How is Canada’s Hospitality Industry Faring in 2021?

November 23, 2021

As ongoing labour shortages continue to hamper certain sectors, COVID-19 pandemic economic effects are squeezing businesses already struggling to find workers. Businesses of all sizes say they are having difficulty finding workers, so employers are offering more incentives such as higher wages, bonuses, and flexible work schedules in an attempt to attract workers.

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit. From the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2021, Statistics Canada reports an increase of 11,600 job vacancies in the hospitality and food services industry, reaching an all-time high of 89,100. (1) StatCan reports that the increase occurred "exclusively" in the food services and drinking places sector.

Additionally, among all occupations in Canada over the past two years, food counter attendants, kitchen helpers, and related support occupations experienced the second-largest increase in vacancies.

Canadian Underwriter reports that many insurance companies no longer cover restaurants, which has compounded these challenges. The magazine has also been informed that some insurers are no longer covering hotels, motels, and bars/pubs/concert venues. (2)

When taking a client's risk out to market, a broker must understand how the pandemic has affected that client.

Assessing Exposures and Risks at a Restaurant

Kitchen Mishaps

The busier the season gets, the more things can go wrong both on the floor and in the kitchen, from fires, power outages, and equipment breakdowns to customers getting sick, burned, or having allergies to the food they're served.

Slipping and Tripping Hazards

Restaurant/bar owners can be held liable for slips and falls at their venue. This includes slips and falls down the stairs, and even injuries on the dancefloor.

Holidays, Happy Hour, and Popular Dining Hours

During busy times, restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns are at higher risk. During these times, patrons are more likely to drink, and overcrowding and/or entrance obstruction are safety concerns.

Serving Alcohol

Bars, pubs, and taverns can be held liable for over-serving alcohol if the establishment is alleged to have caused or contributed to an event where someone was injured. A licensed establishment has a legal responsibility to ensure that its patrons get home safely. The commercial host may be held responsible for a vehicle accident caused by patron intoxication.

Another risk to consider is that clients may drink at several restaurants in a single night in commercial districts, and may already be intoxicated when they arrive at the client's venue.


Owners of restaurants can be held accountable for the conduct of their employees if there is sufficient evidence that the assault took place within the scope of authorized duties.

Client Privacy

Photographers, venue managers and staff, or anyone who distributes photos taken at an event might be liable for invasion of privacy.


SWG HOST Hospitality Services Insurance is a leading program designed to accommodate most classes of hospitality risks including restaurants, fine dining, pubs, bars, venues with live entertainment, billiards/pool halls, and motels/hotels not exceeding 35 room rentals. We can quote large TIVs and high liquor % receipts. Liquor Liability is acceptable up to $2,000,000 and in some cases up to $5,000,000. Standalone liability is available.

Coverage Highlights

Full Commercial General Liability with Liquor Liability:

Most classes of Hospitality risks

Bodily injury and property damage

Tenant’s legal liability up to $500K

Non owned automobile – excluded if there is delivery service

One application for all classes of the risk quoted.

Full property coverage on broad form available

Extensions of Coverage Include:

Personal Property of Officers and Employees

Any one officer/employee

Any one occurrence

Growing Plant, Trees, Shrubs or Flowers in the Open

Accounts Receivabl

Stock Spoilage/Consequential Loss

Building By-Laws

Inflation Protection

Exhibition Coverage

Automatic Fire Suppression System Recharge Expense

Brands and Labels

Fire Fighting Expenses

Temporary Locations

New Acquired Locations (30 Days)


Equipment and Stock (Contents)

Debris Removal

Peak Season Increase

Land and Water Pollution Clean Up Expense

Building Damage by Theft

Extra Expense

Valuable Papers

Electronic Data Processing Equipment and Media

Fine Art

Professional Fees



Crime Coverage Includes:

Employee Dishonesty

Broad Form Money & Securities

Credit card forgery

LEGAL EXPENSE (claims Made Basis)

Further Coverage Details:

Liquor up to 90% depending on nature of Hospitality establishment

Dance Floor up to 450 square feet depending on hospitality risk classification

Fully updated buildings up to 125 years old and updated (within last 25 years and roof in last 15 years)

Who We Cover:


Fine Dining


Hospitality with Live Bands

Hospitality with Patios





Un-licenced Restaurants

Billiard Pool Halls

Hotel and Motel (<36 rooms)

Venues with Live Entertainment

Visit our product page at for more information.

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.