Job numbers show pandemic’s hardest hit continue to struggle most

July 9, 2021

Canada’s unions are raising the alarm that hundreds of thousands of workers are facing cutbacks to pandemic supports, while the job market remains far from recovery.

“Our biggest concern is those workers who are at risk of dropping out of the labour market altogether. “Many workers are just giving up because they can’t find work, or because a lack of access to services, like childcare, makes working impossible,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “The Liberal government has made big promises about creating jobs and investing in childcare, but we won’t start to see real economic recovery until those investments come to fruition.”

June’s labour force survey, released today by Statistics Canada, showed an increase in low-wage part-time work, in sectors that have high levels of precarity. Long-term unemployment remains a concern – almost half a million Canadians have been without work for six months or longer.

The federal government has made commitments towards the creation of one million jobs and investments in skills and training. Workers who are waiting for those investments are now seeing reductions in the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) of $200 per week. Additionally, furloughed workers whose salaries are being subsidized under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will lose all compensation as of August 28.

“This pandemic is not over, we still have a ways to go before businesses and workplaces fully reopen,” said Bruske. “As we inch towards pre-pandemic levels of employment, we have to remind the Prime Minister that there can be no going back. We have to do better than pre-pandemic employment levels and move forward to full employment, so every worker who wants a job can find one.”

Canada’s unions are focused on replacing jobs lost during the pandemic with better ones. This means working with the government on their promise to create one million jobs, and ensuring those jobs pay a living wage and include access to benefits like paid sick leave and easier paths to unionization.

Learn more about new CLC President Bea Bruske here.

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