COVID-19 in Canada: A One-year Update on Social and Economic Impacts

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Foreword

Anil Arora
Chief Statistician of Canada

This past year has presented incredible challenges and inflicted untold grief on so many in Canada and around the world. It has also shown our resilience and our ability to step up, to adapt, and to be innovative. Providing a solid fact base and enabling decisions that impact lives and livelihoods have been the driving force for each of us at Statistics Canada.

I am so thankful to our partners, stakeholders and Canadians who have participated in our survey programs and shared data to allow us, as a society, to find out sooner and act faster during this crisis. I am especially proud of my colleagues within the agency who have time and time again proven that this hundred-year institution can be innovative, agile, and responsive, and can provide independent, trustworthy and timely data and insights. I thank them for digging deeper and for their sacrifices and expertise over this past year.

I am pleased to provide a snapshot of what our society and economy have faced this past year, in the form of this year-in-review compendium COVID-19 in Canada: A One-year Update on Social and Economic Impacts. I encourage you to visit our website for more detailed information, our analysis series, dashboards and the Canadian Statistical Geospatial Explorer. Let's use these data to garner insights that will help us build back better.

Thank you.

Anil Arora

The situation


Figure 1. COVID-19 Social and Economic Impacts – Timeline

Description for Figure 1

The title of the image is “COVID-19 Social and Economic Impacts – Timeline.”

The image presents a timeline of the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to March 2021.

The background of the image is light grey. At the top of it appears the title “COVID-19 Social and Economic Impacts – Timeline” in a large, black, bolded font. The timeline starts from the left side of the image and ends on the right side of it. It is represented by a large, dark grey horizontal band situated in the middle of the image. On this horizontal band, five black circles appear, at equal distance. The circles are wider than the horizontal band. In each circle appears the name of a month and year in a white bolded font. From left to right, the months and years appear as follows: “March 2020,” “June 2020,” “Sept 2020,” “Dec 2020,” “March 2021.” On the same horizontal band, in the space between each pair of black circles, two large light grey arrowheads appear, their sides going beyond the horizontal band. There are eight arrowheads in total. The arrowheads are equally distanced and are all pointing to the right side of the image: they indicate the direction of the timeline (from March 2020 to March 2021).

Starting from the large, dark grey horizontal band are 16 vertical leader lines that extend to the top portion of the image and 7 vertical leader lines that extend to the bottom portion of the image. The leader lines are of the same narrow width and of a light brown shade. They are of different lengths. At the end of the leader lines begin wider horizontal lines of the same colour but of different widths and lengths. These horizontal lines are banners that all extend to the right of their respective vertical leader line. In the banners, dates are written in small, bolded black font. The top of a white rectangle is attached to each banner. In this rectangle, a timeline event is described. The events are linked to their respective banner and leader line to the large, dark grey horizontal band in the chronological order indicated on the band.

The 16 dates and events in the top portion of the figure are as follows, starting from March 2020: March 11th, COVID-19 declared a pandemic; March 16th, Canada bans entry of all non-residents; March 17th, First provinces declare state of emergency; March 25th, Canada introduces CERB; May, Unemployment rate reaches record high of 13.7%; May 4th, Restrictions begin to lift in some provinces; June, Retail sales surpass pre-COVID level; July 3rd, Atlantic bubble is formed; August, Smallest number of business closings since COVID, 95% of Canadians adopt public health precautions; September, Employment at accommodation and food services hits highest level since COVID; September 8th, Students return to school; September 30th, Bill C-4 passes to usher in new COVID-19 benefits; November, Calls for police service increase by 8% since the start of the pandemic, Lowest cumulative employment loss since COVID (3.1%); January, Employment declines by 213,000, young females particularly hit; January 9th, Quebec imposes curfew; February, Alberta and Ontario exit lockdown.

The 7 dates and events in the bottom portion of the figure are as follows, starting from March 2020: March, 90% of Canadians adopt public health precautions; April, GDP declines 18% from pre-COVID level, International arrivals down 92% year-over-year; June, Declines in mental health—55% of Canadians reported having excellent or very good mental health—compared to 68% in 2019; July, 58% of Canadians report they would be very likely to get a vaccine; September, 16% of Canadians reported having been tested for COVID-19, Vaccine hesitancy increases—only 48% of Canadians report they would be very likely to get a vaccine; November, 62% of Canadians reported having excellent or very good mental health—up from 55% in July, 33% of healthcare workers report fair or poor mental health; December, Alberta and Ontario enter lockdown, 43.3% of Canadians employed concerned about contracting COVID-19 in the workplace, Vaccination begins in Canada.


Canadians continue to respond to COVID-19

Canadians continue to support public health measures

  • During the first half of the pandemic, the majority of Canadians (90%) took precautions such as physical distancing and wearing masks to reduce cases of illness and to avoid overwhelming the health care system.
  • By September, over 95% of Canadians indicated that they were taking precautions such as washing hands, wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.
    • Results were fairly consistent across population groups, including gender, age and visible minority groups.
  • By contrast, 67% of individuals reported that they avoided leaving the house for non-essential reasons.

Chart - Proportion of Canadians following precautions to protect themselves or others against COVID-19, Canada, September 2020

Data table 
Proportion of Canadians following precautions to protect themselves or others against COVID-19, Canada, September 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of Canadians following precautions to protect themselves or others against COVID-19 Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Washes hands more frequently 96.1
Wears a mask in public places 96.5
Keeps a 2 m / 6 ft distance from others 94.8
Avoids crowds / large gatherings 93.1
Avoids leaving house for non-essential reasons 67.0
Works from home (paid worker) 37.8
Uses delivery / curb side pick-up services 40.3
Self-isolates if they have symptoms 66.3

Compliance is higher among those who experienced symptoms

  • By September, 12% of Canadians reported having experienced symptoms related to COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, chills, difficulty breathing, fatigue) since the start of the pandemic.
    • Rates were higher among young adults aged 15 to 24 years (18.5%), compared with those aged 65 years and older (7%).
  • Among these individuals, 93% said they followed public health recommendations such as self-isolating and wearing a mask if going out while experiencing symptoms.
  • In September, 16% of Canadians reported having been tested for COVID-19 using a deep nasal or throat swab.
    • Among them, 2% indicated that they tested positive and 3% were still waiting for test results.

Chart - Proportion of Canadians who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic, by sociodemographic characteristics, Canada, September 2020

Data table 
Proportion of Canadians who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic, by sociodemographic characteristics, Canada, September 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of Canadians who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Male 13.2
Female 10.9
15 to 24 years 18.5
25 to 44 years 14.5
45 to 64 years 10.9
65 years and older 6.9
Grade 13 graduate or less or some postsecondary education 6.4
Trades, community college, CEGEP, or university certificate below bachelor's degree 12.6
Bachelor's degree (reference group) 15.2
Above bachelor's degree 11.6
Born in Canada 13.7
Landed immigrant 7.7
White 12.9
Visible minority 10.3

Optimism increases as vaccination begins

  • COVID-19 vaccination in Canada began the week of December 13, 2020.
  • As recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, vaccination was focused on priority groups including adults aged 80 years and older, health care workers, and adults living in senior care.
  • As of March 5, the proportion having received at least one dose of the vaccine among these groups was 18.96%, 52.80% and 85.29% respectively.

Source: Government of Canada; https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/vaccination-coverage/#a3

Despite optimism, fewer Canadians are very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine

  • Early in the pandemic, 58% of people were very likely to get a vaccine (July 2020)—this dropped to 48% in September 2020.
  • By contrast, 49% of Canadians were not very likelyNote to get a vaccine. Less likely to get a vaccine were
    • those aged 25 to 44 (56%)
    • those with a grade 13 education or less or some postsecondary education (64%)
    • Black Canadians (77%).

Chart - Proportion of Canadians not very likely to get a vaccine, Canada, September 2020

Data table 
Proportion of Canadians not very likely to get a vaccine, Canada, September 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of Canadians not very likely to get a vaccine Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
White only 51.0
South Asian only 51.7
Chinese only 50.9
Black only 76.7
Filipino only 58.2
Latin American only 66.4
Arab only 53.3
Southeast Asian only 55.9
Grade 13 graduate or less or some postsecondary education 63.6
Trades, community college, CEGEP, or university certificate below bachelor's degree 56.2
Bachelor's degree 37.4
Above bachelor's degree 37.0
15 to 24 years 51.0
25 to 44 years 56.2
45 to 64 years 48.4
65 years and older 46.0
Male 49.6
Female 53.6

Vaccination will be critical to protect essential health care workers, among whom visible minority groups are overrepresented

  • The proportion of immigrants employed as nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates rose from 22% to 36% between 1996 and 2016.
  • Before the pandemic, visible minorities were overrepresented in these occupations—34% of workers identified as visible minorities, compared with 21% in all other occupations.
  • This trend has continued during the pandemic—in January 2021, 20% of employed Filipino Canadians and 19% of employed Black Canadians worked in the health care and social assistance industry, compared with 14% of all workers.

Table 1
Percentage of workers employed in the health care and social assistance industry, by population groups designated as a visible minority, Canada, January 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of workers employed in the health care and social assistance industry Estimate (%) (appearing as column headers).
Estimate (%)
All workers 14.0
Visible minority
South Asian 12.7
Chinese 9.9
Black 19.3
Filipino 20.4
Arab 8.7Note E: Use with caution
Latin American 12.9Note E: Use with caution
Southeast Asian 13.3Note E: Use with caution
Not Indigenous or a visible minority 13.8

Fear of COVID-19 higher among those who cannot work from home

  • In January 2021, more than two-fifths of Canadians (43.3%) who were employed or wanted to work were concerned about contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.
    • This was down slightly (-1.8%) from November, when the question was first asked of the entire Labour Force Survey sample.
  • Concern remained highest among those with limited opportunities to work from home, including current and recent workers in
    • health care and social assistance (57.8%)
    • educational services (54.8%)
    • retail trade (49.9%), transportation and warehousing (47.0%), and accommodation and food services (46.5%) (not seasonally adjusted).

Chart - Percentage of people who were employed or wanted to work that were concerned about catching COVID-19 at work, by industry, Canada, January 2021

Data table 
Percentage of people who were employed or wanted to work that were concerned about catching COVID-19 at work, by industry, Canada, January 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of people who were employed or wanted to work that were concerned about catching COVID-19 at work Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
Agriculture 16.5
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas 30.1
Utilities 34.5
Construction 37.9
Manufacturing 43.1
Wholesale trade 39.6
Retail trade 49.9
Transportation and warehousing 47.0
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing 37.6
Professional, scientific and technical services 32.3
Business, building and other support services 39.3
Educational services 54.8
Health care and social assistance 57.8
Information, culture and recreation 38.9
Accommodation and food services 46.5
Other services (except public administration) 38.2
Public administration 41.3

Correctional services have reduced custodial populations during the pandemic

  • While balancing public safety concerns, correctional institutions have taken steps to lessen public health risks associated with COVID-19 by reducing the number of people held in custody.
  • Compared with February 2020, the average daily count of adults in federal, provincial and territorial custody was down 16% by April and 19% by June. Historically, monthly changes in counts are rarely more than 1%.
  • From February to June 2020, the average count of adults in federal custody declined by 5%, whereas counts were down by more than one-quarter (28%) for provincial and territorial custody.
  • As of February 17, 2021, there were 1,304 positive cases among inmates in federal correctional institutions. Of these cases, most had recovered (95%), while there were still some active cases (4%) and five deaths.

Chart - Total adult custodial population by year (2019 and 2020) and month (February to June)

Data table 
Total adult custodial population by year (2019 and 2020) and month (February to June)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total adult custodial population by year (2019 and 2020) and month (February to June) 2019 and 2020, calculated using average daily count units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2019 2020
average daily count
February 37,967 37,976
March 38,314 36,960
April 38,484 31,901
May 38,194 30,795
June 38,070 30,580

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Contributing to front line efforts to tackle COVID-19

A few weeks into the pandemic, Statistics Canada established a repository to help manage the nation’s Personal Protective Equipment inventories (PPE).

Our expertise in epidemiological modelling and demand forecasting quickly helped decision makers make informed choices regarding the needs and distribution for gloves, gowns, respirators and masks to ensure that all Canadians in all situations have access to enough PPE.

Statistics Canada is working with Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) to conduct a new study to identify how many Canadians have been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Statistics Canada is offering its interviewing expertise as an additional capacity to provinces and territories to do contact tracing. As of March 7th, 2021, we marked a milestone with our incredible interviewers having made an equivalent of 899,395 15-minute calls.

Indirect health impacts of COVID-19

Non-COVID-19-related deaths account for some of the excess mortalityNote

  • From January to November 2020, there were an estimated 259,836 deaths in Canada12,067 more deaths than would have been expected if there was no pandemic.
  • Early in the pandemic, deaths occurred mostly among the elderly, many living in long-term care facilities.
  • By midsummer, the trend shifted to higher mortality than expected among young males, particularly in British Columbia and Alberta.
    • From May to November, an excess of 1,691 deaths were reported among Canadians aged 0 to 44 years. Males accounted for 77% of these excess deaths and, overall, experienced a 25% higher-than-expected number of deaths over that period.
    • As of December 30, 2020, there have been 144 deaths among Canadians aged 0 to 49 because of COVID-19 (source: Government of Canada; https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html).

Chart - Provisional adjusted weekly number of deaths and expected number of deaths, people aged 0 to 44, Canada, March to November 2020

Data table 
Provisional adjusted weekly number of deaths and expected number of deaths, people aged 0 to 44, Canada, March to November 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Provisional adjusted weekly number of deaths and expected number of deaths. The information is grouped by Week (ending on the day indicated) (appearing as row headers), Adjusted number of deaths, Expected number of deaths, Lower 95% prediction interval of expected number of deaths and Upper 95% prediction interval of expected number of deaths, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Week (ending on the day indicated) Adjusted number of deaths Expected number of deaths Lower 95% prediction interval of expected number of deaths Upper 95% prediction interval of expected number of deaths
number
March 21 265 266 233 300
March 28 284 262 230 296
April 4 271 262 230 296
April 11 296 262 229 296
April 18 273 262 229 297
April 25 288 263 230 297
May 2 267 262 229 296
May 9 306 266 233 301
May 16 323 267 233 303
May 23 305 267 233 302
May 30 319 264 231 299
June 6 327 266 232 301
June 13 325 269 235 304
June 20 309 272 238 307
June 27 328 270 236 305
July 4 341 270 236 305
July 11 349 270 237 305
July 18 367 273 240 307
July 25 337 272 239 307
August 1 332 268 235 302
August 8 325 263 230 296
August 15 341 262 229 295
August 22 340 261 228 294
August 29 284 258 225 292
September 5 340 256 223 289
September 12 312 255 223 288
September 19 344 254 222 288
September 26 342 253 221 286
October 3 323 250 218 284
October 10 329 253 221 287
October 17 283 256 224 289
October 24 327 253 220 286
October 31 289 251 219 284
November 7 317 254 221 288

Disruptions to cancer screening may lead to increases in cancer rates and deaths

  • As part of the pandemic response, all elective and non-urgent surgeries and medical procedures were cancelled across Canada for a period of time, including cancer screening programs.
  • A cancer simulation model, OncoSim, shows a surge of projected cancer cases when screening resumes.
  • For colorectal cancers, a six-month suspension of primary screening could increase cancer incidence by 2,200 cases, with 960 more cancer deaths over the lifetime.
  • For breast cancer screening,
    • a three-month interruption could increase cases diagnosed at advanced stages (310 more) and cancer deaths (110 more) from 2020 to 2029
    • a six-month interruption could lead to 670 extra advanced cancers and 250 additional cancer deaths.

Chart - Estimated number of breast cancer cases (2020-2029) and  colorectal cancers cases (lifetime), stratified by cancer stages, resulting from a 3-, 6-, and 12-month interruptions

Data table 
Estimated number of breast cancer cases (2020-2029) and colorectal cancers cases (lifetime), stratified by cancer stages, resulting from a 3-, 6-, and 12-month interruptions
Table summary
This table displays the results of Estimated number of breast cancer cases (2020-2029) and colorectal cancers cases (lifetime) 3-mo interruption, 6-mo interruption and 12-mo interruption, calculated using number of cases units of measure (appearing as column headers).
3-mo interruption 6-mo interruption 12-mo interruption
number of cases
Additional breast cancer cases, 2020-2029
Stage IIIA 208.92 338.58 581.52
Stage IIIB/C 60.31 159.81 393.28
Stage IV 77.54 180.92 319.19
Additional colorectal cancer cases, lifetime
Stage I 127.29 290.33 509.16
Stage II 298.62 604.36 1194.49
Stage III 382.84 788.29 1531.35
Stage IV 302.94 582.82 1211.73

Mental health of Canadians improved as restrictions eased and schools reopened

  • In November, 62% of Canadians reported having excellent or very good mental health, up from 55% (July 2020) and close to pre-pandemic levels of 68% (2019).
    • Increases were observed across all age groups.
  • Self-reported mental health of youth aged 15 to 24 rebounded in the fall as restrictions eased, but fell again in November as tighter public health measures came into effect.
  • Those aged 25 to 34 continued to experience the greatest declines from pre-pandemic levels—58% (November 2020) compared with 63% (2019).

Chart - Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health before and during COVID-19 pandemic by age group, Canada, 2019, and March, July, September, October, and November 2020

Data table 
Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health before and during COVID-19 pandemic by age group, Canada, 2019, and March, July, September, October, and November 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health before and during COVID-19 pandemic by age group. The information is grouped by Age group (years) (appearing as row headers), CCHS (2019), CPSS 1 (Mar. 2020), CPSS 4 (July 2020), CCHS (Sept. 2020), CCHS (Oct. 2020) and CCHS (Nov. 2020) (appearing as column headers).
Age group (years) CCHS (2019) CPSS 1 (Mar. 2020) CPSS 4 (July 2020) CCHS (Sept. 2020) CCHS (Oct. 2020) CCHS (Nov. 2020)
15 to 24 59.3 41.5 39.9 59.4 62.7 52.6
25 to 34 63.3 47.1 45.8 56.2 58.4 58.2
35 to 44 65.8 46.4 50.4 63.3 63.4 59.3
45 to 54 68.3 49.8 58.2 64 64.1 62.7
55 to 64 70.2 61.9 61.6 66.6 69.4 63.8
65 and older 70.8 71.2 70.1 71.4 71.7 70.2

Worsening mental health among health care workers continues to be a concern

  • One-third (33%) reported very good or excellent mental health and one-third (33%) reported fair or poor mental health.
  • Seven in 10 health care workers who participated in a crowdsourcing initiative reported worsening mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Rates were higher among those in contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases (77%) compared with those who did not work in direct contact with people (62%).
  • Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) matters—those with unrestricted access to PPE were less likely to report worsening mental health compared with those experiencing at least one restriction (63% vs. 77%).

Chart - Mental health and stress outcomes, participating health care workers with and without restrictions in supply of personal protective equipment in month previous to crowdsourcing initiative, proportion (%), Canada

Data table 
Mental health and stress outcomes, participating health care workers with and without restrictions in supply of personal protective equipment in month previous to crowdsourcing initiative, proportion (%), Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Mental health and stress outcomes No restrictions and Restrictions (appearing as column headers).
No restrictions Restrictions
Excellent or very good mental health 39 27
Good mental health 34 33
Fair or poor mental health 27 40
Mental health worsened 63 77
Most days are quite a bit or
extremely stressful
49 63

Calls for police services increasingly linked to mental-health concerns

  • Compared with last year, the number of calls for service increased by 8% during the first eight months of the pandemic, particularly wellness checks (+13%), mental health-related calls such as a person in emotional crisis (+12%), and domestic disturbances (+8%).
  • Declines were reported in the number of shoplifting incidents (-47%); residential breaking and entering (-27%); motor vehicle theft (-18%); and assaults (-9%) and sexual assaults (-20%), including those by a family member.

Chart - Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2019 and 2020, number

Data table 
Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2019 and 2020, number
Table summary
This table displays the results of Selected police-reported crime and calls for service during the COVID-19 pandemic Total criminal incidents, 2019, Total criminal incidents, 2020, Total calls for service, 2019 and Total calls for service, 2020 (appearing as column headers).
Total criminal incidents, 2019 Total criminal incidents, 2020 Total calls for service, 2019 Total calls for service, 2020
March 70,200 64,447 22,874 24,214
April 70,632 53,587 22,592 23,857
May 75,838 56,103 24,314 26,236
June 76,265 62,862 24,801 26,754
July 79,949 69,952 25,653 28,008
August 80,617 66,977 25,200 27,742
September 77,356 63,973 23,514 25,342
October 76,771 62,894 22,752 25,622

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DID YOU KNOW?

Statistics expanded data products and insights, and producing more disaggregated data, to accurately monitor and report on the experiences of Canadians during the pandemic. The agency is making use of its robust consultation and engagement mechanism, as well as its strong relationships with stakeholders, to ensure all Canadians can see themselves in our data.

In May, Statistics Canada  introduced  a series of enhancements to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) that included additional questions on: working from home; job loss; capacity to meet financial obligations; and applications to federal COVID-19 assistance programs:

  • The May LFS release also included the first data on current labour market conditions for youth aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full-time in March and who intend on returning to school full-time in the fall.
  • As of July 2020, the LFS includes a question on visible minority status to report on how the pandemic is impacting various communities and groups in the labour market.
  • Statistics Canada is also developing methods that will produce disaggregated data on race using previously-released LFS data.

Uneven social and economic impacts of COVID-19

COVID-19 mortality rates reveal the uneven health impacts of the pandemic

  • Areas with the highest proportion (25% or more) of population groups designated as visible minorities had a COVID-19 mortality rate about two times higher than those with the lowest proportion (less than 1%).
  • The mortality rate was more than 3 times higher in the highest-proportion areas than the lowest-proportion ones in Quebec and Ontario and more than 10 times higher in British Columbia, despite a much lower overall mortality rate.
    • Quebec: 123 per 100,000 vs. 35.1 per 100,000
    • Ontario: 25.9 per 100,000 vs. 7.6 per 100,000
    • British Columbia: 5.6 per 100,000 vs. 0.5 per 100,000

Chart - Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates, by proportion of the neighbourhood population belonging ot population groups designated as visible minorities, by sex, Canada

Data table 
Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates, by proportion of the neighbourhood population belonging ot population groups designated as visible minorities, by sex, Canada
Table summary
This table displays the results of Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates Total, Men and Women, calculated using age-standardized mortality rate (per 100,000) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Total Men Women
age-standardized mortality rate (per 100,000)
Less than 1% 16.9 18.3 15.6
1% to less than 10% 12.7 14.7 11.1
10% to less than 25% 27.3 34.1 22.7
25% or more 34.5 41.0 29.7

In Montreal and Toronto, mortality rates are higher in areas with greater concentrations of Black Canadians

  • Differences were largely driven by the higher rate of deaths and concentration of visible minorities in Canada’s largest cities.
  • Between March and July 2020, Montréal and Toronto had the highest number of COVID‑19 deaths.
  • In Montréal, the mortality rate was 149.3 per 100,000 in areas with the highest proportion of Black Canadians, compared with 88.1 per 100,000 in areas with the lowest proportion.
  • In Toronto, there was a smaller difference between areas with a high vs. low proportion of South Asian Canadians (26.2 per 100,000 vs. 35 per 100,000).

Chart - Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates by proportion groups in the neighbourhood, Montréal and Toronto Census Metropolitan Areas

Data table 
Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates by proportion groups in the neighbourhood, Montréal and Toronto Census Metropolitan Areas
Table summary
This table displays the results of Age-standardized COVID-19 mortality rates by proportion groups in the neighbourhood Age-standardized mortality rate (per 100,000) (appearing as column headers).
Age-standardized mortality rate (per 100,000)
Montréal
Less than 1% Black 88.1
1% to less than 10% Black 105.0
10% to less than 25% Black 124.7
25% or more Black 149.3
Toronto
Less than 1% South Asian 26.2
1% to less than 10% South Asian 24.6
10% to less than 25% South Asian 29.5
25% or more South Asian 35.0

Indigenous groups are experiencing greater health impacts

  • From the beginning, Indigenous people have been at greater risk of COVID-19 because of higher rates of underlying health conditions.
  • By the summer, 57% of Indigenous people living with a chronic condition or disability who responded to a crowdsourcing survey said that their overall health was “much worse” or “somewhat worse” than before the pandemic.
    • Similarly, 64% reported that their mental health was “much worse” or “somewhat worse.”
  • Over half of participants reported a “moderate” or “major” impact on their ability to meet essential needs since the pandemic started, including food and grocery needs (54%) and PPE needs (52%), a critical factor in mitigating COVID-19 infection.

Chart - Changes in self-rated overall health and mental health since before the pandemic, by gender, for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with long-term conditions or disabilities, June 23 to July 6, 2020

Data table 
Changes in self-rated overall health and mental health since before the pandemic, by gender, for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with long-term conditions or disabilities, June 23 to July 6, 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Changes in self-rated overall health and mental health since before the pandemic Percentage reporting somewhat or much worse overall health , Percentage reporting somewhat or much worse mental health , All , Women and Men , calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Percentage reporting somewhat or much worse overall health Percentage reporting somewhat or much worse mental health
All Women Men All Women Men
percent
Indigenous 57 58 55 63 66 60
Non-Indigenous 47 50 44 56 59 54

Greater impacts on Indigenous people could widen pre-pandemic inequalities

  • Prior to the pandemic, the unemployment rate among Indigenous people was 1.8 times the rate among non-Indigenous people, reflecting long-lasting disparities in labour market conditions.
  • The initial impacts of the pandemic were similar for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people—unemployment increased by 6.6 and 6.2 percentage points respectively in the first three months.
  • By the end of 2020, unemployment remained higher among Indigenous people—12% and 11% among Indigenous men and women respectively, compared with 8% among non-Indigenous men and women.

Chart - Unemployment rate, by Indigenous identity and sex, three-month averages, population living off-reserve in the provinces, Canada, December 2018-November 2020, not adjusted for seasonality

Data table 
Unemployment rate, by Indigenous identity and sex, three-month averages, population living off-reserve in the provinces, Canada, December 2018-November 2020, not adjusted for seasonality
Table summary
This table displays the results of Unemployment rate Feb. 2019, May 2019, Aug. 2019, Nov. 2019, Feb. 2020, May 2020, Aug. 2020 and Nov. 2020, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Feb. 2019 May 2019 Aug. 2019 Nov. 2019 Feb. 2020 May 2020 Aug. 2020 Nov. 2020
percent
Indigenous men living off reserve 13 14 11 11 13 20 17 12
Non-Indigenous men 6 6 6 5 6 12 11 8
Indigenous women living off reserve 3 8 10 8 7 14 17 11
Non-Indigenous women 2 5 6 5 5 12 12 8

Greater financial impacts on visible minority groups could threaten an inclusive recovery

Visible minority groups continue to experience:

  • higher levels of unemployment
  • higher levels of financial difficulties
  • higher representation in low-wage jobs.

Table 2
Unemployment rate, by population groups designated as a visible minority, Canada, January 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Unemployment rate Estimate (%) (appearing as column headers).
Estimate (%)
Total - Visible minority 12.0
South Asian 9.6
Chinese 10.8
Black 16.4
Filipino 8.1Note E: Use with caution
Arab 13.1Note E: Use with caution
Latin American 16.6
Southeast Asian 20.1Note E: Use with caution
Not Indigenous or a visible minority 8.9

Chart - Percentage of people living in households that reported it was “difficult” or “very difficult” to meet basic household financial commitments in the last four weeks, and low-wage1 employees, by population groups designated as a visible minority, Canada, January 2021

Data table 
Percentage of people living in households that reported it was “difficult” or “very difficult” to meet basic household financial commitments in the last four weeks, and low-wageData table 15 Note 1 employees, by population groups designated as a visible minority, Canada, January 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of people living in households that reported it was “difficult” or “very difficult” to meet basic household financial commitments in the last four weeks Difficult or "very difficult" to meet basic household financial commitments and Low-wage employees (appearing as column headers).
Difficult or "very difficult" to meet basic household financial commitments Low-wageData table 15 Note 1 employees
Visible minority
South Asian 34.6 25.2
Chinese 21.4 15.0
Black 34.0 19.9
Filipino 36.3 23.5
Arab 37.5 19Note E: Use with caution
Latin American 43.2 19.6
Southeast Asian 34.6 26.0
Not Indigenous or a visible minority 16.3 12.9

Low-wage workers continue to be among those hit hardest by lockdowns

  • Low-wage workers were much more severely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns than by the 2008/2009 recession.

Chart - Average monthly layoff rates of employees, by wage decile, 2009 and 20201

Data table 
Average monthly layoff rates of employees, by wage decile, 2009 and 2020Data table 16 Note 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average monthly layoff rates of employees Bottom decile, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and Top decile (appearing as column headers).
Bottom decile 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th Top decile
2009 2.0 1.7 1.8 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.2 1.2 1.2 0.7
2020 6.8 6.3 4.1 3.7 2.9 2.2 2.0 1.8 1.5 1.0
  • By the end of 2020, paid employment at significant hours was, for those in the bottom wage decile, 39% lower than in December 2019.
  • By contrast, paid employment at significant hours was 16% higher in the top wage decile.

Chart - Percentage change, from 2019 to 2020, in the number of employees working at least half their usual hours, by 2019 wage decile

Data table 
Percentage change, from 2019 to 2020, in the number of employees working at least half their usual hours, by 2019 wage decile
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage change. The information is grouped by 2019 wage decile (appearing as row headers), April and December, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2019 wage decile April December
percent
Bottom -64.9 -36.8
2 -53.0 -9.0
3 -43.2 -6.9
4 -24.3 3.5
5 -33.9 -9.5
6 -25.5 -2.6
7 -16.1 -2.2
8 -9.4 1.8
9 -0.3 10.2
Top 13.4 16.9

Differences in the ability to work from home may contribute to higher earnings inequality

  • About 4 in 10 Canadian workers are in jobs that can plausibly be done from home.
  • Generally, households with lower levels of education and earnings are the least likely to hold jobs that can be done from home.
  • Sustained work interruptions because of lockdowns have disproportionate impacts on financially vulnerable families and low-wage workers, potentially leading to sharp increases in earnings inequality. This is particularly likely if temporary layoffs among low-wage workers become permanent job losses. 

Chart - Percentage of adults in jobs that can be done from home, by family earnings decile, dual-earner families, 2019

Data table 
Percentage of adults in jobs that can be done from home, by family earnings decile, dual-earner families, 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of adults in jobs that can be done from home. The information is grouped by Earnings decile (appearing as row headers), Husbands, Wives and Both, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Earnings decile Husbands Wives Both
percent
All 38.0 54.4 25.4
1st (lowest) 18.7 28.6 8.1
2nd 23.5 36.5 10.9
3rd 27.3 45.1 14.7
4th 28.3 49.9 16.3
5th 33.8 55.8 21.7
6th 38.0 57.1 24.6
7th 40.5 63.2 27.6
8th 50.7 65.9 36.9
9th 53.1 66.9 39.1
10th (highest) 66.1 74.8 53.9

Returns to employment are greater among professions with greater teleworking capacity

  • In January 2021, the number of Canadians working from home rose by nearly 700,000 to 5.4 million, surpassing the 5.1 million who worked from home during the initial lockdowns in April 2020.
    • Increases in educational services accounted for part of the increase in telework, as many schools transitioned to remote learning.
  • Telework capacity is over 80% in professional, scientific and technical services. Employment in this industry returned to pre-COVID-19 levels by September and, as of January 2021, was 4.9% above levels observed in February 2020. 
  • Telework capacity in accommodation and food services is about 5%. As of January 2021, employment was still down one-third from pre-pandemic levels, and the sector accounted for 45% of net employment losses since COVID-19 began.

Chart 19 - Telework capacity, by industry, 2019

Data table 
Telework capacity, by industry, 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Telework capacity. The information is grouped by Industry (appearing as row headers), Telework capacity, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Industry Telework capacity
percent
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 3.9
Accommodation, food services 5.6
Construction 11.1
Manufacturing 19.1
Retail trade 22.0
Mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction 23.9
Transportation, warehousing 24.5
Health care, social assistance 28.8
Other services (except public administration) 31.4
Administrative and support, waste management, remediation 35.1
Utilities 38.6
Arts, entertainment, recreation 40.1
Real estate, rental and leasing 47.8
Wholesale trade 57.3
Public administration 58.2
Information, cultural industries 68.5
Professional, scientific and technical services 83.9
Educational services 84.6
Finance, insurance 85.3

Young Canadians remain the most impacted by lockdowns

  • After seven months of gains, employment fell in December and January as public health restrictions tightened in many regions of the country. Total employment declined by 266,000 during this two-month period—over one-half of these employment losses (148,000) were among young Canadians.

Chart - Unemployment rate, 15- to 24-year-olds,  January, 2020 to 2021

Data table 
Unemployment rate, 15- to 24-year-olds, January, 2020 to 2021
Table summary
This table displays the results of Unemployment rate Percent (appearing as column headers).
Percent
2020
January 10.4
February 10.4
March 17.0
April 27.3
May 29.1
June 27.4
July 23.9
August 22.7
September 18.7
October 18.5
November 17.2
December 17.8
2021
January 19.7
  • As of January, 15- to 24-year-olds accounted for 45% of net employment losses since the onset of the pandemic (377,000 out of 858,000).

Chart - Full-time employment, expressed relative to pre-COVID-19 levels, 15 to 24 year-olds

Data table 
Full-time employment, expressed relative to pre-COVID-19 levels, 15 to 24 year-olds
Table summary
This table displays the results of Full-time employment February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December and January (appearing as column headers).
February March April May June July August September October November December January
All youth 100.0 93.1 76.2 77.6 82.9 78.3 80.7 88.8 86.7 89.9 91.8 92.2
Males 100.0 94.1 77.3 78.6 83.5 80.4 82.3 88.8 87.6 91.8 91.4 95.7
Females 100.0 91.8 74.7 76.3 82.0 75.2 78.4 88.7 85.3 87.1 92.3 87.4

Following historic highs in April, there was a decrease in the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET)

  • Among  postsecondary students who responded to Statistics Canada’s crowdsourcing exercise, 26% indicated that their education had been disrupted by the lockdowns.
  • Youth not attending school, plus a decrease in employment, contributed to historic highs in NEET rates, rising to 24% in April, the highest in 20 years.
  • NEET rates among 20- to 24-year-olds measured in September, October and November were up to 3.5 percentage points higher than in January 2020. However, by December, these rates were comparable to pre-pandemic levels.

Chart - NEET rates for 15- to 29-year-olds by age group and by month, Canada, 2020

Data table 
NEET rates for 15- to 29-year-olds by age group and by month, Canada, 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of NEET rates for 15- to 29-year-olds by age group and by month. The information is grouped by Age group (appearing as row headers), January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December , calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group January February March April September October November December
percent
All (15 to 29 years) 12 12 18 24 13 13 13 13
15 to 19 years 6 6 15 16 7 6 6 6
20 to 24 years 12 12 18 27 15 15 15 14
25 to 29 years 16 15 19 28 17 17 16 16

New registrations and certifications in skilled trades decreased in 2020

  • In 2019, new registrations in apprenticeship programs (-2.9%) and certifications in the trades (-3.9%) fell from 2018, continuing the multi-year downward trend first set in motion by the collapse of oil prices in 2014.
  • Preliminary results suggest that new registrations (-43.0%) and certifications (-48.7%) in the trades decreased by almost half in the first nine months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
  • Sustained declines in new registrations in apprenticeship programs and certifications in the trades may lead to increased pressure on an already aging skilled labour force.

Chart - Number of new registrations in apprenticeship programs and certifications in the trades,
2019 vs. preliminary 2020 data

Data table 
Number of new registrations in apprenticeship programs and certifications in the trades,
2019 vs. preliminary 2020 data

Table summary
This table displays the results of 2019 vs. preliminary 2020 data
New registrations (2019), New preliminary registrations (2020), Certificates granted (2019) and Preliminary certifications (2020), calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
New registrations (2019) New preliminary registrations (2020) Certificates granted (2019) Preliminary certifications (2020)
number
February 4,383 3,905 2,271 2,472
March 4,722 3,540 3,327 2,693
April 4,593 1,323 3,408 1,340
May 4,677 1,467 3,444 863
June 4,710 2,099 3,642 860
July 4,461 2,517 2,898 946
August 4,305 2,541 2,202 1,227
September 4,719 3,438 2,103 1,542

Postsecondary students are facing higher fees despite studying online

  • Nationally, students enrolled full time in undergraduate programs will pay $6,580 on average in 2020/2021, up 1.7% from the previous year. The average cost for graduate programs rose by 1.6% to $7,304.
  • Faced with fewer job prospects, over three-quarters of returning students (77%) who responded to Statistics Canada’s crowdsourcing survey were very or extremely concerned about their finances.
    • While the Canada Emergency Student Benefit reduced these concerns, almost one-half of returning students who participated in the survey were still worried about their ability to pay tuition. 
  • Average tuition fees for international undergraduate and graduate students in Canada rose 7.1% to $32,019 and 7.3% to $19,252, respectively, in 2020/2021.

Chart - Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study, 2020/2021 

Data table 
Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students, by field of study, 2020/2021 
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average undergraduate tuition fees for Canadian full-time students Current dollars (appearing as column headers).
Current dollars
Education 4,761
Humanities 5,602
Social and behavioural sciences, and legal studies 5,632
Nursing 5,688
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 5,718
Personal, protective and transportation services 5,726
Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies 5,865
Other health, parks, recreation and fitness 5,943
Physical and life sciences and technologies 6,156
Architecture 6,517
Business, management and public administration 6,887
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 6,895
Engineering 8,047
Pharmacy 11,133
Optometry 11,235
Law 12,813
Veterinary medicine 14,270
Medicine 14,483
Dentistry 22,562

Want to know more?


LEVERAGING KEY PARTNERSHIPS

Working with partners, Statistics Canada has adjusted its operations to deliver timely information to Canadians:

  • In collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and in less than 2 weeks, we delivered a new survey to take the pulse of businesses during COVID. This helps them and governments to make quick and informed decisions to support their operations and their employees
  • Adding Labour Force Survey (LFS) enhancements in May 2020, including questions on working from home, job loss, capacity to meet financial obligations, and applications to federal COVID-19 assistance programs.
  • Supported provinces, territories and some municipalities with our interviewing expertise to help contact tracing efforts  -- as of early March 2021, our interviewers have completed over 300,000 calls.
  • Working with Indigenous leaders and organizations to bolster data management capacity and expertise.
  • Partnering with City of Vancouver and Federation of Canadian Municipalities to further understanding of social and economic impact of pandemic, with the aim to further support other municipalities.
  • Co-hosting hackathons with Children First Canada  and other partners to address challenges and identify new and effective ways to use real-time data to empower decision-makers.

Economic impacts: Assessing the recovery

Economic activity remains below pre-pandemic levels

The historic declines in output, employment and hours worked that resulted from the economic shutdown in the spring of 2020 affected virtually all sectors of the economy.

As public health measures eased during the summer and early fall, overall economic activity remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Chart - Canada, percentage change in economic activity, selected expenditure components, fourth quarter 2019 to fourth quarter 2020

Data table 
Canada, percentage change in economic activity, selected expenditure components, fourth quarter 2019 to fourth quarter 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Canada. The information is grouped by Economic activity (appearing as row headers), Q4 2019 to Q4 2020, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Economic activity Q4 2019 to Q4 2020
percent
Household final consumption expenditure -4.8
Investment in housing 14.4
Non-residential business investment -13.1
Exports -7.1
Imports -6.0
Real gross domestic product at market prices -3.2

The pace of recovery slowed as tighter restrictions took effect in late 2020.

Economy-wide output in December remained 3.3% below pre-COVID levels.

At year end, 1.1 million workers were impacted by COVID-19 through employment losses or substantial reductions in hours worked.

Chart - Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020

Data table 
Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Cumulative percentage decline in output and employment since February 2020 Real gross domestic product and Employment, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Real gross domestic product Employment
percent
2020
March -7 -5
April -18 -16
May -14 -14
June -9 -9
July -6 -7
August -6 -6
September -5 -4
October -4 -3
November -3 -3
December -3 -3
2021
January Note ..: not available for a specific reference period -4

The number of active businesses has declined in most industrial sectors

While businesses that provide accommodation and food services remained severely impacted, the number of active businesses has declined substantially in most sectors, largely reflecting closures among small firms.

Chart - Real gross domestic product, expressed as a percentage of pre-COVID-19 levels, selected industries

Data table 
Real gross domestic product, expressed as a percentage of pre-COVID-19 levels, selected industries
Table summary
This table displays the results of Real gross domestic product April 2020 and November 2020, calculated using index (February 2020=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
April 2020 December 2020
index (February 2020=100)
All industries 82.2 96.7
Construction 76.3 96.9
Manufacturing 72.5 95.9
Retail trade 71.1 99.8
Accommodation services 30.4 54.6
Food services and drinking places 38.4 63.3
Air transportation 2.3 12.6

As of November, the number of active firms remained 4.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

Chart - Active businesses, business sector industries, Canada, February to November, 2020

Data table 
Active businesses, business sector industries, Canada, February to November, 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Active businesses Active businesses, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Active businesses
number
February 893,473
March 874,669
April 833,585
May 801,962
June 812,715
July 832,956
August 839,876
September 847,388
October 852,387
November 852,996

The economic impacts of the pandemic were not felt equally across the country

  • As of September 2020, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario showed the largest declines in economic activity.
    • Lower activity in Alberta reflected declines in energy prices.
    • Lower activity in Ontario reflected tighter restrictions on economic activity.
  • Manitoba, Yukon and Nunavut were among the least-affected economies.
  • The effects of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Quebec were less severe or these provinces began relaxing restrictions earlier.
  • Estimates of estimates of economic activity in October, showed that the pace of the recovery had slowed in most provinces and territories. Lower economic activity in Quebec in October reflected the earlier reintroduction of stronger public health restrictions.

Chart - Percent change in experimental indexes from September 2019  to September 2020 by index, and province or territory

Data table 
Percent change in experimental indexes from September 2019 to September 2020 by index, and province or territory
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percent change in experimental indexes from September 2019 to September 2020 by index Method 1: PCA-based index and Method 2: LASSO-based index, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Method 1: PCA-based index Method 2: LASSO-based index
percent
Alberta  -31.6 -13.8
Saskatchewan  -19.6 -0.5
Northwest Territories -11.7 Note .: not available for any reference period
Ontario  -10.6 -1.6
New Brunswick  -9.4 0.5
Nova Scotia  -7.7 0.7
Prince Edward Island  -5.6 1.8
British Columbia  -4.8 -0.3
Quebec  -3.5 1.5
Manitoba  2.2 2.9
Yukon 3.6 2.4
Newfoundland and Labrador  Note .: not available for any reference period -1.0
Nunavut Note .: not available for any reference period 5.4

Emergency response programs are mitigating the impact of the pandemic on businesses

Businesses across all industries are being supported by at least one emergency response program.

On average, businesses were receiving $83,000 in support.

Program usage, at over 50%, was highest in accommodation and food services.

After receiving the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, businesses in accommodation and food services were also the most likely to rehire workers.

Chart - Percentage of businesses using CEWS, CEBA or CECRA, by industry

Data table 
Percentage of businesses using CEWS, CEBA or CECRA, by industry
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of employers using CEWS, CEBA and CECRA, by industry. The information is grouped by Industry (appearing as row headers), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Industry Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
percent
Other services 28
Accommodation and food services 56
Arts, entertainment and recreation 21
Health care and social assistance 38
Educational services 29
Administrative and support 23
Management of companies 5
Professional, scientific and technical 20
Real estate and rental 7
Finance and insurance 7
Information and culture 18
Transportation and warehousing 24
Retail trade 39
Wholesale trade 37
Manufacturing 40
Construction 27
Utilities 4
Mining, oil and gas 22
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 16

With fall 2020's tighter restrictions on businesses, high levels of uncertainty exist

  • During the fall, almost 20% of businesses reported that they would be able to operate for less than six months at current revenue and expenditure levels, and 30% more were uncertain as to how long they could continue to operate.

Chart - Length of time businesses expect to be able to operate at current revenue and expenditure levels, fall 2020

Data table 
Length of time businesses expect to be able to operate at current revenue and expenditure levels, fall 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Length of time businesses expect to be able to operate at current revenue and expenditure levels. The information is grouped by Length of time (appearing as row headers), Operation at current revenue and expenditure levels, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Length of time Operation at current revenue and expenditure levels
percent
Less than 3 months 6.2
Less than 6 months 17.5
Unknown 30.4
  • Overall, over 40% of businesses reported that they could not take on additional debt.

Chart - Percentage of businesses reporting that they cannot take on more debt, Fall 2020

Data table 
Percentage of businesses reporting that they cannot take on more debt, Fall 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage of businesses reporting that they cannot take on more debt. The information is grouped by Businesses by employment size (appearing as row headers), Cannot take on more debt, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Businesses by employment size Cannot take on more debt
percent
All employment sizes 43.9
1 to 4 employees 47.2
5 to 19 employees 43.4
20 to 99 employees 34.3
100 or more employees 16.8

Emergency support programs continued to bolster household incomes and savings

  • New estimates of household economic well-being provided more insight into the extent to which emergency support measures benefited different groups of households.
  • The emergency support measures more than compensated for lost wages and salaries during the initial lockdowns, irrespective of household income levels.
    • Households in the bottom income quintile saw their disposable income rise by 33% in the second quarter, while incomes in the top quintile grew by 7%.
  • Over the first three quarters of 2020, the value of government COVID-19 support measures represented 16.4% of disposable income for the lowest-income earners, compared with 4.3% among the highest earners.

Chart - Change in average household disposable income by income quintile, first to third quarter 2020

Data table 
Change in average household disposable income by income quintile, first to third quarter 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Change in average household disposable income by income quintile First quarter 2020, Second quarter 2020 and Third quarter 2020, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
First quarter 2020 Second quarter 2020 Third quarter 2020
percent
Lowest income quintile -3.6 33.6 2.4
Second income quintile -1.2 23.9 -0.8
Third income quintile -0.8 17.0 2.2
Fourth income quintile -2.6 12.9 4.6
Highest income quintile -1.9 7.1 5.5

As employment recovers, losses continue to be uneven and unequal

  • After seven months of gains, employment fell by over 250,000 from November to January, reflecting losses in service industries most impacted by tighter restrictions.

Chart - Cumulative employment losses since February, by type of work

Data table 
Cumulative employment losses since February, by type of work
Table summary
This table displays the results of Cumulative employment losses since February Full-time work and Part-time work, calculated using thousands of people units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Full-time work Part-time work
thousands of people
2020
March -469 -527
April -1,949 -1,040
May -1,694 -992
June -1,196 -549
July -1,101 -226
August -929 -185
September -646 -96
October -588 -59
November -479 -114
December -436 -210
2021
January -423 -435
  • As of January 2021, young Canadians accounted for 44% of net employment losses since the onset of the pandemic.

Chart - Employment, expressed as a percentage of pre-COVID-19 levels, by age group and sex

Data table 
Employment, expressed as a percentage of pre-COVID-19 levels, by age group and sex
Table summary
This table displays the results of Employment. The information is grouped by Age group and sex (appearing as row headers), Indexed employment level during COVID-19 economic shutdown (April 2020) and Indexed employment level during current reference month (January 2021), calculated using index (February 2020=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group and sex Indexed employment level during COVID-19 economic shutdown (April 2020) Indexed employment level during current reference month (January 2021)
index (February 2020=100)
Youth, male 69 88
Youth, female 62 83
Core age, male 88 97
Core age, female 87 97
Older, male 88 98
Older, female 86 96

Workers in lower-paying service industries remain severely affected

  • As of December 2020, employment at significant hours was 4.7% lower overall than it was in December 2019.
  • In accommodation and food services, the employment gap over this one-year period was 30%.  
  • The corresponding gap was 39% in arts, entertainment and recreation.

Chart - Number of individuals employed and working at least half of their usual hours in 2020 relative to the same month in 2019

Data table 
Number of individuals employed and working at least half of their usual hours in 2020 relative to the same month in 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of individuals employed and working at least half of their usual hours in 2020 relative to the same month in 2019 All, Accommodation and food services, Arts, entertainment and recreation, Manufacturing, Professional, scientific and technical services and Finance and insurance, calculated using index (same month in 2019=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
All Accommodation and food services Arts, entertainment and recreation Manufacturing Professional, scientific and technical services Finance and insurance
index (same month in 2019=100)
February 102.5 100.0 103.9 102.4 101.1 106.6
March 81.7 52.6 42.6 93.0 93.2 101.8
April 71.5 31.5 30.9 73.1 89.3 106.6
May 75.9 37.5 37.2 80.9 87.6 105.3
June 84.8 58.2 52.4 91.0 89.4 106.9
July 90.7 71.1 63.3 94.0 95.5 108.7
August 92.3 79.8 70.0 95.8 97.2 105.5
September 94.2 81.3 77.4 98.6 98.1 110.4
October 95.9 79.2 74.2 99.5 100.2 105.8
November 96.0 75.3 68.1 100.6 101.3 106.5
December 95.3 70.5 60.9 99.8 103.3 105.8

The initial lockdowns led to a sharp rise in long-term unemployment

  • The number of long-term unemployed workers rose sharply in September and October as a result of the initial lockdowns.
  • As of January 2021, 512,000 workers were experiencing long-term unemployment, about 27% of all unemployed people. This proportion stood below 16% prior to COVID-19.
  • The degree to which COVID-19 results in permanent layoffs is crucial to understanding how the pandemic will affect Canadian workers over the longer term. During recent decades, at least one in five permanently laid-off workers saw their real earnings decline by at least 25%, even five years after job loss.
  • During the last three recessions, 45% of workers were permanently laid off.

Chart - Long-term unemployment

Data table 
Long-term unemployment
Table summary
This table displays the results of Long-term unemployment. The information is grouped by Months since beginning of downturn (appearing as row headers), 1981/1982 recession, 1990-to-1992 recession, 2008/2009 recession and COVID-19 economic downturn, calculated using index of unemployed people units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Months since beginning of downturn 1981/1982 recession 1990-to-1992 recession 2008/2009 recession COVID-19 economic downturn
index of unemployed peopleData table 37 Note 1
1 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
2 103.3 105.5 109.6 84.0
3 109.9 107.7 107.8 73.4
4 123.2 115.7 119.9 84.2
5 121.4 118.5 123.6 99.6
6 117.2 124.5 135.5 123.6
7 128.8 143.2 138.8 129.0
8 129.8 143.6 154.0 173.9
9 128.5 144.7 170.8 252.8
10 137.7 152.5 186.3 253.3
11 152.2 168.9 185.8 280.4
12 159.8 170.2 194.1 285.4
13 182.4 184.9 206.6 Note ...: not applicable
14 219.4 191.6 219.0 Note ...: not applicable
15 236.8 198.8 205.2 Note ...: not applicable
16 260.9 196.0 213.9 Note ...: not applicable
17 277.9 193.5 220.7 Note ...: not applicable
18 292.5 195.3 230.7 Note ...: not applicable
19 311.8 200.3 222.4 Note ...: not applicable
20 322.3 200.1 220.4 Note ...: not applicable
21 330.1 210.7 205.5 Note ...: not applicable
22 346.7 220.7 212.9 Note ...: not applicable
23 341.6 224.5 218.2 Note ...: not applicable
24 343.6 223.1 225.8 Note ...: not applicable
25 346.8 232.2 208.2 Note ...: not applicable
26 321.2 231.6 209.2 Note ...: not applicable
27 316.4 244.9 221.9 Note ...: not applicable
28 296.0 245.1 215.0 Note ...: not applicable
29 293.5 250.7 216.0 Note ...: not applicable
30 294.9 262.5 204.9 Note ...: not applicable
31 281.7 254.0 208.6 Note ...: not applicable
32 285.0 255.6 194.0 Note ...: not applicable
33 293.5 258.9 221.4 Note ...: not applicable
34 281.4 265.2 208.4 Note ...: not applicable
35 286.9 255.7 202.7 Note ...: not applicable
36 301.4 265.8 200.5 Note ...: not applicable
37 294.2 264.7 202.1 Note ...: not applicable
38 292.7 270.9 200.5 Note ...: not applicable
39 280.2 261.1 212.9 Note ...: not applicable
40 284.5 259.5 201.6 Note ...: not applicable
41 287.7 264.0 197.9 Note ...: not applicable
42 288.8 264.7 177.7 Note ...: not applicable
43 285.2 258.0 176.4 Note ...: not applicable
44 273.0 255.3 185.2 Note ...: not applicable
45 283.0 257.5 162.1 Note ...: not applicable
46 294.2 236.0 179.7 Note ...: not applicable
47 283.8 252.5 187.6 Note ...: not applicable
48 275.5 248.9 179.2 Note ...: not applicable
49 274.7 234.4 187.0 Note ...: not applicable
50 258.1 219.8 186.9 Note ...: not applicable

As restrictions ease, a rebound in immigration will be critical to labour-market recovery

  • Immigration accounts for much of the overall growth in Canada’s labour force. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of new immigrants admitted to Canada has been down about 60%.

Chart - Annual change in labour force

Data table 
Annual change in labour force
Table summary
This table displays the results of Annual change in labour force 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, calculated using thousands units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
thousands
Landed immigrants 157.3 258.1 87.0 182.0 260.0
Born in Canada 21.9 -118.5 90.3 -77.3 73.4
  • As immigration returns to planned levels, matching the skills of immigrants with regional labour demand will be a key component of supporting economic recovery.

Chart - Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada, by month, Canada, 2018 to 2020

Data table 
Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada, by month, Canada, 2018 to 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Number of new immigrants admitted to Canada. The information is grouped by Month (appearing as row headers), 2018, 2019 and 2020, calculated using number units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Month 2018 2019 2020
number
January 23,549 18,647 24,696
February 25,645 20,250 25,899
March 30,813 27,060 18,567
April 28,825 26,899 4,135
May 28,784 33,017 10,954
June 30,070 34,365 19,182
July 29,044 36,617 13,731
August 25,316 31,587 11,332
September 27,923 35,515 15,006
October 26,396 31,238 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
November 22,877 25,080 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period
December 21,807 20,917 Note ..: not available for a specific reference period

COVID-19 led to sharp fluctuations in business productivity

Labour productivity rose sharply during the initial lockdowns as a decline in hours worked outpaced the fall in business output. Productivity then fell sharply in the third quarter as both output and hours worked rebounded.

  • As restrictions eased, large increases in hours worked among small companies and the self-employed contributed to lower productivity, as these businesses are less productive than larger firms.
  • The pandemic may result in a significant amount of labour and capital being shifted between sectors, which will impact the growth and productivity of the economy as a whole.

Chart - Quarterly change in labour productivity

Data table 
Quarterly change in labour productivity
Table summary
This table displays the results of Quarterly change in labour productivity Q4 2019, Q1 2020, Q2 2020, Q3 2020 and Q4 2020, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q4 2020
percent
Labour productivity -0.1 5.5 12.3 -10.6 -2.0

Business productivity has increased as economic resources have been transferred across sectors

  • Overall, labour productivity growth was much higher over the first three quarters of 2020 compared with average productivity growth over the last decade.
  • This reflects both productivity gains within industries and large structural contributions to productivity growth as labour and capital are transferred across industries.
  • Productivity gains within industries in 2020 may reflect changes in business practices because of COVID-19, along with the increased adoption of digital technologies, which accelerated rapidly during the pandemic.
  • The structural contributions to overall productivity growth reflect resources being transferred out of service industries with below-average productivity.

Chart - Effect of structural changes on labour productivity growth

Data table 
Effect of structural changes on labour productivity growth
Table summary
This table displays the results of Effect of structural changes on labour productivity growth 2020 (first three quarters) and 2010 to 2019, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
2020 (first three quarters) 2010 to 2019
percent
Structural changes 1.90 0.19
Industry productivity growth 3.40 0.95
Aggregate labour productivity 5.30 1.14

Some sectors experienced substantial productivity gains in 2020

  • Productivity rose in industries that are digital and information and communications technology-intensive, such as wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance and real estate; and other services (including health and education).
  • For industries such as accommodation and food services, and arts, entertainment and recreation, rising productivity may largely reflect declines in hours worked among lower-paid workers who were hit harder by economic shutdowns.
  • As these lower-paid services have below-average productivity levels, a decline in their share of hours worked raises productivity for the economy as a whole.
  • A key issue: Which of these changes will be permanent and which will be transitory?

Chart - Industry contribution to aggregate labour productivity growth, 2020 (first three quarters)

Data table 
Industry contribution to aggregate labour productivity growth, 2020 (first three quarters)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Industry contribution to aggregate labour productivity growth. The information is grouped by Industry (appearing as row headers), 2020, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Industry 2020
percentage points
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 0.13
Mining and oil and gas extraction -0.17
Utilities 0.08
Construction 0.35
Manufacturing -0.07
Wholesale trade 0.26
Retail trade 0.79
Transportation and warehousing -0.12
Information and cultural industries 0.05
Finance, insurance and real estate 0.59
Professional, scientific and technical services -0.10
Administrative and support 0.14
Arts, entertainment and recreation 0.25
Accommodation and food services 0.98
Other business services 2.42

The accelerated shift toward digital assets may result in permanent productivity gains

From 2002 to 2019, before the pandemic, labour productivity grew 22.1% in digitally intensive industries, compared with 6.3% in non-digitally intensive industries.

Digitally-intensive industries have been far more resilient during COVID-19.

A digital recovery—the retail sector experienced a V-shaped recovery as real output, supported by sharp increases in online sales, rebounded to pre-pandemic levels by June 2020.

In the third quarter of 2020, real gross domestic product (GDP) in this sector was over 2% above levels observed in late 2019, while hours worked were down by almost 10%.

As a result, labour productivity in the retail sector rose by over 13%  since late last year, as businesses quickly pivoted to online platforms to help offset declines in brick-and-mortar sales.

Chart - Year-over-year growth in employment and gross domestic product from 2019

Data table 
Year-over-year growth in employment and gross domestic product from 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Year-over-year growth in employment and gross domestic product from 2019 January, February, March, April, May, June, July , August and September, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
January February March April May June July August September
percent
Digital employment 3.5 3.0 -1.1 -11.3 -9.7 -5.2 -2.2 -0.8 1.1
Non-digital employment 0.7 -5.9 -12.9 -30.2 -25.6 -16.9 -11.9 -9.6 -7.8
Digital output 2.2 2.6 -3.6 -11.8 -10.3 -4.3 -1.6 -0.8 -0.9
Non-digital output 1.8 2.5 -5.9 -18.1 -13.8 -9.3 -7.2 -6.5 -5.4

Impact of COVID-19 on automation

  • Skills and activities that are complementary to automation, including non-routine cognitive analytical and interpersonal tasks, have become increasingly important to the working lives of Canadians.
  • The more pronounced these skills are within the workforce, the less likely automation will lead to large-scale job transformation or job loss in the near term.
  • The risk of automation-related job transformation varies widely across occupations and educational backgrounds. More than one-third of office support workers were at a high risk of job transformation, while those in professional and technical occupations faced little to no risk.

Chart - Percentage change in employment shares of Canadian workers by occupational task group, 1987 to 2018

Data table 
Percentage change in employment shares of Canadian workers by occupational task group, 1987 to 2018
Table summary
This table displays the results of Percentage change in employment shares of Canadian workers by occupational task group. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Managerial, professional and technical occupations (non-routine, cognitive tasks), Service occupations (non-routine, manual tasks), Sales, clerical and administrative support occupations (routine, cognitive tasks) and Production, craft, repair and operative occupations (routine, manual tasks), calculated using percentage change relative to 1987 (1987=0) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Managerial, professional and technical occupations (non-routine, cognitive tasks) Service occupations (non-routine, manual tasks) Sales, clerical and administrative support occupations (routine, cognitive tasks) Production, craft, repair and operative occupations (routine, manual tasks)
percentage change relative to 1987 (1987=0)
1987 0 0 0 0
1988 2.36 -1.35 0.73 -1.68
1989 1.94 -0.47 0.04 -1.25
1990 6.02 -0.78 -0.26 -4.08
1991 7.91 1.15 -0.59 -6.50
1992 9.51 2.60 0.07 -9.33
1993 12.21 2.76 -1.57 -10.04
1994 15.24 1.77 -2.78 -10.74
1995 16.50 0.99 -4.54 -9.67
1996 14.44 4.01 -5.38 -9.16
1997 18.98 1.04 -6.40 -9.94
1998 16.88 1.35 -4.83 -9.90
1999 18.77 2.24 -5.34 -11.52
2000 18.01 2.45 -3.88 -12.39
2001 15.45 4.37 -1.65 -13.64
2002 16.88 4.69 -4.02 -12.80
2003 15.03 6.87 -2.93 -13.71
2004 15.78 7.65 -3.84 -14.01
2005 19.61 6.25 -4.83 -15.22
2006 19.91 8.59 -6.29 -15.66
2007 21.63 10.62 -5.05 -19.54
2008 22.81 9.73 -5.23 -19.70
2009 23.91 13.22 -5.60 -22.50
2010 25.46 14.06 -5.96 -23.95
2011 23.82 14.16 -6.62 -22.09
2012 25.76 14.68 -7.50 -23.17
2013 25.08 15.36 -7.90 -22.70
2014 25.46 15.30 -7.14 -23.71
2015 30.13 14.21 -9.62 -24.42
2016 31.02 13.74 -8.93 -25.50
2017 31.69 13.27 -8.49 -26.10
2018 31.40 13.22 -9.07 -25.29
  • A key issue: To what extent will the adoption of new business technologies affect workers?

Investing in robots and firm employment

  • Research at Statistics Canada has found that investments in robotics have not been accompanied by mass layoffs—on the contrary, firms that invest in robots tend to be more productive and hire more workers.
  • But robot-driven automation does affect the type of workers that businesses require, leading to increases in non-managerial employees and declines in the number of middle managers.

Chart - Change in employees (indexed to firm's first year in sample)

Data table 
Change in employees (indexed to firm's first year in sample)
Table summary
This table displays the results of Change in employees (indexed to firm's first year in sample). The information is grouped by Years before and after robot adoption (appearing as row headers), Change in employees (index) (appearing as column headers).
Years before and after robot adoption Change in employees (index)
-5 1.08
-4 1.06
-3 1.07
-2 1.07
-1 1.06
0 1.17
1 1.22
2 1.21
3 1.23
4 1.21
5 1.21

Capital plans in many industries were severely impacted by COVID-19, creating uncertainty around the key drivers of business investment

  • Private sector capital intentions point to 5.6% increase in capital spending in 2021. However, planned private outlays are still down about 12% from spending levels prior to the pandemic.
  • Major energy companies substantially revised their capital plans during the pandemic. 2021 capital intentions in mining and oil and gas extraction, at $32.9 billion, remain over 28% below pre-pandemic levels, while anticipated outlays in manufacturing, at $20.2 billion, are about 14% below.
  • Planned capital spending in accommodation and food services, down 30% during 2020, is expected to fall an additional 27% in 2021 to just over one-half of pre-pandemic levels.
  •  A key issue: To what extent can new investment opportunities support a recovery in capital spending?

Chart - 
Non-residential capital expenditures on tangible assets, current dollars

Data table 
Non-residential capital expenditures on tangible assets, current dollars
Table summary
This table displays the results of Non-residential capital expenditures on tangible assets Total , Private and Public, calculated using index (2007 = 100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Total Private Public
index (2007 = 100)
2007 100.0 100.0 100.0
2008 106.4 102.0 119.2
2009 91.6 80.5 124.1
2010 103.9 91.7 139.4
2011 112.0 103.8 135.8
2012 118.7 111.8 138.9
2013 121.9 117.3 135.4
2014 129.6 127.2 136.6
2015 119.7 110.9 145.5
2016 109.5 98.4 141.8
2017 114.3 99.8 156.3
2018 125.4 110.1 170.1
2019 130.4 116.1 172.1
2020 118.4 96.7 182.0
2021 126.8 102.0 198.9

Investment in non-residential buildings declines while investment in housing is strengthened

While investment in residential construction has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, investment in non-residential construction has declined.

As of December 2020, total residential outlays, at $11.1 billion, were 8.1% above pre-pandemic levels. Spending on single-unit dwellings was up almost 14%.

New home prices rose 4.6% in 2020, as buyer preferences shifted toward larger single-family dwellings.

The surge in housing demand was supported by steady declines in mortgage interest costs, as borrowing rebounded following the lockdowns.

As of December 2020, total investment in non-residential buildings was 13% below pre-pandemic levels.

Spending on commercial buildings was down 17% from levels observed in February 2020, while spending on industrial buildings was down 11%.

Chart - Investment in residential and non-residential building construction, 2020

Data table 
Investment in residential and non-residential building construction, 2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Investment in residential and non-residential building construction. The information is grouped by Month (appearing as row headers), Residential and Non-residential, calculated using index (February 2020=100) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Month Residential Non-residential
index (February 2020=100)
January 98.3 98.8
February 100.0 100.0
March 98.1 95.7
April 50.8 58.5
May 82.3 96.4
June 93.1 106.9
July 97.0 102.4
August 103.1 97.8
September 105.0 89.8
October 106.2 87.2
November 106.1 87.1
December 108.1 87.4

Growth in environmental and clean technology products accelerated before the pandemic

  • In 2019, the ECTP sector grew at nearly twice the pace of the economy as a whole and accounted for 3% of Canada’s GDP.

Chart - Real growth in environmental and clean technology products

Data table 
Real growth in environmental and clean technology products
Table summary
This table displays the results of Real growth in environmental and clean technology products Canada GDP growth and ECTP growth, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Canada GDP growth ECTP growth
percent
2013 2.3 5.9
2014 2.9 4.5
2015 0.7 5.5
2016 1.0 2.0
2017 3.0 -0.4
2018 2.4 1.5
2019 1.9 3.5
  • Environmental and clean technology activity accounted for 341,000 jobs in 2019, about 1.8% of all jobs in Canada.

Chart - Environmental and Clean Technology Products employment by industry, 2019

Data table 
Environmental and Clean Technology Products employment by industry, 2019
Table summary
This table displays the results of Environmental and Clean Technology Products employment by industry Utilities, Engineering construction, Manufacturing, Professional, scientific and technical services, Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services and Other industries, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Utilities Engineering construction Manufacturing Professional, scientific and technical services Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services Other industries
percent
2019 22.0 18.9 11.8 15.3 14.5 17.6
  • A key issue: Going forward, will investment in new ECTPs provide reasonable stimulus for job and income growth?

Want to know more?


THE PATH FORWARD – WHAT WILL DRIVE CANADA'S RECOVERY?

Several themes are likely to influence Canada's recovery from the pandemic.

  • Overcoming vaccine hesitance and finding ways to measure how close we are to herd immunity.
  • Determining where and what support is needed based on the rich, disaggregated data provided by the 2021 Census of Population, and continued enhancements to other surveys such as the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
  • Understanding the impact on Canada and Canadians of COVID-19 – StatCan has published nearly 100 papers and articles on this since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Prioritizing the development of user-centric analysis tools to support those actively monitoring the pandemic’s impact.
  • Expanding our understanding of varying socio-economic impact through such tools as the geospatial explorer.

STATISTICS CANADA – AREAS OF FOCUS

Governments, businesses, media and the general population will rely on Statistics Canada’s ongoing portrait of the recovery.

  • Promoting and encouraging completion of 2021 Census of Population and Census of Agriculture.
  • Continuing to pursue and strengthen partnerships and new resources.
  • Leveraging data assets to ensure optimal use and value while maintaining public trust.
  • Monitoring and measuring continued concerns over mental and physical health.
  • Ensuring openness and transparency while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
  • Strengthening our position as Canada’s authoritative and independent source of data and insights.
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