Op-Eds

It all seems so straightforward and evident: why not cover vulnerable “gig” workers, an often-marginalized group in the economy, who were hit so hard by the pandemic, under EI? In June, a parliamentary committee recommended that Employment and Social Development Canada conduct consultations on ways to provide self-employed persons, including those in the gig economy, with access to regular Employment Insurance benefits. ESDC has responded and formal consultations along these lines are forthcoming. They need to include a sober, detailed analysis of the problems involved.

The first item on the agenda ought to be a clear and agreed definition of gig work, which is critical to insuring potential income losses. A recent survey by the…

New Brunswick hospitals are on "red alert," reducing or suspending services to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients as the fourth wave continues. There are 57 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 18 in intensive care, at the time of writing – a number that will continue to fluctuate in the days and weeks to come.

New Brunswickers might reasonably ask if the hospital system is truly threatened by fewer than 20 critical cases after 18 months of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, the province-wide red alert shows that it is.

Why and how is this possible? To this, there is no simple answer.

In less than a month, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has nearly doubled, and the number in ICU has increased…

All COVID-related economic recovery measures in Canada are set to end soon. Employers who have been having trouble filling vacancies are hoping this will spur a flood of people back into the work force, but unfortunately for business owners, the situation isn’t quite that simple.

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to ensure that a broad range of Canadians affected by the pandemic stayed afloat. Government supports like this and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (which is scheduled to run until Oct. 23, 2021) sustained many people and businesses.

But the economy is in a different place now. The number of unemployed people was 1.4 million in…

A key to economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic will be targeted measures to address the possible long-term effects of this crisis on the labour market.

Bouncing back to employment from lockdown layoffs is becoming more challenging for many unemployed people as there is no job to return to, at least in the short term, or they lack sufficient or relevant skills to find employment. This has led to exceptionally high long-term unemployment rates that will need to be mitigated with labour market and skills development strategies.

Long-term unemployment (the number of unemployed people for six months or more) increased by 207 per cent to 462,100 Canadians between March, 2020, and February, 2021. This has boosted the…

Along with much of the world, Canada’s economy has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic and other events in 2020, notably the shock to global oil markets. How badly? An examination of the immediate data and longer trends indicates significant damage, with a lengthy recovery period ahead.

Let’s start with labour markets, where there are signs of recovery but also growing evidence of damage. The unemployment rate exploded to nearly 14 per cent from 6 per cent during the shutdown from March to May. The rate has dropped steadily since as many displaced workers have been re-engaged, but the second pandemic wave and renewed shutdowns in many provinces have meant more job losses. Employment fell by 63,000 in December, and the…