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July 12, 2022

Canada’s Youth Face Career “Scarring,” Learning Losses Post-Pandemic

  • Canada’s youth face career scarring and learning losses post-pandemic, according to a new report released by the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Lives Put on Hold: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Canada’s Youth,” authors Parisa Mahboubi and Amira Higazy find that youth were disproportionally affected by work and education disruptions, which if left unaddressed, could have major life-long effects on young workers’ employment, productivity, future wages and life-time income.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic pushed unemployment rates to a record high for youth, although they have since recovered in many sectors. Still, a major concern is the potential for serious and long-lasting negative career impacts, known as “scarring”. Evidence from past recessions shows that new labour-market entrants and early career workers face an increased incidence of unemployment in the future and employment in lower quality, lower paying jobs.
  • Prospects for young Canadians have been worsened by educational disruptions that affected learning, including school closures, inconsistent learning settings, low attendance rates and classroom engagement, and a lack of preparedness for emergency remote digital learning. These learning losses are expected to be particularly significant for low-income and disadvantaged youth with inequitable access to technologies and resources needed for distanced learning.
Parisa Mahboubi

Parisa Mahboubi is a Senior Policy Analyst and leads the C.D. Howe Institute's human capital policy program. Her research interest focuses on social policy with a concentration on demographic, skills, education, and labour market concerns. In addition to authoring research studies, she regularly writes a column for the Globe and Mail’s business section.

Amira Higazy

Amira is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations and a former IMCO intern at the C.D. Howe Institute.