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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. …


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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Source: Worldometers.com

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


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Port of Vancouver, Photo by Ryan McLaughlin

Unadjusted employment in Canada grew by about 220,000 from July to August, or 1.2%, according to Statistics Canada. Employment tends to rise in summer due to sectors like construction and agriculture. After adjusting for this seasonality so that all months in a year are comparable, employment in August was about 5.7% below February levels (or a bit over 1 million workers). This is shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Canadian Seasonally-Adjusted Employment

The drop in employment since February varies by province. Figure 2 shows that Alberta remains farthest below February employment levels, still about 7% below the peak, due to drops in the oil and gas sector. …


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Photo credit Matthias Mullie, https://unsplash.com/photos/VAxCHgJvZ0g

Canada’s newest GDP data reveals a promising trend

On Friday, Statistics Canada released new sector-level Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for June 2020. After much speculation, this data offers an idea of how Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 economic crisis is likely to unfold.

In short, the resumption of economic activity has been faster than many analysts expected. This relief comes after months of record-breaking plunges in economic indicators. Figure 1 below shows that aggregate Canadian GDP in June had nearly recovered to the level of March 2020, just following the onset of the pandemic, and was about 9% below the February peak.

Canadian GDP from January 2010 to June 2020.
Canadian GDP from January 2010 to June 2020.
Figure 1: Canadian GDP, Adjusted for Inflation and Seasonality

Some sectors continue to struggle, particularly Food & Drinks. Figure 2 reveals that the sector remains about 40% below its February level. …


A spotlight series on British Columbia

Canada’s Pacific melting pot province of British Columbia is rich in natural beauty, resources, and talent. …


Reflections from a Canadian in France

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Just a month ago, I was happily presenting ICTC research on smart mobility — one of ICTC’s smart city priority areas — at the MOVE ‘Mobility Re-imagined’ 2020 Conference in London, UK. The conference brought together more than 10,000 attendees from around the world.


Insights Gained and Lessons Learned

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Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) was recently invited to participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Big Data Initiative. As members of the ICTC research & policy team currently completing research on 5G and its use-cases across industry lines, my colleague Rosina Hamoni and I joined the conversation. …


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Whether you love it, hate it, rely on it, or actively work around using it, many Canadians have few illusions about the economic importance of natural resources like oil for our national economy. However, with recent headlines like barrel prices tumbling to $52 USD, or local interventions to this challenge including reducing supply in an attempt to adjust prices, it is becoming clear that our traditional industries are shifting.

As technology permeates more and more of our daily lives, even sectors like oil & gas are affected — with big data and analytics increasingly driving decision-making. …

About

Ryan McLaughlin

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

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