Canada Posts Job Losses in April as Third Wave Hits


According to Statistics Canada, the third wave of pandemic led to employment losses. In April, Canada lost 207,100 jobs due to public health measures tightened in several provinces. The unemployment rate climbed to 8.1 per cent as restrictions hit retailers, hospitality, food and entertainment as well as service sectors. Employment remains 2.6 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.


Employment falls in April as public health measures are tightened

  • Employment fell by 207,000 (-1.1%) in April and the unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 8.1%.
  • Employment declined in both full-time (-129,000; -0.8%) and part-time (-78,000; -2.3%) work. The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours increased by 288,000 (+27.2%).
  • The number of Canadians working from home grew by 100,000 to 5.1 million.
  • Total hours worked fell 2.7% in April, driven by declines in educational services, accommodation and food services, as well as retail trade.
  • The labour underutilization rate, which captures the full range of people who are available and want to work, rose 2.3 percentage points to 17.0% in April.
  • The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more increased to 486,000.

Employment declines in industries most affected by public health restrictions

  • In April, employment fell in several industries directly impacted by public health restrictions, namely retail trade (-84,000); accommodation and food services (-59,000); and information, culture and recreation (-26,000).
  • Accommodation and food services accounted for more than two-thirds (70.9%) of the overall employment gap (-503,000) compared with February 2020.
  • Employment increased in public administration (+15,000); professional, scientific and technical services (+15,000); and finance, insurance and real estate (+15,000), three industries where many activities can be performed remotely.
  • Employment in goods-producing industries was little changed in April.

Fewer people working in Ontario and British Columbia

  • Following gains over the previous two months, employment in Ontario fell 153,000 (-2.1%) in April.
  • Employment in British Columbia declined by 43,000 (-1.6%)—the first decrease since substantial employment losses in March and April 2020.
  • Employment increased in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, while there was little change in all other provinces.

Employment among youth falls as public health restrictions tighten

  • Employment among youth aged 15 to 24 fell by 101,000 (-4.2%) in April, with losses concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia.
  • After notable growth in February and March, employment among people aged 25 to 54 fell 48,000 (-0.4%), with the decline primarily in full-time work for women.
  • After returning to pre-pandemic levels in March, employment among people aged 55 and older fell 58,000 (-1.4%), with losses primarily in full-time work (-45,000; -1.4%).
  • Among 15- to 69-year-olds, the unemployment rate for population groups designated as visible minorities increased 0.5 percentage points to 9.9% (not seasonally adjusted).

For more information on this report, visit Statistics Canada.