FILE – Canada Service centre documents that display Employment Insurance options are pictured in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canadians who have lost their jobs anxiously awaiting federal help

An unprecedented number of people have seen layoffs and job losses over the past week

Canadians who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make ends meet anxiously awaited promised federal help with the Senate set to take up an emergency $82-billion financial package passed by the House of Commons on Wednesday.

An unprecedented number of people have seen layoffs and job losses over the past week, with close to one million new applications for employment insurance reported.

The brutal jobs reality was apparent in a new poll, which suggests close to half of those asked reported that they or someone in their house had lost work because of the outbreak. Another 18 per cent of Canadians polled by the Angus Reid Institute showed as many said they expected to lose work soon.

More than half who said they had lost work said their employers were not compensating them and as many said trying to get employment insurance had proven difficult.

The federal cash bill, passed in the early hours after wrangling between the government and Opposition, which complained the initial form of the legislation was a “power grab” and amounted to giving the Liberals a “blank cheque.”

READ MORE: Not time for state of emergency, Trudeau says

The legislation allows for direct government supports for people and businesses hurt by the shutting down of much of normal life as well as tax deferrals.

With governments warning of even more restrictive measures aimed at slowing the spread of the disease to avoid crushing an already stressed health-care system, the coronavirus caseload continued its march upward. About 2,800 Canadians are known to have been infected. More than two dozen of those have died.

Experts say the virus causes mild flu-like symptoms in most people but can lead to life-threatening pneumonia in others: particularly the elderly and those with less optimal health. Besides frequent hand-washing, the best defence is “social distancing” — avoiding contact with others.

To ensure as little inter-personal contact as possible, provinces and local governments have taken increasingly urgent steps to force people to stay home. Quebec and Ontario, for example, have ordered all non-essential businesses shut down.

In Newfoundland, a woman arrested in Corner Brook for violating public health orders to self-isolate for 14 days was to appear in provincial court Wednesday. She faces a fine of up to $2,500 or jail sentence of up to six months.

The mass layoffs resulting from the restrictions have left numerous people without paycheques as April 1 looms. Residential tenants and landlords have called on the federal and provincial governments to offer some kind of relief before rent cheques are due. Manitoba has suspended any rent increases and joined several other provinces in effectively halting evictions due to non-payment of rent.

READ MORE: More ‘stringent measures’ will come if Canadians ignore COVID-19 guidelines, Trudeau says

Global Affairs Canada said Wednesday 93 emergency loans of up to $5,000 are being made to Canadians stranded abroad and in need of financial help. Another 380 applications were being processed. With much of international commercial aviation grounded, special repatriation flights from various countries have been continuing, with more expected in the coming days.

Almost 120,000 Canadians have been tested for COVID-19 — an average of about 10,000 a day. Some labs have reported a testing backlog due to diminishing supplies of essential chemicals. The World Health Organization has said widespread testing is needed to curb the pandemic, but global demand has outpaced the supply of the specific chemicals needed.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

EDITORIAL: No time for April fools

As we adjust, cope, our community responds in different ways

2020 BC Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees: Bayliff family and Chilancoh Ranch

Historic ranch honoured in Ranching Pioneer and Century Ranch categories

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

Lives impacted, lessons learned during COVID-19

Visiting his dying father revealed difficult conditions for frontline workers, Ingemar Kallman said

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read