Media Releases May 08, 2020

Job loss staggering, business innovation saving countless more from unemployment: Canadian Chamber of Commerce

(OTTAWA, ON) – May 8, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, issued the following statement today regarding today’s Labour Force Survey results:

“Despite being widely expected, today’s unemployment figures are staggering. The unfortunate reality is that some 3 million Canadians have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the recent Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), we knew that 40.5% of businesses laid off staff and 38.1% of them reduced staff hours or shifts in the early stages of the lockdown.

Those figures also mean that countless businesses maintained their staff by adapting their operations, including by altering production methods and products offerings, testing e-commerce options, bolstering remote work options and finding new ways to interact with customers. The CSBC shows that today’s job numbers would have been much worse if not for the resiliency and innovation of Canadian businesses.

Today’s numbers capture the period before the Canadian Emergency Wage Support (CEWS) was implemented. Next month’s data will provide greater clarity about the state of the labour market as we prepare to reopen the economy. We hope to see some rebound next month, given the 96,000 applications for CEWS, involving 1.7 million jobs, as of May 3.

The key question is how quickly businesses can or will re-hire once the economy reopens. The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions found that 62.3% of businesses say they can return to normal operations within one month of social distancing measures being removed. However, extensive social distancing measures are expected to remain for the foreseeable future and demand for goods and services will remain low in many sectors.

Today’s numbers show the need for reskilling, upskilling and skills training programs to get Canadians back to work. The Canadian Chamber will continue to closely follow the data within each jurisdiction as provinces and territories reopen at different times and under different conditions. These figures should present a clearer picture of the eventual recovery’s shape.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

For more information, please contact:
Phil Taylor