Media Releases Jan 08, 2021

The Polar Night Rises: Statement on Today’s Labour Force Survey by the Canadian Chamber


(OTTAWA) – January 8, 2021 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, Leah Nord, issued the following statement regarding today’s Labour Force Survey numbers.

“Today’s decline in employment was largely expected, capturing the early impacts of lockdowns of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

As cases continue to reach record highs, the prospect of protracted lockdowns loom large over the first quarter. As we look forward, we believe that many of the rebound gains of the last seven months are at risk of being lost, signalling a potential return to darker times for Canada’s labour market over the coming months.

Within that darkness lies a  concern over December’s dropping labour force participation rates, mostly comprised of male youth and working women, likely frustrated by the job search and staying home to take care of suddenly homebound children, respectively. The enduring impacts of the increasingly long-term unemployed and workforce drop-outs will cast a long shadow upon the recovery, as re-entry into what will assuredly be a very different labour market presents significant obstacles.

For Canada’s workforce to recover, and for Canadians to return to gainful employment as lockdowns ease, we will need programs that help get Canadians back into the workforce. The extended workforce absences, tremendous shift to digital business, and rapid escalation of permanent business closures require a defined strategy if Canada is to recover quickly.

What Canada needs is a plan that allows businesses to assess their workforce needs, and connect with idle and displaced talent in a coordinated and strategic manner. The choices we make today set the stage for our success tomorrow. We need to make the best use of the coming polar night to ensure we are ready for the recovery’s thawing rays.”

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.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca