TORONTO -- Canada’s national statistics agency has reported an increase in Ontario’s employment for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.

After losing more than one million jobs in a three-month time span, Ontario has added about 378,000 jobs in June, Statistics Canada said on Friday. This brings Ontario’s unemployment rate down to 12.2 per cent from 13.6 per cent last month.

The majority of jobs added in Ontario over the last month are full-time positions while only about 158,000 of them are part-time.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS), which used the week of June 14 to 20 as a sample, said that the unemployment losses as a result of the country’s economic shutdown were ‘unprecedented in their speed and depth.”

Statistics Canada noted that at the time of the survey issued Friday, most regions in Canada had loosened some of their public health measures, however tighter restrictions remained in southwestern Ontario, including Toronto, where the number of COVID-19 cases were higher.

While most of Ontario moved to Stage 2 of the province’s economic recovery plan in mid-June, Toronto, Peel Region and Windsor-Essex had to wait a few more weeks until the number of daily reported COVID-19 cases decreased.

At the time of the labour survey, Toronto had yet to move on to the next stage of reopening. About 67,000 more jobs were lost in the city, according to Statistics Canada, bringing the unemployment rate up to 13.6 per cent from 11.2 per cent the previous month.

The province saw 403,000 jobs disappear in March, 689,000 were lost in April and in May Ontario was down another 64,500 jobs.

Speaking on Friday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that the June numbers are "good signs" but the province still has a long way to go.

"My promise to you is that I won’t stop until every Ontarian, every worker in Ontario, is back on its feet," he said.

The premier also announced on Friday the launch of a new program aimed at promoting locally-made products. Included in the program is an "Ontario Made" logo that manufacturers can use. 

“As we fight to get thorough the economic downturn and now more than ever we need to support our own,” Ford said. “We can’t forget that as a province our collective buying power is massive."

Across Canada, nearly one million jobs were added in the month of June. The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent following a record-high of 13.7 per cent last month.

The last time the unemployment rate was more than 13 per cent was in December 1982.