Canada Canadians will lose jobs amid COVID shutdowns, but may rebound ‘quickly’: employment minister
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The NHL has postponed three more games for the Vancouver Canucks, shutting them down through April 6 after Travis Hamonic was added to the COVID protocol on Thursday. Hamonic joined Adam Gaudette, who has tested positive for coronavirus and a member of the team’s coaching staff. © Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports The NHL has shut down the Canucks through April 6. The league is hoping that the Canucks will be able to play on April 8 against the Calgary Flames, but games against the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets in the coming days will have to be pushed. All practices have also been canceled for the time being.
On the heels offrom Statistics Canada, employment minister Carla Qualtrough said Canadians can expect to see another dip in employment figures as take hold across the country to curb soaring cases.
The economy added 303,000 jobs in March as employment increased, StatCan reported on Friday, including gains in sectors that.
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"I don't think next month's job numbers will be as hopeful, because they will reflect the lockdowns that are happening now," Qualtrough told The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson in an interview.
But, Qualtrough said, job numbers are "rebounding very quickly" after lockdowns.
Multiple provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, have had to bring in new restrictions as COVID-19 variants swarm the country. The variants of concern are more contagious, doctors have warned, and often more serious than the original COVID-19 virus that shut down the country a year ago.
Under their latest plan, Ontario has shuttered indoor and patio dining, allowing restaurants to stay open only for takeout and delivery. Retail businesses that have been deemed "non-essential" also have a capacity limit of 25 per cent.
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Ottawa hospitals preparing to postpone non-urgent surgeries as COVID-19 cases continue to rise School closure to in-person learning following spring break is more likely than not, Dr. Vera Etches says Ottawa sees 242 new cases, one new death Ontario reported 4,249 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, a high not seen since the peak of the second wave in early January. This total includes 1,218 infections in Toronto, 762 in Peel, 532 in York Region, and 247 in Durham. The seven-day average now sits at 3,256 cases reported daily, provincewide. There have been 378,339 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the pandemic began.
Moves like these tend to push some Canadians out of their jobs, Qualtrough said.
"The (job) numbers will dip in the negative again because of this third wave and lockdowns," she said.
Calls for sick pay programs continue
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Meanwhile, for those who must still go into work every day, multiple advocates have been calling onto ensure workers stay home if they get sick.
While the federal government has introduced a temporary sick leave benefit that allows Canadians to claim up to four non-consecutive weeks of funds, some experts say the program is flawed.
“These people need immediate support. They need to know that they will be paid in their next pay cycle or very soon after that. Not many weeks down the road,” said Dr. Ann Collins, head of the Canadian Medical Association.
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“They are supporting their families, and sometimes they’re supporting multiple family members, living in in the same home. So they need a more immediate type of response.”
While it’s possible to receive the funds via direct deposit as soon as three days after applying, the payments can take much, much longer.
“If your application requires further validation, processing may take up to four weeks from the time we receive your documentation,” the federal government’s website says.
When pressed on these wait times, Qualtrough said most people find they can access the benefit quite quickly.
"The vast, vast majority of workers are getting it within three days, if they have a direct payment through CRA," she said.
However, there have been issues with getting workers to actually claim the benefit in the first place, Qualtrough acknowledged.
"There's a real disconnect that we're trying to really dig in on," she said. "I'm constantly out there trying to get people to really take advantage of the fact that there's four weeks of sick pay for them."
As the federal government pushes to get workers to use the benefit and stay home when sick, the variants continue to race through Canadian communities.
“This is a life-and-death situation for many people,” Collins said, adding that variants of concern have "changed the ballgame entirely."
“We often can sit in our own homes at a distance and just look at the numbers and so on, but … each case, each death is a person. It’s a family member. It’s an income provider in a lot of cases," she said. "And that’s a tremendous loss.”
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