June 2021

Spotlight on data and research

Differences in the economic impacts of COVID-19 across the provinces and territories

Economic activity remained resilient during late 2020 and early 2021 as households and businesses continued to adjust to changes in the intensity of COVID-19 containment measures. While all provinces experienced severe declines in economic output during 2020, the magnitude of these losses varied substantially across the country. They largely reflect province-specific factors, beyond the severe disruptions that lockdown measures have had on accommodation and food services, retail trade, and passenger transportation in all areas of the country. Using the latest available labour and sales data, this Spotlight article highlights how COVID-19 has affected economic activity in different provinces and territories.

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Insights

Use of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program by employer businesses in 2020

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was announced by the Government of Canada to help Canadian businesses avoid or reduce layoffs and terminations during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This article, which studied how the CEWS was used by Canadian employers in 2020, found that 36% of active employer businesses received support from the CEWS during the period of April to October 2020.  Across industries, the use was highest in accommodation and food service, arts, entertainment and recreation, and manufacturing and lowest in utilities, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and finance and insurance. The CEWS use also differed by business size. It was highest among business with 10 to 49 employees and lowest among business with fewer than 10 employees. In general, businesses in industries and firm size categories that faced the steepest declines in employment tended to have higher usage rates for CEWS.

 

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Job security in the age of artificial intelligence and potential pandemics

Some jobs are more protected than others from advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, and from future pandemics. Those that have no predetermined end date, face a low risk of automation, and are resilient to pandemics because they can be done from home, involve sufficient physical distancing, or are deemed essential by authorities are considered to be “triple protected”.

Overall, two in five employees (or 40.7%) aged 18 to 64 held a triple-protected job in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional 44.7% held a job with two layers of job security (a double-protected job). Only 1.3% of employees held a job with no protection, as defined in this study.

Dual-earner couples in the top ten percent of the earnings distribution were about 20 times more likely to have both partners hold triple-protected jobs than dual-earner couples in the bottom ten percent (77.0% vs 3.5%). Similarly, dual-earner couples where both spouses held a postsecondary degree were seven times more likely to have both partners hold triple-protected jobs than dual-earner couples where both spouses had no postsecondary credential at all (55.7% vs 7.9%).

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International students as a source of labour supply: Transition to permanent residency

Increasingly, international students are seen as a promising pool of skilled individuals to be tapped for participation in Canadian labour market. This study documents the share of international students who became landed immigrants across various socio-demographic characteristics.

Three in ten international students who entered Canada in 2000 or later became a landed immigrant within ten years. The transition rate generally increased with the intended level of study. Five in ten master’s students and six in ten doctoral students became permanent residents within ten years since receiving their first study permit, compared with one-third among bachelor’s degree students.

Many international students had Canadian work experiences either by holding a job while studying, or by finding employment post-graduation. Over 60% of international students who had work experience in Canada became landed immigrants within ten years after receiving their first study permit, compared with about 15% among those who never worked in Canada.

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International students as a source of labour supply: Retention in their province of study

The retention of international students in their provinces of study upon graduation is often viewed as an important way to promote population and economic growth for regions with a declining labour force. Using data from the Post-secondary Student Information System and T1 Family File linkage, the findings of this study show that 47% of international students who graduated from Canadian public post-secondary educational institutions between 2010 and 2016 remained in the province of study one year after graduation. In contrast, 81% of those with Canadian citizenship remained. Five years after graduation, the retention rate was 36% for international graduates compared with 76% of those with Canadian citizenship.

Retention one year after graduation was highest in the Prairie provinces, with 60% of international students remaining in Alberta, followed by 59% in Manitoba and 55% in Saskatchewan. The retention rate ranged from 24% to 28% in the four Atlantic provinces. Ontario (50%) and British Columbia (49%) had rates that were close to the national average, while that for Quebec (40%) was lower than the national average.

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Research articles

Leveraging postsecondary student employment into a career: The importance of remaining in the firm after graduation

Can a student job be leveraged into a career? The findings of this study show that graduates who retained their student job earned $4,918 (men) and $2,471 (women) more, two years after graduation, than graduates who did not retain their student job, and $10,317 (men) and $7,873 (women) more than those who did not have a student job. Graduates who retained their student job were also more likely to have an employer-sponsored pension plan and to pay union dues than graduates who did not retain their student job or who did not have a student job.

The study, based on enrolment and graduation data from the Postsecondary Student Information System, employer data from the Longitudinal Worker File, and family income data from the T1 Family File, accounted for differences in detailed socioeconomic characteristics (parental income quintile, field of study, and postsecondary institution fixed effects) and post-graduation job characteristics (industry and firm size).

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