April 9th, 2020

It’s time for Ontario to provide support for businesses as COVID-19 spikes job losses: NDP

QUEEN’S PARK — Catherine Fife, NDP critic for Economic Growth and Jobs Creation, said stark new jobs numbers in Ontario show businesses and people need more help to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statistics Canada figures released today offer a first glimpse of the economic damage caused by the crisis, with Ontario leading the country in job losses. More than 400,000 people in Ontario were handed pink slips in March, pushing the unemployment rate up to 7.6 per cent.

“COVID-19 has left hundreds of thousands of people out of work, worrying about how they’ll keep up with their bills, and has left small and medium-sized businesses counting down the days they can keep going,” said Fife. “We can insulate people and families and small and medium-sized businesses from financial crisis better than we’re doing right now.”

The Statistics Canada figures also show how widespread an impact COVID-19 is having, with jobs down in almost every sector and region in Ontario, including in the health sector.

“It is troubling to see that, as the COVID-19 crisis was ramping up, Ontario appears to have lost jobs in the health sector, at least at the time of the survey,” said Fife, “and that’s something the government needs to explain.”

Anything that happened after the labour force survey, March 15 to 21, won’t show up in the numbers until next month’s release.

“We need to act today so we can get through this together and recover fully and quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed,” said Fife. “The NDP continues to call on the provincial government to provide more direct support — like rent subsidies and remote work set-up funding — so businesses can stay afloat and keep people on their payroll.”