Income and Expenditure Accounts Technical Series

    Human Resource Module of the Tourism Satellite Account - A Pilot Study for Ontario


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    Tourism sector
    Tourism industries profiles
    Occupations in tourism industries
    Profile of employees in tourism industries

    The intent of this section is to highlight some of the findings and to illustrate some of the types of analyses a provincial Human Resources Module (HRM) can support. The analysis focuses on the year 2008 and on comparisons between Ontario and Canada. A brief description of the general economic conditions prevailing in the tourism sector in 2008 is provided first. This description is used as background for the subsequent analyses below.

    The year 2008 was characterized, at the national level, by slower growth in domestic tourism. Even though domestic visitors increased their spending by 4.1% in real terms compared to 2007, this was the smallest gain in four years. Slower growth in personal disposable income, poor weather (the summer of 2008 was the third wettest in 61 years), the high price of gasoline and fuel surcharges on airfares help explain the slowdown for the year.

    Spending by international visitors in Canada fell 5.4% in real terms in 2008, bringing tourism exports to their lowest level in 13 years.

    At the same time in Ontario, a comprehensive Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study was launched. The government made the following comments in their overview of the study:1

    • "Tourism in Ontario has been facing challenges both in the short and long term including: a strong Canadian dollar, a slowing U.S. economy, changing demographics and greater global competition."
    • "The new world of tourism is ripe for opportunity. But if Ontario is to improve its market share, we need to be smarter and more innovative in how we work."

    At the end of the study in February 2009, the Ontario government released the report entitled "Discovering Ontario: A report on the future of tourism", 2 which made four broad strategic proposals and 20 specific recommendations to revitalize and grow tourism in the province. One of the recommendations was to develop the tourism labour force: "Ontario should work to become an international leader in tourism training and education."

    Tourism sector

    This section aims to compare key variables of the HRM: jobs, hours worked and compensation for the tourism sector in Ontario with the overall economy in Ontario and the tourism sector in Canada.


    Compensation3 reached $17.9 billion in 2008 for tourism industries in Ontario, up 4.6% from the previous year, a higher growth than for the total economy in Ontario (see Table 1). This growth was mainly due to increases in hourly compensation (+2.8%) and to a lesser extent to the increases in the number of jobs (+1.0%) and the number of hours worked per job (+0.8%).

    Since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) episode in 2003, tourism industries in Ontario have lost ground compared to tourism in the rest of Canada (Chart 1). In 2008, tourism industries accounted for 5.2% of total compensation in Ontario down from 5.8% in 2002.

    Table 1 Total jobs, average weekly hours worked and average hourly compensation, tourism industries and total economy, Ontario, 2003 to 2008


    According to the HRM, tourism industries in Ontario generated a total of 606 thousand jobs in 2008. This includes both full-time and part-time jobs, as well as employee jobs and jobs from self-employment. The tourism sector accounted for 8.9% of all jobs in Ontario in 2008. In 2002, prior to SARS, it accounted for 9.8% of all jobs in Ontario.

    It should be noted that number of jobs according to the HRM includes all jobs required to produce commodities in tourism industries whether they are consumed by visitors or by local residents. This is larger than if only jobs attributed to visitor's consumption (spending or demand) were taken into account because only a portion of the 606 thousand jobs can be attributed to visitors. This portion has not been calculated in this study but was estimated at 29.6% for Ontario in 1998.4 Furthermore, the number of jobs provided by the HRM does not include jobs generated indirectly from supporting inputs to the production of tourism commodities.

    In 2003, SARS hit tourism industries in Ontario while the rest of the country was barely affected. Jobs in tourism industries in Ontario declined by 0.1% while they were up 2.2% in Canada. The losses in Ontario were concentrated in the food and beverage services industries.

    Chart 1 Annual rate of job growth in tourism industries, Ontario and Canada, 1998 to 2007
    Description for Chart 1
    Chart 1 Annual rate of job growth in tourism industries, Ontario and Canada, 1998 to 2007

    In 2005, tourism in both Ontario and Canada experienced important declines in jobs, -2.0% and -1.9%, respectively. Jobs were cut back mainly in recreation and entertainment industries and in transportation industries. These declines were partly attributable to the National Hockey League lockout and the departure of the Montreal Expos as well as a spike in energy prices that came with Hurricane Katrina. Restructuring in the airline industry was also partly responsible. As a result of the restructuring, some support activities, for example maintenance, were shifted from tourism to non-tourism industries.

    In Ontario, the number of jobs in tourism grew by 1.0% in 2008, similar to the 0.9% growth registered for all jobs in the province. More full-time jobs (+10 thousand) were created than the number of part-time jobs lost (-4 thousand).

    Part-time jobs were twice as prevalent in Ontario's tourism industries (39.3%) compared to all industries in the province (20.3%). Similar to Canada, four out of ten jobs in the tourism sector were part-time. However self-employment was somewhat more common, accounting for 7.9% of tourism jobs in Ontario compared to 6.9% Canada-wide.


    In 2008, a total of 0.9 billion hours were worked in tourism industries, accounting for 7.9% of the 11.8 billion hours worked economy-wide in Ontario. This implies an average work week of 29.5 hours in tourism in the province, up 0.8% from the year before, but somewhat less than the 33.4 hour work week in the total economy. The shorter week reflects the higher proportion of part-time jobs found in tourism industries and the lower proportion of self-employed as compared to the economy overall. Self-employed work on average longer hours (38.0 hours) than employees (28.7 hours) but are less commonly found in the tourism sector than in the rest of the economy.

    The hourly compensation in tourism in Ontario was $19.33 per hour in 2008, up 2.8% from $18.80 the year before5 but still much lower than the hourly compensation province-wide of $29.39. However, over the period 1997 to 2008, hourly compensation for tourism in the province has always been higher or equal to the national average for tourism industries.

    Tourism industries profiles

    The HRM contains aggregated data for five tourism industry groups: transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment and travel services. Appendix E lists the industries included in each industry group of the tourism sector. The following provides selected results intended to give an indication of the kinds of industry analyses possible with the HRM.

    Food and beverage services

    Among the tourism industry groups, food and beverage services was the largest employer in 2008. With 333 thousand jobs, accounting for 54.9% of all jobs in tourism industries in Ontario (Chart 2). This was a higher proportion than tourism industries Canada-wide (53.4% in 2007). With more than six thousand full-time jobs created and three thousand part-time jobs lost, the food and beverage services industry group registered a gain of more than three thousand jobs (+1.0%) in 2008.

    This industry group held the highest share of part-time jobs (45.5%) among tourism industries in Ontario. Not surprisingly the work week in this industry, at 27.7 hours, was the shortest among all tourism industries in Ontario and was well below the average work week of 33.4 hours for all jobs in Ontario.

    Jobs in food and beverage services continued to pay the least of all tourism industries, with an average hourly compensation of $14.02 in 2008. Even though this was up (+5.5%) from the year before and above the Canadian average for food and beverage services by about $0.50, it remained well below the average of $19.33 for tourism industries in Ontario.6

    The hourly wage for all jobs in food and beverage services was $12.88 in 2008. This is less than the hourly compensation ($14.02) which includes supplementary labour income (employer contributions on behalf of employees to employment insurance, private and public sector pension plans, Canada and Quebec pension plans, worker' compensation, health and life insurance plans, and retirement allowances.

    There was considerable variation in hourly wages by occupation within this industry group. Restaurant and food service managers earned the most, $16.14 per hour, while cashiers earned the least, $10.38. The most common occupation group in food and beverage services was food counter attendants and kitchen helpers, which accounted for 26.6% of employee jobs in this industry. They were paid $10.72 per hour.

    Chart 2 Distribution of jobs in tourism industries in Ontario, 2008
    Description for Chart 2
    Chart 2 Distribution of jobs in tourism industries in Ontario, 2008

    Recreation and entertainment

    The recreation and entertainment industry group was the second largest employer among the groups included in the HRM, accounting for about one in five jobs (or 107 thousand jobs) in 2008. This industry posted the strongest growth (+3.2%) in 2008 among all tourism industries in Ontario with the creation of both full-time jobs (+2 thousand jobs) and part-time jobs (+1 thousand jobs).

    The presence of a large proportion (42.0%) of part-time jobs in recreation and entertainment contributed to a short work week. Averaging 28.9 hours, it was among the shortest in tourism industries. Hourly compensation in this industry ($24.65) was above the tourism sector average for Ontario ($19.33) but remained below hourly compensation province-wide ($29.39). Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sports and fitness were the most common occupation group.


    In 2008, the transportation industry group (which consists of air transportation and other transportation, including rail, water and bus travel, as well as taxis and car rentals) accounted for 83 thousand jobs, or 13.6% of all jobs in tourism in Ontario.

    Transportation industries posted a small decline of 0.3% in jobs compared to 2007. Many part-time jobs were lost but full-time jobs were also created. This industry supported 12 thousand jobs from self-employment, accounting for 24.5% of all self-employment jobs in tourism.

    Jobs in transportation came with a long work week, on average 34.2 hours, almost 5 hours more than hours worked on average for other tourism jobs in Ontario. One reason for the longer hours is the high proportion of full-time jobs (73.0%). Another reason is the long hours (44.8 hours per week) worked by the relatively high proportion (14.5%) of self-employed in these industries. The proportion of self-employed in this industry is almost double the sector average.

    In addition to a long work week, jobs in transportation are paid more than in other tourism industries, with an hourly compensation of $28.22, almost $9.00 per hour more than the hourly compensation across all tourism jobs in Ontario. It was also almost equal to the hourly compensation across all industries in the province.

    The most common occupation group in transportation was bus drivers and subway and other transit operators, accounting for 26.9% of employee jobs in the industry. They were paid an hourly wage of $22.63 in 2008.

    Given that transportation comprises a mix of several industries, including air, bus, rail, water, taxi and vehicle rental, it is not surprising to observe a wide range of wages. Taxi and limousine drivers and chauffeurs, the second most prevalent occupation group in transportation, were paid an hourly wage of $10.50, while railway and yard locomotive engineers earned $37.77.


    Accounting for 66 thousand jobs in 2008, accommodation was the fourth largest employer among the tourism industry groups in Ontario. Prior to the year 2000, this industry represented the third largest tourism employer. At the national level, the accommodation industry group has remained the third largest employer in the sector over the entire 1997 to 2007 period.

    In 2008, the number of jobs in accommodation industries declined by 0.6% in Ontario; jobs lost were all fulltime jobs which partially explains the shorter work week in 2008. Hours worked per week in accommodation fell to 32.1 hours in 2008, from 32.5 in 2007.

    For this industry group, hourly compensation, which includes gratuities and supplementary labour income, was up 6.9% in 2008, reaching $20.96, more than the provincial sector's average of $19.33. On average, individuals working in accommodation in Ontario were paid more than those working in this industry in the rest of Canada.

    In 2008, light-duty cleaners were the most prevalent occupation in this industry, with about 13 thousand employee jobs, most of them held by women (92.7%).

    Travel services

    Travel services was the smallest tourism industry group with 18 thousand jobs in 2008, up 0.1%, following two years of decline in 2006 and 2007. This industry group accounted for only 3.0% of all jobs in tourism in the province.

    Hourly compensation in this industry group was above the tourism sector average in Ontario ($25.36 per hour versus $19.33), as were the hours worked (34.2 hours per week versus 29.5). Travel services had the highest proportion of full-time jobs in the tourism sector in 2008, at 89.6%.

    Travel counsellors were the predominant occupation in the travel services industry group, accounting for 56.7% of the industry's employee jobs. Retail trade managers were the second largest occupation group representing 11.3% of employee jobs in travel services.

    Occupations in tourism industries

    Ten main occupation groups accounted for 62.7% of all employee jobs in tourism industries in Ontario (Chart 3). Similar to Canada, three occupation groups were dominant: food-counter attendants and kitchen helpers; food and beverage servers; and cooks. Out of the ten main occupational groups two groups were more common in Ontario than in the rest of Canada: bus drivers and subway operators and other transit operators; and chefs.

    Furthermore, dominant occupations in the tourism sector were concentrated mainly in one tourism industry group. Ninety four percent of the jobs in the five top occupations (food-counter attendants and kitchen helpers, food and beverage servers, cooks, food and beverage managers and cashiers) were in the food and beverage services industries (see Chart 3). Less than five percent of the jobs in the five main occupations were in the accommodation industries and about two percent of the jobs were in recreation and entertainment. There were no jobs in these occupations in transportation industries and travel services.

    In 2008, three out of the ten main occupation groups were paid above the average annual salary for the tourism sector in Ontario of $25,848. Restaurant managers were paid $39,088 per year; bus drivers earned $36,264; and chefs received $30,517.

    Bus drivers were the only workers (of the ten main occupation groups) who earned an hourly wage ($22.63) above the tourism average of $17.31. Program leaders ($16.30) and light duty cleaners ($14.99) were paid higher wages per hour than chefs ($14.00), but earned less per year because they worked fewer hours per week.

    Restaurant managers (46.6 hours), chefs (41.9 hours), bus drivers (30.8 hours) and light duty cleaners (29.5 hours) worked longer hours per week than the tourism sector average of 28.7 hours for employee jobs.

    Chart 3 Main occupations in tourism industries, Ontario, 2008
    Description of Chart 3
    Chart 3 Main occupations in tourism industries, Ontario, 2008

    Profile of employees in tourism industries

    The HRM provides details concerning three characteristics of employees: gender, age group, and immigrant status. The following highlights some of the HRM results according to these demographics (see Table 2).


    Similar to tourism industries Canada-wide, women in Ontario were over-represented in the tourism sector in 2008 accounting for 55.8% of jobs in the tourism sector. Also, women held a total of 312 thousand employee jobs, 65 thousand more than men. A higher proportion of women working in tourism industries were less than 25 years of age (41.0%), compared to men (36.8%).

    In Ontario, women were employed more evenly across tourism industries than in Canada's tourism sector overall. Women were under-represented in Ontario in only one industry group, transportation. Just 36.6% of the employee jobs in this industry were held by women.

    In all tourism industries in Ontario, women had shorter work weeks than their male counterparts. This was especially the case for transportation industries (26.6 hours per week for women, compared to 35.8 hours for men). Women were also more likely than men to be in part-time jobs.

    In 2008, women working in tourism industries in Ontario earned $4.11 less than men ($15.31 per hour versus $19.42). This is comparable to tourism industries elsewhere in Canada. There was a noteworthy variation in women's wages, with jobs in transportation ($23.32) and travel services ($23.42) paying the most, and jobs in food and beverage services paying the least ($12.06).

    Table 2 Employee jobs, hours and wages by employee characteristics for tourism industries, Ontario, 2008

    Youth and older workers

    Youth aged 15 to 24 years were a major source of labour for the tourism industries in Ontario. They held 219 thousand employee jobs in 2008, accounting for four out of ten employee jobs in tourism. Three out of four young workers were concentrated in the food and beverage services industries.

    Older workers aged 45 years or older were also an important source of labour for tourism (26.9%), contributing 150 thousand employee jobs. Furthermore, older workers were employed more evenly across tourism industry groups than young adults.

    Almost seven out of ten young workers were likely to be working in part-time jobs in tourism compared to about one out of five older workers. Young adults and teenagers worked fewer hours per week (17.9 hours) relative to older workers (36.0 hours). This was especially the case in the accommodation industries. According to another study done by Statistics Canada,7 about 90% of young workers gave attending school as main reason to be working part-time.

    Wages of young workers were also considerably lower. The hourly wage among workers in tourism industries aged 15 to 24 was $11.16 in 2008, almost half the wages for employees aged 45 and over in tourism industries ($21.11). The wage differential between the young and old was the most pronounced in the transportation and travel services industry groups.


    Immigrants are an important source of labour for the tourism sector in Ontario, even more so than elsewhere in Canada. In 2008, immigrants held 152 thousand jobs, accounting for 27.3% of tourism employee jobs in Ontario.

    Immigrants in tourism industries were older than other tourism workers. About four out of ten immigrants were 45 years or older while almost half of non-immigrants were teenagers or young adults. The majority of non-immigrants in tourism in Ontario were women, while there was an equal split between women and men among immigrants.

    Compared to non immigrants, immigrants were more likely to work full-time. Immigrants worked longer hours than their non immigrant counterparts, 33.5 hours per week versus 26.9 in 2008.

    Immigrants earned lower wages per hour than non immigrants, almost $0.70 less per hour but the wage difference was smaller in Ontario than for tourism in the rest of Canada. In transportation industries in Ontario, wages were notably lower for immigrants ($24.00) than for other workers ($27.25). However, immigrants were paid more than non immigrants in accommodation industries in all occupation groups except for program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness; and janitors, caretakers and building superintendents.


    1. "Competitiveness Study Overview", Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study, Ontario Ministry of Tourism's website.
    2. Discovering Ontario - A report on the future of tourism, prepared by The Ontario Tourism Competitive Study, Greg Sorbara, chair, February 2009.
    3. Compensation is defined as wages and salaries, supplementary labour income and income after expenses accruing to the self-employed.
    4. In Appendix I of the" Provincial and Territorial Tourism Satellite Account for Canada, 1998" calculated that in 1998, 155 thousand jobs were created in tourism industries in Ontario directly from visitors spending; However, according to the Ontario pilot, in 1998, a total of 523 thousand jobs were created in tourism industries in Ontario when taking into account both visitor and local resident spending.
    5. The general minimum wage in Ontario increased in 2008 to $8.75 per hour from $8.00 per hour in 2007. This increase contributed to the growth of 3.1% in the hourly compensation in tourism industries.
    6. Gratuities are included in these figures. To understand how gratuities are calculated, see Appendix C: Data sources.
    7. "Part-time by choice", Katherine Marshall, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 75-001, November 2000.
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