In August, tourism employment increased by 54,300 jobs, the smallest monthly gain since tourism employment began to recover in May.

Tourism employment dropped by 881,700 jobs through March and April. The sector has now gained back 572,200 of those lost jobs. But summer is the height of Canada’s tourism season, and on a year-over-year basis tourism employed 463,400 fewer individuals than it did in August 2019.


  • Tourism added 54,300 jobs in August — one quarter of Canada’s seasonally unadjusted job growth.
  • Ontario was responsible for the majority of employment growth, adding 41,300 jobs.
  • The tourism unemployment rate has fallen to 17.1%, which remains 6.1 percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate.
  • On a year-over-year basis, seasonally unadjusted employment across all Canadian industries was down 5.3% from August 2019. In comparison, tourism employment was down 21.2% from the same month a year ago.

Please note: To allow comparisons with tourism sector data, which sees significant employment fluctuations over the year, we use seasonally unadjusted data for both tourism employment and overall employment.

Tourism Employment Rate

In the tourism sector, the seasonally unadjusted labour force survey data shows that the number of employed individuals grew by 54,300—an increase of 3.2%. Most of the added employment occurred in Ontario, which added 41,300 jobs, 76.1% of the total employment gain. This was driven by the reopening of businesses in the Greater Toronto Area and Peel region, which did not enter Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan until the end of July.

Over four months of increases, tourism has gained 572,200 jobs. However, tourism employment is still below pre-COVID levels and well below the level of employment seen in August 2019. Employment levels were 15.2% below February 2020 and 21.2% lower than August 2019.

Last August, tourism employed over 2.2 million Canadians. This August, just over 1.7 million Canadians worked in the tourism sector.

In August, employment (unadjusted for seasonality) across the entire Canadian economy increased by 219,900 jobs. The increase in tourism employment accounted for 24.7% of that overall increase.

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