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Hitting Home: Hours and Wages Lost to COVID-19 by Location, Age, Income and Education

The economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have begun to take hold. The need to socially distance to slow the spread of infections has resulted in many office closures, work stoppages and supply-chain disruptions.

This edition of Graphic Intelligence examines recent poll data on the effect the current crisis is having on household income and hours worked.

Across the country, about 44 percent of households have experienced lost hours or layoffs due to COVID-19, with only one-fifth of the affected workers in those households fully compensated by their employer, and two-thirds receiving no coverage or compensation. Workers in Alberta appear to be the worst affected so far – half of households reported members had lost hours or were laid off, with only 12 percent of them fully compensated by their employer. Younger workers reported being more affected than older workers, with  56 percent of workers aged 18 to 34 have lost hours or been laid off, compared to 35 percent of workers over 55 years of age.

The federal government has offered financial supports for those affected through the Employment Insurance program, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and a 75 percent wage subsidy for businesses to keep their workers on payroll. While the CERB will provide financial support for those who fully lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wage subsidy will help reduce further lost hours and layoffs.