VANCOUVER - The union representing 300,000 hospitality workers across the country says it fears staff laid off because of COVID-19 may not have a job when the pandemic is over.

The Canadian director of the hospitality union, Unite Here, says the challenges facing their workers are unprecedented.

Ian Robb says over 90 per cent of hospitality employees in the country's hotels, airports, stadiums, universities and schools haven't worked since March.

He says too few employers are using the federal wage subsidy program to keep workers tied to their jobs and all levels of government need to work creatively to avoid long-term unemployment in the sector.

The union wants governments and employers to ensure their jobs are protected, that there is a safe way back to work and that there is income support for the duration of the crisis.

Robb says analysts predict the industry may not fully recover until the summer of 2022, leading to uncertainty for tens of thousands of workers and their families.