In March 2020, shortly before the first blockade of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ottawa-based Stephanie Fortin recently lost a full-time retail job.
As soon as the company closed the door according to public health measures, it became almost impossible for Fortin to find a job. So from March 15th to September 26th, she applied for Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a rushed government program that provides eligible recipients with $ 500 a week.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2021 census data released Wednesday, Fortin is one of approximately 20.7 million Canadians with pandemic support in 2020.
Data show that Canada’s revenues in the early days of the pandemic were 9.8% higher than they were five years ago, with only Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Labrador showing an overall decline. The median household income after tax was $ 73,000. This reflects a five-year slowdown in employment income growth and, in particular, an increase in government relocation in 2020.
Fewer Canadians received employment income during the pandemic, but the transfer reduced the low income rate to 11.1% in 2020 and to 14.4% in 2015. This is the largest decline since 1976.
Experts warned that income data based on Canada Revenue Agency tax and benefits records should form a complex picture of an early pandemic and be viewed as a time snapshot. It has evolved since then.
While she receives the CERB, Fortin covers her invoice, pursues a long-abandoned hobby, and her next to an education to land her higher-paying and more satisfying work. I was able to plan the steps in advance.
“It was the first time for many of us that we couldn’t identify it as our job. We really had to understand who we were,” she said in an interview. .. “And that break, which didn’t have to worry about money, mentally or financially, made it possible for me to imagine what I wanted from myself in the future.”
Last year, Fortin enrolled in La Cité’s Dental Assistant Program at Francophone University in Ottawa, and after graduating this spring, a 30-year-old child works as an assistant in a dental office.
With each economic crisis, there is a measurable tendency for young workers to pursue more education to make them more attractive to employers, economist Armin Jarnizan releases census data. I explained before.
Atkinson Fellow Yalnizyan on the future of workers claims that young people aged 15-34 now have “the greatest foothold of all generations since the 1950s” in finding the job they want. Did. CERB has played a role in helping some young people towards these goals, but a bigger factor to pay attention to is the aging of the population, she said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 500,000 older people have entered the demographics for people aged 65 and over, and many other adults have retired early. According to Yalnizyan, this impacts the liquidity of young adults in the labor market, but it also distorts the trend in average income as retirees tend to form large population blocks and bring lower bonds. increase.
“What the pandemic really did was to add an accelerator to the main story of the labor market over the last decade,” Yalnizyan said, citing the impact of the aging population. “It just accelerated what happened.”
That long-term trend is reflected in census data, showing that by 2020, more than 20% of the workforce is already in the 55-64 categories.
Another factor, Yalnizyan said, that it affects overall income and labor trends after a pandemic is Canada’s temporary allowance for wage growth to increase the number of non-residents who are usually stagnant. Expansion of the traditional foreign worker program.
This year’s federal budget will ease restrictions on the number of temporary workers that can be brought in and the length of time they can work to address labor shortages, including areas such as retail, food service, and health care. I promised.
According to Casey Warman, a professor of economics at Dalhousie University, this labor shortage reflects a rapid return in employment rates after the initial pandemic downturn.
“The bounceback was incredibly fast. It’s surprisingly fast,” he said in an interview before the census data was released. “By mid-2021, it was completely back to its previous state.”
Still, he said, the numbers from 2020 provide a valuable snapshot of what the people’s sources of income were during the pandemic.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Statistics Canada Prime Minister Andre Bernard said it would be difficult to reveal what would have happened in 2020 without the effects of a government move, but certain year-over-year changes. Statistics are isolated.
The percentage of Canadians receiving employment income has declined since 2019, with women dropping out of the labor market more than men. According to the median income rate, the wage gap between men and women remains, with men earning 35 percent more than women.
In 2020, 113,835 fewer Canadians than in 2019 received employment income, and 415,585 earned less than $ 20,000.
Apart from pandemic benefits, median employment income has declined since 2019 in most states. The largest losses were down 6.3%, 6% and 4.2% in resource-rich Alberta, Newfoundland, Labrador and Saskatchewan, respectively. This is partly due to the record low oil prices.
Authorities reported that the rise in median income in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and the three regions reflects unemployment in the low-income sector.
More than two-thirds of Canadian adults, or 68.4%, receive COVID-19-related government benefits, and 27.6 adults receive federal emergency and recovery benefits, most often CERB.
More than half of adults, including 90.5% of older people, are also supplemented with existing federal programs, and 4.2 million Canadian adults also receive money through state or territory relief programs.
Marie Daniel Smith