Almost one million Canadians have filed jobless claims

by Steve Randall on 25 Mar 2020

Along with the daily reports of the health impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, come figures highlighting its economic effects.

Bloomberg is reporting that the number of Canadian jobless claims is heading towards one million, including the 500,000 already announced by the prime minister, along with a surge of claims made over the weekend.

The unnamed source cited a not-yet-public figure of 920,000 claims for employment insurance benefits. The previous record claims in one week was 499,200 in 1957.

And this is just the beginning.

Bombardier said Tuesday that it was laying-off more than 12,000 workers – they will be on unpaid leave – effective immediately and continuing until at least April 12.

For households that are living paycheque to paycheque, the loss of work for even a week can be financially devastating.

Frightening outlook for oil
The Canadian oilsands is also bracing for a hit as the price of oil falls significantly – Western Canada Select heavy oil was trading at just $8.90 Tuesday – the energy industry is already making deep cost cuts.

University of Calgary School of Public Policy fellow Richard Masson told the Financial Post that the heavily-leveraged sector will have to shed jobs.

“As people continue to cut budgets, there’s no choice but to cut staff and mothball rigs and all that makes your debt covenants loom larger,” Masson said. “There’s no way to raise new money. There’s no place to get new business. It’s very, very frightening.”

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