Workforce Shortage

The Issue

With the BC unemployment rate remaining at a record low, the hospitality sector finds itself grappling with a growing labour shortage problem. The labour challenge is not only a problem for hotels, motels, and resorts, but also restaurants, pubs, and retail outlets – all integral components of a thriving hospitality industry. Labour supply shortages in the hotel sector remain the single biggest issue of concern for hoteliers. These labour shortages are a challenge year-round but are especially acute during seasonal peak periods.
British Columbia maintains the country’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, with further forecasts that project more than 106,000 tourism and hospitality-related job openings across the province between 2018 and 2028 (go2hr, n.d.). 

​Our workforce crisis is the single greatest barrier to our sector’s recovery. At its peak we were 82,000 people short in BC in April 2021, currently there are 54,000 unfilled positions, and based on our need to meet increased tourism demands, it is estimated that we must increase hotel workforce to at least 500,000 by 2030 in Canada.


The BCHA recommends that:

  • The hospitality sector needs the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to open to the hospitality sector and offer a similar program like the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, which allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.
  • In collaboration with the Hotel Association of Canada, that the Federal Government develop and implement a program to address the seasonal shortages in the accommodation sector through intra-brand employee exchanges, or bilateral agreements with suitable countries.
  • BCHA in 2021 was a lead strategist with go2HR and TIABC along with other industry leaders to develop a workforce strategy framework, priorities and research the current shortfall as well as rates and benefits to ensure the actual contribution and value of the industry is recognized. Currently the narrative falls short of the BC government priorities so this work and research is critical to escalate access to sources of workers from other countries with specific visas.

Temporary Foreign Workers

The Issue

New provisions of the Temporary Foreign Worker Protection Act came into effect on October 1, 2019, which fundamentally changed the relationship among TWFs, recruiters and employers. The new Act increases the protection of employees and allows workers who find themselves in abusive job situations to apply for open work permits that will allow them to find other jobs in Canada.
While these changes were necessary to ensure the protection of TFWs, significant changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are needed to increase the number of TFWs in British Columbia. Without the creation of new streamlined paths for sector-specific workers, the industry will continue to see more positions un-filled, putting further stress on existing employees, and ultimately damaging the viability of Canadian businesses. 


The BCHA recommends that:
A new narrative based on quantifiable research is complete to ensure the number of positions, the skills required, the pay levels including benefits are quantified and the positive stories of the contribution of our industry for society, communities, and the economy are developed.

  • The Federal Government develop and execute a strategy to address the labour shortage in the accommodation sector.
  • The Federal Government review and update the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to reflect the labour shortage realities that many industries like the accommodation sector now face through the lowering of application fees, streamlined re-application for workers and the establishment of a pathway to permanent residency for workers.

The BCHA echo’s the 6 recommendations of the Hotel Association of Canada to:

  1. Implement a Trusted Employer Program
  2. Create a national database that provides information on employers with an approved LMIA
  3. Lower the costs of LMIAs
  4. Expand the duration of the current work permit for low-wage TFWs in positions that are not seasonal
  5. Increase flexibility in the type of work permits available to TFWs and
  6. Streamline the LMIA Application Process.

The BCHA also advocates to the BC provincial government for the Provincial Nominee Program and will continue to ask for the refugee visa program with partners to have an exemption for the 9 month proof of work experience, as well, to expedite and review the numerical ratings for the hospitality positions which are eligible. It is the BCHA’s goal to fill the allocation for the PnP program if possible.


Employers are now required to provide the following pamphlets regarding the rights and protections available to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) while working in Canada. In compliance with the new regulations, these resources must be shared with TFWs on their first day of employment

Temporary Foreign Workers: Your Rights are Protected. English | French

International Mobility Program: Know Your Rights While Working in Canada. English | French