Occupations in this sector
The hospitality sector may be a good choice for newcomers who are seeking work, either as a first job in Canada or in pursuit of a career. Employers in this industry have long been open to hiring immigrants. As well, jobs are plentiful and diverse. (While restaurants and catering are considered part of the hospitality sector, here we focus mostly on hotels, with separate posts on restaurant and catering work.)
The hospitality industry has traditionally employed large numbers of newcomers. In fact, as pointed out in Hotel staff need help: Study (The Star, April 16/07), of the 30,000 people who worked in Greater Toronto hotels that year, 70 per cent were immigrants.
But even with hiring a significant number of newcomers, the hospitality sector has serious staffing shortages. An article in Canadian HR Reporter states that there are currently thousands of open hospitality jobs. It’s estimated that in the past 15 years, 100,000 jobs in this sector went unfilled. That number is expected to grow.
There are over 250 hotels in the Greater Toronto Area, offering some 45,000 rooms. According to a CBRE Hotels report, in 2015 there were 61 hotels in downtown Toronto and 47 in the rest of the City of Toronto.
A partial list of 0ver 60 hotels in the entire GTA includes:
|Adelaide Hotel Toronto||InterContinental Toronto Yorkville|
|Bisha Hotel Toronto||Kimpton Saint George|
|Bond Place Hotel Downtown Eaton Centre||Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Toronto|
|Cambridge Suites Toronto||Marriott Toronto Downtown Eaton Centre|
|Chelsea Hotel, Toronto||Novotel Toronto Centre|
|Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Airport||Novotel Toronto Mississauga Centre|
|Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown||Park Hyatt Toronto|
|Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Airport & Conference Centre||Radisson Admiral Hotel – Toronto Harbourfront|
|Delta Toronto||Radisson Suites Toronto Airport|
|DoubleTree by Hilton Toronto Airport||Residence Inn by Marriott Toronto Airport|
|DoubleTree by Hilton Toronto Downtown||Residence Inn Toronto Downtown/Entertainment District|
|Drake Hotel||Shangri-La Hotel Toronto|
|Embassy Suites by Hilton Toronto Airport||Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel|
|Executive Hotel Cosmopolitan Toronto||Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre|
|Fairmont Royal York||Super 8 Hotel Downtown Toronto|
|Four Seasons Hotel Toronto||The Broadview Hotel|
|Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Downtown||The Hyatt Regency Toronto|
|Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale||The Ivy at Verity|
|Hilton Toronto||The Omni King Edward Hotel|
|Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites||The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto|
|Holiday Inn Express Toronto Downtown||The Strathcona Hotel|
|Holiday Inn Toronto Airport East||The Waterside Inn|
|Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre||The Westin Harbour Castle|
|Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport||The Westin Prince Toronto|
|Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale||The Westin Toronto Airport Hotel|
|Hotel Carlingview Toronto Airport||Thompson Toronto|
|Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square||Toronto Airport Marriott|
|Hôtel Le Germain-Toronto||Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites|
|Hotel X Toronto by Library Hotel Collection||Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel|
|InterContinental Toronto Centre||Town Inn Suites|
|Toronto Marriott Markham||St. Regis|
In the summer of 2018, the Hotel Association of Canada worked with Tourism HR Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to launch a 3-year, pilot program called Destination Employment. As explained by the Hotel Association of Canada, the purpose of the program is to place new Canadians in sustainable long-term hotel jobs. Those jobs include entry-level traditional hotel employment like housekeeping and cleaning positions. They also include jobs that require prior training and experience in areas like accounting, sales, and event planning. The stated goal is to mobilize at least 1,300 refugees and new Canadians into available hotel jobs in five key regions across the country
In fact, as pointed out in Canadian HR Reporter, there are about 60 different jobs within the hospitality sector. Excluding food-service positions, these jobs may be categorized as:
- Hotel Management and Administration
- Event Planning
- Maintenance and Cleaning
Hotel Management and Administration Positions
The Balance Careers website places the following jobs within the Hotel Management and Administration category:
- Hotel Manager or Hotel Director
- Sales and Marketing Manager
- Catering Sales Manager
- Group Sales Manager
- Guest Room Sales Manager
- Spa Manager
- Wedding Sales Manager
- Shift Manager
- Back Office Assistant
These positions are skilled and typically require significant education, experience, and training. The Government of Canada Job Bank website indicates that hotel managers (including assistant managers and front desk managers) require “A university degree or college diploma in hotel management [and] … several years of experience within the accommodation industry.” The rate of pay reflects these requirements.
Event Planning Positions
As The Balance Careers website points out, “many hotels have conference rooms or event spaces that they rent out for various events, ranging from meetings to weddings. An event planner works with the company, or individual, to arrange the event and then ensures the event runs smoothly.” Jobs in this field include:
- Events Manager
- Conference Manager
- Meeting Manager
- Conference and Meeting Planner / Event Planner
- Wedding Coordinator
A university degree or college diploma in a related field may be required. Certification is not required, but being certified as an event planner may make it easier to find employment.
Employees in front-of-house jobs interact directly with customers at the front end of the hotel. Jobs in this category include:
- Front Desk Associate
- Guest Services Associate
- Hotel Clerk
- Reservations Agent
- Baggage Porter or Bellhop
The Government of Canada Job Bank website indicates that a median rate of pay for these positions is about $14.00/hour, which is minimum wage in Ontario.
Maintenance and Housekeeping Positions
Occupations in maintenance and housekeeping include management positions as well. Job titles in this category include:
- Director of Housekeeping
- Director of Maintenance
- Director of Operations
- Housekeeping, Maintenance or Operations Supervisor
- Maintenance worker (may do heavy cleaning as well as minor building repairs and painting and moving furniture, equipment, and supplies.)
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank website, hotel cleaners make a median wage of $15.00/hour and maintenance workers a median wage of $17.00/hour. Cleaning supervisors make a median wage of $20.00/hour.
Need for English Language Proficiency
Hotel management and administration and event planning positions require highly-developed language skills. According to the Government of Canada Job Bank website, hotel managers, for instance, are required to negotiate with suppliers and clients, prepare budgets and marketing plans, develop business plans, address customer complaints, and exchange information with employees.
Other positions in this sector don’t have the same language requirements. For those employed in guest services and customer relations, such as hotel front desk clerks, a minimum of CLB 4 is undoubtedly required, but employers may seek those at the CLB 5 to CLB 7 levels, as a minimum. Those working in positions that require little customer interaction, such as housekeeping room attendants, may be able to find employment with a proficiency level of CLB 4 and maybe even less.
Employers in the hospitality sector recognize that language proficiency can be a significant hurdle for newcomers seeking employment. Those businesses involved with the Employing Newcomers in Canadian Hotels project, in particular, offer on-the-job language training. This practical training will help newcomers achieve the language proficiency required by their position.
Regulation and Certification
The hospitality industry is not regulated in Ontario. No certificates or licenses are required to work in this sector.
Training Programs in the GTA
Many positions in the hospitality industry require only on-the-job training. However, there are some training programs in the GTA that that focus on helping newcomers find work in this sector. For more information, go to the Programs and Events section of our website and filter for programs by “Sector,” choosing “Hospitality.” Organizations that offer such programs include:
- Access Employment;
- CultureLink, together with the Hospitality Workers Training Centre; and
- The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (annual program, possibly to be repeated in Fall 2019.)
Airbnb home Cleaning & Turnover Service
Another source of employment for newcomers has emerged relatively recently, with the arrival of home rentals through online services such as Airbnb. There are currently over 17,000 units listed by Airbnb in the City of Toronto, all of which need to be cleaned, although many of these may be cleaned by the homeowner him or herself. By Googling “Airbnb cleaning services”, one can find the names and contact information of many different companies which employ the equivalent of housekeeping staff.
Banquet halls, conference and convention centres, and special event venues
Another component of the hospitality sector consists of banquet halls, conference and convention centres, and special event venues. These can be Googled by geographic area. Food & beverage operations may be outsourced to private contractors, but the facilities may handle operations, maintenance, engineering, sales, and client service in-house.
From time to time, there are job fairs that specialize in the hospitality sector. Jobs Canada Fair, for example, regularly organizes such events across the country and throughout the year. Exhibitors include not only hotels, but also restaurants, casinos, theme parks. And other hospitality sector employers.
In addition to general job boards, there is one job board that specializes in the hospitality sector, called Hcareers. A user can filter by location (such as Toronto or Mississauga), industry (such as hotel or conference/meeting events, and position category (management/non-management.)
Two Years On, Vienna’s Refugee-Run Magdas Hotel Is Going Strong (Conde Nast Traveler, Feb 14/17)
Inside Europe’s only hotel run by refugees (Khaleej Times, May 28/16)
Baltimore hotel welcomes refugees – as employees (UNHCR, Feb 18/11)