportation and travel services. The project will bring together the most promising strategies, campaigns and initiatives alongside a portfolio of data, technology and coordinated networks to inform comprehensive resilience planning across this diverse and widespread sector.

THER builds resilience by providing access to regional and virtual employment services, connecting workers with employment and relief supports, and advocating on behalf of workers. It also provides a unique centralized Tourism & Hospitality Workers’ Hub – the first of its kind – designed to build community among workers in the wide spread sector and provide new and critical communications channel to reach workers at each stage of recovery. The Workers’ Hub helps keep workers engaged in the tourism sector, to gauge return to work intentions and to advise individuals of training, supports and hiring opportunities available to them as they emerge.

In addition, THER Phase 2 will unveil a new virtual platform harnessing sophisticated technology to support job transitions and career development through the identification of transferable skills and their application to live employment opportunities across the sector. The system will support participating provinces in triaging affected workers into re-employment across the sector, navigating a rapidly changing labour market in real-time based on their objective attributes and interests.

With an expanded focus on destination-based recovery, Phase 2 of the initiative will focus on curating economic and labour market data to support business decision making at each stage of recovery; conducting needs assessment and asset analysis with affected destinations to define recovery pathways; and sharing capacity and resilience evaluation models developed through Tourism SkillsNet and other partnering industry networks in participating provinces and territories. Evidence-based data will be leveraged to support business readiness assessments and redesign supports to better prepare for new market business design and HR realities.

“Moving into it’s next phase, Tourism Hospitality Emergency Recovery will support sector recovery on both a macro and micro level,” said Morrison. “By leveraging a consistent framework, stakeholders will be better able to collaborate across regions to ensure labour mobility and jobseeker options within the sector so that we can retain talent. Additionally, aggregated real-time data will provide much needed insight on the transitions workers are making across the labour market in order to better understand competitiveness and support recovery planning.”

Tourism & Hospitality Emergency Recovery partners include the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), Restaurants Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) Tourism HR Canada (THRC), Blueprint, Conference Board of Canada, Magnet, Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA), Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC) and Tourism SkillsNet Ontario (TSNO).
For more information on this initiative and to join the THER Workers Hub, visit


The Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) is Ontario’s tourism and hospitality workforce development organization. The not-for-profit organization delivers award-winning skills training, consulting, research and insight – guiding evidence-based workforce strategy.

OTEC leads Tourism & Hospitality Emergency Response (THER), a recovery plan funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre and the Government of Ontario for workers and workplaces to help people who have lost their jobs or are working fewer hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. It is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. The FSC is a partnership between Blueprint, a non-profit research organization, the Conference Board of Canada, a non-profit research organization and Ryerson University.

The first of its kind in Canada, OTEC and its partners created the Tourism SkillsNet Ontario (TSNO) alliance in 2018 to align provincial workforce strategy with local industry collaboration around industry-specific regional labour challenges. TSNO builds capacity across the alliance by unleashing powerful workforce tools, analytics and industry partnerships to strengthen our sector’s agility and competitiveness in an ever-changing world.

Media Inquiries

For more information, interviews or images, please contact:
Shelagh O’Donnell, Director, Marketing Communications, OTEC,
(416) 622-1975 ex. 223;