Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) were opened on Monday, April 6th, and officials have estimated that up to 4 million people may apply for the emergency support. Since March 15th, more than 2 million workers had already applied for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Thanks to the hard work of countless federal public servants working in Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, some EI applicants are already receiving CERB-like benefits and GST credits are now expected to arrive by mid-April. Yet the question still remains whether these programs provide sufficient support for all of those in need.
On March 18, the federal government announced an aid package to help workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes $27 billion in wage supports and enhanced benefits, and $55 billion in deferred income tax payments. It is supposed to ensure that workers and small businesses have the financial support they need to follow public health advice and stay home.
On July 13th, the Bank of Canada began to tighten monetary policy, arguing that the economy would be operating at full capacity by the end of this year. This action was guided more by the economic dogma of a “natural” unemployment rate crafted by Milton Friedman back in the 1970s than by hard evidence of a looming increase in inflation.
Low oil prices have taken their toll on an already weak Canadian economy, where household debt levels are at record highs and business investment continues to lag. The Bank of Canada held off on a further rate cut this week, opting instead to wait and see the size and structure of fiscal stimulus in the upcoming federal budget.
There are many factors other than federal government policy that strongly influence the quantity and quality of Canadian jobs including resource prices, business decisions, the state of the American and the global economy, and the actions of provincial governments to name a few.
That hasn’t stopped Stephen Harper and his Conservative government from trumpeting their record as good economic managers and pursuing a successful jobs and growth agenda. Harper’s supposedly “steady hand” on the economy is central to Conservative election messaging and his perceived economic acumen a frequent talking point of the mainstream press.
So on the eve of the tabling of the federal budget for 2015-16 and during this election, it is relevant to ask: has the job market improved under Harper’s watch from 2006 to 2014?
OTTAWA -- The Canadian labour market capped off 2014 by losing 4,300 net jobs in December, a slight dip from the previous month that left the unemployment rate locked at 6.6 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Editor's note: after releasing its July jobs report on Aug. 8 showing 200 jobs were created overall, Statistics Canada said on Aug. 12 it had made an unspecified error in the labour force survey. The agency released an amended jobs report on Aug. 15. This has been updated to incorporate Statistics Canada's correction.
The Harper government boasts of rapid job creation since the recession. But today's revised job numbers demonstrate that the recovery has stalled