Ever since the spread of coronavirus in Canada, more than two million workers have lost their jobs. There have been severe effects on unemployment, hours, and wages. This means that the labor market is struggling to make ends meet, and industries are experiencing significant changes, especially in the outcome of the Canadian economy.
Consequences of COVID-19
Canada has been badly hit when it comes to the rates of unemployment, worker hours, and their participation of the labor force. The labor force includes all the adult part of the population either looking for employment or presently employed. Between February and April 2020, the unemployment rate doubled as businesses struggled to stay afloat. The official statistics do not take into account those individuals who have been unemployed and are currently not looking for work due to illness or disillusionment. This causes a drop in the labor force participation and skews official statistics to look rosier than they might be in reality.
Moreover, coronavirus is responsible for increasing work environment inequalities and widening the wage gap in the Canadian labor market. A worker earning minimum wage who loses his job may not be able to afford rent and other necessities, thus causing downstream consequences.
Which Workers Have Been Hit the Most?
The consequences of COVID-19 are worse for workers who are young, unmarried, and undereducated. However, those workers who are part of unions are less likely to be as affected as those who are not. Regardless of gender, the virus has affected both males and females in the job market. This means that gender inequalities have not increased or decreased. However, studies and numbers have shown that women without children are more likely to be fired in comparison to those with children. The former are also more prone to getting their wages cut, hours reduced, thus ending up with lower levels of work force participation. Immigrants as well as non-immigrants are experiencing the economic consequences of the virus. The unemployment rate has doubled and is currently at more than 13%
Which Workers are Less Affected?
Not surprisingly, essential and remote employees have not been as affected by the virus as other workers who have fewer options in terms of telecommuting or access to protective equipment. Hence, the impact of the pandemic on the labor market has been worse for those people who must physically go to work every day. These employees are more prone to take sick leave due to COVID-19, receive fewer hours from their employer, and may even end up leaving the workforce. This also explains some of the inequities in the workforce since those who are not highly educated are less likely to be able to work from home. Moreover, women who do not have children are more likely to work from the office. These demographics have been harder hit by the pandemic.
Policymakers and the Canadian government are working closely together to bring relief to the labor market. However, it is currently unknown how bad the economic situation might get until a vaccine for COVID-19 is fully rolled out in Canada. To learn more about Canadian labor laws, click here