Dedicated Mental-Health Pilot Program Launching for Tourism and Hospitality Workers

Posted on Friday May 21, 2021

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Waterloo Region – Explore Waterloo Region and the Region of Waterloo today announced a dedicated mental-health and wellbeing pilot program for the tourism and hospitality workforce.

The program, which is being managed by Carizon Family and Community Services, will provide workers from the industry with quick access to mental health supports.

When the pandemic struck, tourism was the first and hardest hit industry. At it’s lowest, employment in the industry sat at 45% of pre-pandemic levels. Now, more than 14 months into the pandemic, the industry continues to see employment loss. From March to April of 2021 alone, employment in Canada’s tourism sector decreased an additional 4.4% and accounted for 93.5% of total employment losses.

“It's been a very difficult time for tourism and hospitality employees,” says Minto Schneider, Chief Executive Officer of Explore Waterloo Region. “The pandemic has hit this sector extremely hard. Many people have been laid off, and those who have been working worry about contracting the virus. We not only need to support our local businesses, we need to support the people behind these businesses who are trying to navigate an extremely uncertain time."

Earlier this year, YMCA WorkWell conducted a mental-health survey of hospitality workers in the Region with staggering results. The scores were double digits below average when it came to health, mental health, well-being and financial health.

“The shadow pandemic that mental health is causing for the hospitality and tourism workers in our Region is alarming,” said Regional Chair, Karen Redman. “We wanted to find an immediate way to help provide support, and are pleased to be able to fund this partnership with Carizon to get the dedicated support program in place so quickly.”

"At Carizon we continue working hard to help mitigate the devastating impact of the coronavirus on our community’s mental health and wellbeing." Said Tracy Elop, CEO of Carizon. "We know that we all have been impacted in different ways, and, particularly, hospitality workers are struggling financially and emotionally. Through this program, we will be able to provide unique-tailored mental health services to meet individuals' needs and help them recover and stay mentally healthy."

Carizon is working together with its partners from the Counselling Collaborative of Waterloo Region, a partnership between six counselling service providers in Waterloo Region, ensuring that support services are available throughout the three cities and four townships.

This pilot program will run for a six-month period and is expected to launch in the upcoming weeks. Information on the program will be available at upon launch. 


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