Skip to Main Content

TIAO Renews Call for Federal Government to Consult Tourism Stakeholders Following Further Workforce Restrictions Impacting Ontario’s Tourism Industry

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is concerned about the new federal rules limiting off-campus work hours for international students and the impact these changes will have on their welfare and the capacity of tourism and hospitality employers. 


On April 29, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that international postsecondary students will be able to work a maximum of 24 hours per week during term time, starting in September. During the pandemic, the federal government temporarily waived the 20-hour-per week work limit for international students, allowing them to work up to 40 hours per week during term time. This waiver expired on April 30. The work hours limit will return to 20 hours per week until September, when the government can implement a permanent change to 24 hours per week.   


TIAO had advocated for a permanent extension of the temporary 40-hour-per week work limit for international students to enable them to gain the necessary work experience for career mobility and to support the capacity for tourism and hospitality employers to meet employment demand.  


Andrew Siegwart, President and CEO of TIAO, commented, “We are very concerned by this latest announcement, which is yet another restriction that will disproportionately impact the tourism and hospitality industry. Food and beverage, accommodations, events, and other tourism and hospitality sectors that are major employers of international students will face pronounced labour shortages. This policy change is even more worrisome, as it will restrict the ability of international students to make ends meet amidst the rising cost of living—putting them at risk for precarious employment conditions that may jeopardize their welfare and immigration status.” 


The announcement is the latest in a series of federal policy changes that have compounded recruitment and retention issues affecting Ontario’s tourism and hospitality industry. Since January 2024, the IRCC has introduced a two-year cap on the number of study permits issued to international students, changed eligibility rules for Spousal Open Work Permits, and reduced the validity period for new Labour Market Impact Assessments from 12 months to 6 months for employers seeking to fill persistently vacant positions through the Temporary Foreign Worker program.  


Added Siegwart: “Our industry is still not being consulted on changes that will have immediate and longstanding impacts on the workforce and business capacity of tourism sectors. With tourism being a critical driver of so many local and regional economies across Canada, I am calling on our federal partners to consult with TIAO and our industry partners on measures that might impact Ontario’s tourism industry.”