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Workers in Montreal. Photo credit William Topa

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, it has become well-understood that the economic consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns have been harsher for lower-wage workers. While higher-wage workers are more likely to be unaffected by the pandemic, as they are able to work remotely, hundreds of thousands of service sector workers have lost work. ICTC’s recent report, The Digital-Led New Normal: Revised Labour Market Outlook for 2022, documents the disparate impacts on employment across three evenly sized groupings of workers by wages.

From the report, Figure 1 shows employment in February, March, April, and May 2020 for all Canadian workers. Workers are split into three groups, according to weekly wage: the lowest earners, average earners, and highest earners. The figures are then split again by gender. Figure 1 reveals that since February, including the modest recovery in May, employment of males in the lowest-earning occupations have dropped by 19.7%, while the employment of females in the lowest-earning occupations have dropped by 26.3%. In contrast, only 3.7% of the highest-earning third of males have lost their jobs, and 0.6% of the highest-earning third of females. COVID-19-caused layoffs and job losses are disproportionately affecting the lowest-income segment (and therefore most financially vulnerable portion) of the workforce. …

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Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, photo credit Graham Ruttan

As fall approaches, COVID-19 continues to pose serious health and policy challenges for Canadians. While daily new infections are not as high as during the peak in May, they are up from a low in July. Recent daily new infections are estimated to be in the range of 500–1,000, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Daily New Infections in Canada

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With the risk of a strong second wave of infections this fall, potentially stretching medical systems, telehealth provision is a growing critical priority area. …


Ryan McLaughlin

Senior Economist & Research Analyst at the Information and Communications Technology Council

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