Huge Job Losses in March

CBJ — The employment figures released by Statistics Canada are every bit as sobering as financial experts had predicted. The government agency has confirmed that more than one million Canadians lost their jobs in March. As such, the national unemployment rate accelerated 2.2% to 7.8%. It’s fully expected April’s figures will be even more bleak as more companies were forced to shut their doors without ongoing revenue to remain in business.

Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario reported the largest spikes in job losses. Only Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island saw no impact on their unemployment rate.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledges how grim these numbers are.

“This is difficult news,” he began. “We need to develop tools to help get us through this, and a vaccine will be crucial, but I emphasize the importance of Canadians following social distancing guidelines.”

“There is a light at the end of this tunnel if we continue doing what we are doing. We can minimize the wave of impact of COVID-19. We need to get through this first wave as quickly as possible.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a statement: “We ask Parliament to rapidly approve the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and we urge the government to get these urgently-needed funds moving to businesses now.”

The bill needs to pass through the House of Commons. The estimated time for the 75% subsidy assistance could still take anywhere from three to six weeks.

Meanwhile, businesses can now apply for a Canada Emergency Business Account for an interest-free loan of up to $40,000. Companies have until December, 2022 to repay the loan in full. Whatever outstanding balance remains will then result in a 5% interest rate being tacked on.

March jobless rate by province (February in parenthesis):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 11.7% (12.0)
  • Prince Edward Island 8.6 (8.0)
  • Nova Scotia 9.0 (7.8)
  • New Brunswick 8.8 (6.9)
  • Quebec 8.1 (4.5)
  • Ontario 7.6 (5.5)
  • Manitoba 6.4 (5.0)
  • Saskatchewan 7.3 (6.2)
  • Alberta 8.7 (7.2)
  • British Columbia 7.2 (5.0)