COVID-19: The Effects on the Job Economy

Azzaya Khan / April 10 2020

Due to COVID-19, employees have been laid off and trying to find other jobs for financial security.


Canadians are being laid off because businesses are shutting down. They are closing to prevent the spread, but that’s not why they are laying people off. They are loosing business being closed, so they have to lay people off.

Employment agencies are also running low on clientele, causing applications to pile up with limited employment available.

Both the federal and provincial government have rolled out new forms of financial support to help Canadians adapt to the new environment of the job economy.

Dealing with being laid off

The application process for EI has been slowed down to a high volume of calls and online submissions. While in the waiting process finances continue to dissolve for those who haven’t received their approval from their applications.

Kayleigh Ley, and Braedon Lowey are both part-time workers who have been laid off from their jobs, and have applied for EI.

Kayleigh Ley is currently in the waiting process for EI, and she’s worried on when she’ll receive the financial help she needs for essentials.

(Twitter / @kayleigh_ley)

Ley works three jobs, and is only getting compensation from one of her three employers. She lives at home with her parents, but her mom has been laid off work, and her dad is now working limited hours, as they haven’t received any financial support yet.

I’m trying to wait on EI, but if I need to work I’m just looking at grocery stores to see if there is any extra help they may need. And in a months time I might have no choice, but to look for work.” Kayleigh Ley

Ley’s father is a bus driver, and has experienced a significant loss of hours worked per day, and he is still waiting to receive an update on his EI application status as well.

Bradeon, lives on his own and due to lack of work. The reality of bills piling up has caused more worry.
(Facebook / @Braedon Lowey)

Lowey also works three jobs and isn’t getting compensated from any of his employers. He lives with roommates and has to pay for his own necessities on top of his rent.

“Right now I have enough savings to get me through to May, but the more closer I get to May the more I start to worry a bit more about my personal financial situation.” – Braedon Lowey

Braedon is relying heavily on his EI application as his next form of income. While being laid off three jobs he hasn’t been able to find any job openings.

How employers are adapting

Sarah Braik works for ABL employment agencies, and dealing with the pandemic has hurt their business as well as people trying to find employment.

For Sarah being the bearer of bad news has been tough on her, and all she has been doing is referring job seekers to any financial resources.

“It’s a day by day process, I’ve had clients blame me personally for how the job economy is. But right now we are just trying to role out some new ways to help people find jobs.” – Sarah Braik, Employment Agent

ABL employment has adjusted to these new conditions by creating a virtual connection for clients to assist them from home.

Even though this is progress, for Braik it’s still not enough. She said over her career this is the worst job economy she has experienced. 

In the meantime ABL employment will look to employ people for essential jobs like truck drivers, or warehouse services, and support for necessary supply chains.

Federal and Provincial Financial Aid

Both the federal and provincial government have provided multiple forms of  financial resources, but proof of an EI application is required before Canadians apply for other forms of financial aid.

These resources are accessible online and over the phone, but due to a high volume of applications, the application process has been slowed down causing some Canadians to worry about their future finances.

Federal Financial Aid

Emergency Care Benefits: 

The Emergency Care Benefit plan is a package benefit plan that offers families and individuals a goods and service tax credit of up to $400 per individual and $600 for families. This also includes an extension to file tax returns, which is now June 1st.  For more details about this benefit and the requirements click here.

Increase to Child Benefit Plan: 

This plan allows families who are currently receiving child benefit payments to receive an extra $300 per child.

Mortgage Payment Deferral: 

Working with the major banks of Canada, this plan allows mortgage payments to be deferred. The request to defer mortgage payments is directed to the financial institutions rather than the federal government.

Employment Insurance: 

Originally this plan addresses those who have lost jobs due to specific causes employees can’t control, mass lay offs or shortage of work. Due to COVID-19, this plan has fewer requirements, allowing the application process to be easier for Canadians.

Provincial Financial Aid

Climate Action Tax Credit:

The provincial government is increasing the climate action tax credit to $248.This is an increase from the original payment of $174.50.

$500 Rent Relief:

This plan is a $500 rebate to help people pay for portions of their rent. This also includes a temporary ban on evictions and rent increases.

BC Emergency Benefit for Workers: 

This plan offers a one time payment of $1000 to anyone who has lost their job due to the novel coronavirus. Unlike federal EI, this doesn’t include aid for those who have limited work hours.

Income Assistance: 

Similar to EI, this plan offers a fixed assistance rate based on your expenses and income status. The amount of the payment will also be determined by an individuals EI status.

According to the federal EI application page, the average wait time to receive EI approval is up to 28 days, but due to the high volume of applications the process continues to be slowed down. And for Canadians to apply for other forms of federal or provincial financial aid, proof of EI payment is required.

So far both Ley and Lowey are still waiting to receive an update on their application, as the fear of depreciating savings continues to be a point of concern.