Indigenous tourism training takes off on Haida Gwaii

April 4, 2022

Old Massett — More than a dozen people will soon get new skills training to prepare them for jobs in the hospitality sector.

Through a new provincial Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project intended for Indigenous people, up to 16 individuals will receive employment skills to prepare them for careers in hospitality on Haida Gwaii.

“British Columbia’s Indigenous tourism industry continues to grow,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This new CEP project on Haida Gwaii is a great example of what can happen when communities and employers work together to identify and promote local employment opportunities.”

The Province is providing more than $250,000 in funding to the Haida Nation’s economic development corporation, Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo), to deliver skills and certification courses. Courses will be offered through two intakes of the Haida Nation’s tourism labour market training program in the communities of G̲aw Tlagée (Old Massett) and HlG̲aagilda (Skidegate).

“HaiCo is pleased to host the tourism labour market training program. It will provide skills and certifications to support employment in the tourism and hospitality industry, which is very important on X̱aadáa Gwáay/X̱aadaa Gwaay.yaay Haida Gwaii,” said Kilslaay Kaajii Sding (Miles Richardson), chair of HaiCo.

Participants will receive nine weeks of occupational and essential-skills training, two weeks of on-the-job work experience with local employers, and one week of follow-up support to prepare them for employment in the local hospitality industry.

Students will also complete certification courses in Serving it Right, Occupational First Aid Level 1, SuperHost: Foundations of Service Quality, FoodSafe Level 1, and Hospitality Foundations.

“World-renowned for its unique ecological and cultural significance, people from around the world want to visit Haida Gwaii,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “This demand explains the need for well-trained employees in the hospitality and tourism sector. The Community and Employer Partnership program will help local Indigenous people meet that demand.”

Upon completion of the program, participants will be qualified to work in a range of positions in the hospitality industry, including as kitchen staff, servers, hotel staff, housekeeping staff and maintenance workers.

“Indigenous tourism is vitally important to B.C.’s economy and this sector was seeing incredible success and growth in Indigenous-led businesses before the pandemic hit,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “This project addresses a challenge faced across the province by supporting communities with training for people to work locally. It is empowering to see the Haida Gwaii community’s self-determination and resilience and to see reconciliation in action through the CEP project. I am so proud of the commitment to invest in the people on Haida Gwaii and build back Indigenous tourism even stronger than before.”

Full-time, group-based classroom learning for the first intake of learners starts Monday, April 11, 2022. Project activities run through July 1, 2022, in G̲aw Tlagée (Old Massett). The second intake starts Monday, July 4, 2022, and runs through Sept. 23, 2022, in HlG̲aagilda (Skidegate).

Anyone interested in learning more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.

Quick Facts:

  • Funding for this project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC’s CEP.
  • CEP investments are targeted at projects that support an inclusive economic recovery.
  • CEP projects support B.C. job seekers’ training and work experience and help businesses and communities address labour-market challenges.
  • Through CEP, the Province invests $15 million annually in communities throughout B.C.
  • In 2021-22, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided approximately $3.4 million from CEP to support Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Learn More:

To learn how CEPs are helping local communities, visit:

To learn about how WorkBC can help British Columbians find jobs that are right for them, visit:

To find your local WorkBC centre, visit:

For more information on HaiCo, visit: