Alberta hotels are facing a debilitating shortage of labour compounded by accelerated demand for tourism products and services. The supply of qualified workers is far short of demand and it will only get worse. This has an impact not only on the economy, but also social and political stability.

More than ever, accommodation employers across Alberta report that the critical shortage of labour has led to:

  • reduced profits and higher operating costs,
  • managers pulling double duty,
  • forgone investment and less innovation,
  • eroded our ability to compete on the world stage, and
  • inferior customer service.

Labour is an integral part of the AHLA’s advocacy strategy. Learn more about our key areas of focus:

Immigration

Foreign workers have made it possible for Alberta’s hotel & lodging industry to maintain or even improve service standards, contributing to our provinces’ economic growth. In many communities, there is a labour shortage in key occupations such as housekeeping room attendants, front desk, and food & beverage server. These labour shortages, which now include middle and senior management positions, have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our ask

Federally:

  • Create a dedicated immigration stream for tourism and hospitality
  • Increase permitted weekly work hours for international students from 20 – 40
  • Increase the number of certificates given to the provinces through the TFW program
  • Expand the International Experience Canada program to increase participants, allow older applicants and longer stays
  • Create a Trusted Employer Program

Provincially:

  • Create a dedicated immigration stream for tourism and hospitality
  • Ensure AINP has sufficient certificates for employees of AHLA members
  • Funding for program support and skills and training development

Work Integrated Learning

A long-term indicator of the supply of workers to the tourism sector is the number of students enrolling in, and graduating from tourism and hospitality related programs. From 2010 to 2018, on average 217 students graduated from college or university level hospitality administration/management programs in Alberta each year. On average, almost 400 students graduated from culinary arts programs in Alberta.

In Budget 2022, the Alberta government announced close to $700 million in targeted funding to post-secondary institutions to expand seats in areas where the province is seeing massive labour shortages. This funding also includes extra dollars to expand work integrated learning opportunities for students in any program.

Work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities helps students get the job ready skills they need to be successful in the labour market, while providing employers with access to local talent. While our industry has predominantly relied on foreign workers, immigration is a short term solution to a long term problem. Engaging local talent with meaningful work opportunities provides a more stable pipeline of talent for our members.

Following our 3-year labour strategy the AHLA will:

  • Identify and connect with post-secondary institutions who offer hospitality management programs to discuss work integrated learning opportunities with our members. SAIT announced a partnership with 8 Calgary hotels in early 2022.
  • Connect with the Minister of Advanced Education, their staff and department leads to ensure they understand the labour needs of the accommodation industry.

Our ask

  • Support the hotel sector in bridging the employment gap through program support and funding for training and skills development.