Ontario sheds 153,000 jobs in April following tightening of public health restrictions
TORONTO -- Nearly 153,000 jobs were lost in Ontario last month as the province implemented enhanced public health measures to blunt the transmission of COVID-19 in the pandemic’s third wave.
According to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (LFS) released Friday, the 2.1 per cent drop in employment was mostly driven by retail trade; accommodation and food services; and information, culture and recreation, three sectors the agency says were most directly affected by the recent public health restrictions.
Of all the jobs lost, 134,000 were full-time positions and 18,700 were part-time positions, pushing Ontario’s unemployment rate to nine per cent.
The survey covers labour market conditions during the week of April 11 to 17. On April 8, the Ontario government introduced its second stay-at-home order, which forced the closure of all non-essential businesses in the face of growing case numbers and an increasing strain on the province’s health-care system.
Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli said that the release of today’s data serves as a “stark reminder” of the work required to eventually jump start the provincial economy.
“We are not through the pandemic crisis and last month’s numbers remind us how important it is to stay focused on our plan to protect the health of Ontarians and their jobs. But we can see light at the end of the tunnel,” Fedeli said in a statement.
The province has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination rollout in recent weeks, thanks to an increase in supply and a widening of eligibility for the shot. So far, 5.8 million needles have gone into arms with a record 144,000 shots administered yesterday alone.
At the same time, public health officials have said that Ontario’s third wave of the pandemic appears to have crested.
The stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 20 at the earliest. However, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said she would be "surprised" to see everything reopen at that point.