Finance Minister: ‘We’re working hard to get support to those who need it

FINANCE Minister Carole James on Friday, reacting to the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for April, said: “The April labour force numbers provide a clearer picture of the severe impacts of COVID-19 on the economy in B.C. and across Canada.

“Every sector of the B.C economy has been hit and many B.C. families are reeling.

“That is why we launched our COVID-19 Action Plan to support people and businesses through this pandemic, and why we’re working hard to get that support to those who need it. In its first week, more than 400,000 British Columbians have been approved to receive the $1,000 BC Emergency Benefit for Workers.

“This week, Premier John Horgan announced our government’s plan for a gradual, cautious lifting of restrictions, under the direction of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and with participation by various business sectors.

“Thanks to Dr. Henry and her team, along with the people of B.C. for embracing her guidelines, our province has been lauded for our work on COVID-19.

“The personal and economic pain that COVID-19 has caused around the world is unprecedented in our lifetime, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Recognizing our province’s strong economic fundamentals, we are working to build a robust rebound for B.C. and with everyone’s continued co-operation and confidence, we will get there.”

For information on services and benefits available to help people and businesses through the pandemic, visit:

ACCORDING to Statistics Canada, following a drop of over one million in March, employment fell by nearly two million in April, bringing the total employment decline since the beginning of the COVID-19 economic shutdown to over three million.

In addition, the number of people who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours for reasons related to COVID-19 increased by 2.5 million from February to April. As of the week of April 12, the cumulative effect of the COVID-19 economic shutdown—the number of Canadians who were either not employed or working substantially reduced hours—was 5.5 million, or more than one-quarter of February’s employment level.

In April, both full-time (-1,472,000; -9.7%) and part-time (-522,000; -17.1%) employment fell. Cumulative losses since February totalled 1,946,000 (-12.5%) in full-time work and 1,059,000 (-29.6%) in part-time employment.

Statistics Canada also said that over the medium and longer term, the ability of workers to reintegrate into the labour market will depend on a number of factors, including the degree to which they retain some degree of attachment to their most recent job.

In April, there were approximately 5.8 million people who did not work and who could reasonably be expected to return to work when public health and economic conditions allow (not seasonally adjusted). Of these, about two-thirds (3.8 million) had some type of attachment to a specific job, that is, they were employed but worked no hours for reasons related to COVID-19, or they had been temporarily laid off, suggesting that they expected to return to the same job within six months.

Approximately one-third (2.0 million) had no connection to a current or recent job. This includes those who were unemployed for reasons other than temporary layoff and those who left the labour force in March or April and reported that they wanted a job. The proportion of people who did not have a connection to a current or recent job was higher among youth aged 15 to 24 (44.6%) than among their core-aged (32.7%) and older (27.3%) counterparts. Men (35.2%) were slightly more likely than women (32.7%) to be in this situation.