Background Information Regarding Covid-19 in Canada

By the end of April 2020, about 50,000 people had contracted the virus, and more than 3000 of them had succumbed to it in Canada (Beland et al., 2020). It resulted in a trade-off between health and employment. Most people chose to quit jobs, others were laid off, and a few others were lucky to work from home. The pandemic had negative economic consequences among the Canadians because containment strategies such as total lockdown, social distancing, and movement restrictions have negative implications on the Canadian economy due to mass loss of jobs and other sources of income (Lemieux et al. 2020). Companies decided to automate their business operations and production process to avoid keeping many people in the offices, warehouses, and factories because this could increase the risk of Covid-19. Such automation of jobs led to the reallocation of duties in most companies, making about 586 000 people lose jobs permanently (Blit, 2020). Generally, about 3,000 000 had lost their jobs, which increased the unemployment rate to 13% by the end of April and 14% by May (see Figure 1), making about 6.7 million people apply for government aid and unemployment benefits (French Press Agency, 2020). Such an economic recession was last witnessed in 1982 when the unemployment rate was 13.1%. According to Statistics Canada, the industries that experienced mass job loss include; accommodation and food services (188, 100), warehouse and transport (82,400), retail trade (145,700), construction (120, 300), information, support services (58, 600), culture and recreation (44,600), and other sectors of the labour market as shown on Figure 2 (Evans, 2020).

Figure 1: Covid-19 Induced Unemployment

Image Source: Evans, 2020

Figure 2: Covid-19 Induced Job Loss per Industry

Image Source: Evans, 2020

Economic hardships due to loss of jobs increased mental health incidence among Canadian adults even though the country has attempted to salvage the economy by replacing 55% of the jobs lost during the pandemic. According to Zajacova et al. (2020), the pandemic leads to increased mental health issues from 46% to about 52% between March and May because people were worried about food security and job security. Another survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (2020) indicated that the incidence of suicide had increased from 2.5% in 2019 to 6% in 2019. Also, minorities and other vulnerable populations such as previously mentally ill individuals (18%), indigenous people (16%), LGBTQ (14%), disabled (15%), and parents with children aged between 0 to 18 years (9%) were significantly affected by the pandemic.


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Evans, P. (2020). Canada added 378,000 in September, even more than August. CBC Canada


French Press Agency (2020, May 8). 3 M people lose jobs in Canada in 2 months due to Cpovid-

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Mental Health and Economic Concerns from March to May during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada.