While feelings of loneliness and isolation are common amid shutdowns and social distancing, there’s a growing divide between those who have emerged from the economic slump in fine — or even better — shape and those who have landed in a financial dark pit.
When it comes to jobs, debt and housing, Canada’s economic trajectory has split into two, data shows. It’s what economists refer to as a “K-shaped” recovery.
Latest job numbers indicate Canada’s economy on the rebound
On the upper-arm of the K are higher earners, homeowners and older Canadians, as well as companies that can do business remotely or have capitalized on new pandemic-linked trends.
On the lower-arm of the K are hourly workers, who are more likely to hold jobs that require face-to-face interaction and be employed in the industries that have been hardest-hit by the lockdown, such as hospitality, retail and entertainment.
Young people, whose jobs are often first to be axed in a downturn, are also overrepresented in the bottom half of the K.
The latest example of the growing bifurcation was Canada’s September jobs report.
On one hand, job growth was much stronger than expected. The labour market added more than 378,000 positions, far more than the lukewarm forecast of around 150,000 many economists had anticipated. Most of the new jobs were in full-time work, with the data showing significant employment gains for women.
For both mother and fathers, September employment was “on par with pre-pandemic levels,” Statistics Canada noted.
But the report painted a starkly different picture in some corners of the labour market. The number of low-wage employees was down by more than 760,000 compared to September 2019. And employment for Canadian youth was still 10 per cent below February levels, the agency noted.
Real estate is one of the few sectors showing strong growth in Canadian economy
“This overwhelmingly hit hourly-paid workers,” says Mikal Skuterud, a labour economist at the University of Waterloo.
While high-wage earners had recovered all their work hours by the summer, work for those making less than $20 an hour is still 20 per cent below what it was pre-pandemic, according to Skuterud.
Recessions typically come with a reduction in consumer demand, Skuterud says. And as people buy less, the impact is usually heaviest on goods-producing industries and the construction.
But the economic shock triggered by the pandemic has mostly hurt one part of the supply side of the economy: the service sector.
“Normally, a recession will kill off good-paying jobs for men,” says Armine Yalnizyan, an economist and fellow at the Atkinson Foundation.
This time it has been low-paid service-sector workers — often women and racial minorities — who bore the brunt of the crisis, she adds.
Young people have also had an especially rough ride, Skuterud says.
Those under 35 make up the bulk of the 1.3 million Canadians who had been jobless for more than six months as of September, he says.
The surge in the number of people who’ve been out of work for that long is in itself concerns, according to Skuterud. Following the 2008 financial crisis, by comparison, it peaked around 900,000.
But the trend is especially worrisome for Canada’s youth, he adds.
“When somebody is jobless for six months or more, it becomes increasingly difficult to get back to a job,” he says.
“I think there’s reason to be worried about this group of young people and [the] long term effects on [their] careers,” he says.
Is Ontario losing its grip on COVID-19 recovery?
The divide in the labour market fortunes of Canadians is also producing two radically different trends when it comes to household debt.
On the one hand, those who have lost their jobs or seen their incomes decline are struggling.
On the other hand, those who are holed up at home working from laptops have preserved their paycheque and, often, seen their monthly expenses drop. With fewer opportunities to spend, these households have been paying off debt aggressively and beefing up their savings.
While two in five Canadians say they are worse off financially because of the pandemic, one in five say their money situation has improved, according to a recent survey conducted by the Angus Reid Group for BDO Canada, an assurance, accounting, tax, and advisory firm.
Those who say they’re saving more are likely to be university-educated and earn more than $100,000 a year, according to the report.
Meanwhile, two in five say they are seeing their debt pile up because of the pandemic, the survey shows.
Michael Braga, vice-president at BDO, says he’s never seen anything like the current split in his 19 years in the financial sector.
And that spread will likely widen as the pandemic drags on, he says.
So far, Ottawa’s emergency benefit programs and debt deferrals options offered by many lenders have helped keep struggling borrowers afloat, he says. Tellingly, the number of individuals filing for insolvency has been far lower over the past few months than it was last year.
But as banks start to demand payments, collections resume and the Canada Revenue Agency once again starts to go after outstanding tax liabilities, the trend will likely reverse, according to Braga.
“We’re waiting for the floodgates to open,” he says.
Dealing with debt during the pandemic
Buoying the fortunes of older and higher-earning Canadians is also the housing market.
Home sales volumes hit a monthly record for the third month in a row in September, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Sales were up 0.9 per cent from August in seasonally adjusted terms, which brought them to a gargantuan 45.6 per cent above levels seen the previous September, which gains spread across the country.
Pent-up demand from homebuyers who spent the spring in lockdown, pandemic-induced cravings for more space and less contact with strangers outside their social bubble, as well as low interest rates, explain the demand for housing and especially detached homes, economists say.
The MLS Home Price Index, which adjusts for the mix of home types sold, has risen by 10.3 per cent.
Rents, on the other, have been declining in many markets. The average rent for properties listed on Canadian rental site Rentals.ca, for example, was down 9.5 per cent in September year-over-year nationwide.
But while this has given some people a chance to upgrade their digs, it hasn’t translated into broad gains for renters, who tend to be lower-income in Canada, according to Yalnizyan.
Renters who stay put aren’t seeing their rent go down, she says. And those who’ve been struggling financially may not be able to catch up on missed rent payments, she adds.
“We don’t know whether we’re gonna be seeing a wave of evictions,” she says.
Money Smarts: Mortgage deferral period ending
What’s in store?
It’s hard to say how long the economy will hold its K-shaped pattern.
On one hand, rising COVID-19 case counts rise and new restrictions spell trouble for restaurants, bard, gyms, movie theatres and other service-sector businesses.
“The September report for the labour force surveys (is) probably as good as it’s going to get in the coming months,” Yalnizyan says.
On the other hand, public health authorities now have a much better understanding of the risks of the virus and how to handle it, Skuterud says. This could result in a better ability to keep schools and workplaces open, he says.
Still, if the economic recovery stalls, “there’s a possibility that more people will leave the upper arm of the K and just fall down the lower arm as the fall progresses,” she says.
And the majority of those would probably be women, who are both more likely to work in pandemic-sensitive jobs and more likely to have to stop or scale back working if schools and daycare shut down again, Yalnizyan says.
“We’ve got a real issue to watch as we move forward about women not only not being employed but not even looking for work, just pulling out of the labour market entirely,” she says.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Ontario reports 821 new cases of COVID-19, 2nd-most since resurgence began in August – CBC.ca
Ontario reported 821 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the second-most on a single day since a resurgence of the illness began in the province in mid-August.
Toronto once again saw the most with 327, while 136 were recorded Peel Region and 79 in Ottawa.
The new case count is the highest number the province has seen in the second wave, since 939 cases were reported on Oct. 9. The seven-day average of new daily cases, which had been slowly dropping over the last several days, ticked back up with today’s update and is now about 743.
Notably, just over 24,000 tests were completed yesterday — the lowest number of tests Ontario has processed on a single day since Sept. 9. The province previously said it aimed to be processing 50,000 tests per day by mid-October, and as many as 68,000 daily by mid-November.
The number of confirmed, active infections of the novel coronavirus in Ontario is 6,237, an all-time high.
Hospitalizations, as well as the number of patients in intensive care and using ventilators, all went up. Hospitalizations rose from 252 yesterday to 274 today, ICU patients went from 69 yesterday to 72 today, and people in the ICU using ventilators went from 40 to 45.
The province is also reporting three more deaths.
Premier appeals to people with symptoms to get tested
Asked Tuesday about the relatively low levels of testing in the last 24 hours, Premier Doug Ford said the province’s labs have now cleared through a backlog of tests that once ballooned to more than 90,000 and that there is capacity for as many as 50,000 daily, but that people can’t be forced to be tested.
Ford said the province has set up additional testing units in hotspots, but some people seem to be holding back from getting an assessment.
The province changed its testing guidelines last month, making COVID-19 tests available only to symptomatic people by appointment at its assessment centres.
The change came after the government was heavily criticized for hours-long lineups at walk-in testing centres that assessed people with or without symptoms.
Meanwhile, Ontario is extending most of its emergency orders until Nov. 21 as the province faces a resurgence of COVID-19.
In a news release Tuesday, the provincial government announced the extension will be in place for 30 days with exceptions for orders around pandemic pricing on electricity and electronic access to personal health records.
“With the cold and flu season upon us and the continuing high number of COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the province, it’s critical we continue to take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of Ontarians,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Masks not required in dance studios, province says
The province has also updated its pandemic rules to allow dance classes to resume in Ontario’s four hot spot areas.
Asked Tuesday why small fitness studios aren’t allowed to open under the current regulations but dance studios are, Ford drew a distinction between the two saying that unlike fitness studios, dance studios are cohorted.
The province announced this week that dance classes will be allowed to resume in hotspot areas as long as dances are pre-registered and physical distancing is observed.
Masks are not required inside the studios.
Asked why that is, Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters Tuesday, “It’s because of the distance and the separation between the dancers that can be maintained such that the masks aren’t necessarily required.”
Airborne transmission of COVID-19 however has not been ruled out, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its guidance this month to say infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets that can linger in the air for minutes to hours.
NDP bring motion to eliminate for-profit LTCs as some face insurance woes
Also Tuesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she would introduce a motion to remove for-profit companies from the long-term care system and replace them with an “all non-profit and public system.”
“We need to take action to protect seniors and fix the long-term care system for good, and we have to do it now,” Horwath said in a tweet.
A vote on the motion is expected this afternoon.
Meanwhile, some of Ontario’s long-term care homes are having trouble securing liability insurance for COVID-19, a situation that could force some of them to close, says a group representing more than 70 per cent of the province’s homes.
The Ontario Long-Term Care Association says its homes are being offered new policies without a key provision: coverage for infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
The association has now turned to the federal government for help, saying potential claims could place a burden on the homes’ finances, and that loans could be denied over the lack of coverage.
Previously, long-term care homes received $5-million to $10-million coverage for damages or claims related to infectious diseases, CEO Donna Duncan said.
Now, insurance companies are including a “contagious disease exclusion endorsement” in policies for the homes, she said.
Her association has pleaded its case to the federal government in a letter sent late last week, asking Ottawa to provide a “backstop” and essentially insure the insurance companies.
Ontario to provide COVID-19 liability protection to some workers, businesses
Also Tuesday, Attorney General Doug Downey introduced a new bill that would provide liability protection to some workers, businesses and non-profits against COVID-19 exposure-related lawsuits.
Downey says the bill, if passed, would ensure anyone making an “honest effort” to follow public health guidelines while working or volunteering not be exposed to liability. The bill will not prevent lawsuits against those who willfully, or through “gross negligence”, endanger others, he said.
The government says health-care workers and institutions, front-line retail workers, and charities and non-profits would be covered by the bill.
The legislation would also cover coaches, volunteers and minor sports associations.
Outbreak at CAMH worsens
Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is reporting three more patients have tested positive for COVID-19 on a unit at its Queen Street site.
It follows confirmation Sunday of an outbreak at the unit, when it said two people had COVID-19.
Two other Toronto hospitals also confirmed outbreaks over the weekend.
The centre says it has implemented standard infection prevention and control procedures for respiratory outbreaks, including closing the unit to admissions and transfers.
Ontario changes the rules so dance classes are now allowed again in the COVID hotspots. But Zumba classes (dance style exercise class) are still not allowed. <a href=”https://t.co/WrOdjZp6gV”>pic.twitter.com/WrOdjZp6gV</a>
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Canada sees 2,341 new coronavirus cases as deaths near 10,000
Canada added 2,341 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the country’s total case count to 203,476.
Health authorities in Canada’s provinces also said another 16 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The new fatalities bring the country’s total death toll to 9,794.
News of the new infections comes as health officials work to slow the spread of the virus as Canada faces a second wave of the pandemic.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the fight against the virus is “far from over.”
“And to win it, we have to keep working together,” he said. “Canada is a big country, the pandemic is playing out differently in different provinces and territories.
“That’s why I’m asking everyone to keep following the guidelines of their local public health authorities.”
In Ontario, 821 new cases were reported, and health officials said three more fatalities had occurred.
The new infections bring the province’s total case count to 65,896, and its death toll to 3,053.
However, 56,606 people have recovered from the virus, while 4,714,326 tests have been administered in Ontario.
Meanwhile, in Quebec, 877 new cases of the respiratory illness were detected and health authorities confirmed 11 more people have died.
Since the pandemic began, 95,216 people have contracted the respiratory illness in the province.
Thus far, 80,468 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Quebec, while 2,839,254 people have been tested.
Forty-three new cases of the virus were reported in Saskatchewan on Tuesday, but the province’s death toll remained at 25.
A total of 233,017 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered in Saskatchewan, while 1,987 people have recovered after falling ill.
Manitoba saw 109 new cases of the virus, but no new deaths.
Since the pandemic began, 1,703 people have recovered after contracting the illness, while 235,530 tests have been conducted.
Further west in Alberta, 323 new cases were reported, and health authorities said one more person had died, bringing the province’s death toll to 293.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Alberta has seen 22,996 COVID-19 infections, however, 19,500 people have recovered.
To date, 1,653,361 tests for the novel coronavirus have been administered.
British Columbia health officials said 166 new cases have been detected, and one more person has died.
The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 11,641.
One epidemiologically-linked case was also reported, meaning it has not yet been confirmed by a laboratory.
B.C. has seen 9,871 people recover from the respiratory illness and health officials have administered 736,637 tests.
No new infections or deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in New Brunswick, meaning the province’s total case count remained at 313.
So far, 215 people have recovered after becoming sick.
Provincial health authorities have administered 93,656 tests to date.
Nova Scotia did not report any new cases or deaths relating to the virus, either.
This means the province’s case count and death toll remained at 1,097 and 65, respectively.
A total of 106,748 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia, while 1,027 have recovered after contracting COVID-19.
One new coronavirus case was detected in Prince Edward Island, bringing the province’s total case load to 64.
However, 61 of those cases are considered to be resolved.
The island, which has not yet seen a death associated with COVID-19, has conducted 42,377 tests.
Newfoundland did not detect any new infections or deaths on Tuesday.
The province, which has seen 287 confirmed cases, has not reported a new case since Thursday.
So far, 272 people have recovered from the virus, while 49,117 have been tested.
New case in the territories
One new case was reported in the Northwest Territories on Tuesday, bringing the total case count in the region to six.
However, five of those cases are considered to be resolved. The territory has tested 5,939 people to date.
In the Yukon, 17 cases of the virus have been confirmed, 15 of which are considered to be resolved.
The territory has not yet seen a COVID-19 related death, and has tested 3,785 people.
Nunavut has not yet seen a confirmed case of the virus.
Global cases approach 41 million
The number of novel coronavirus cases remained under 41 million on Tuesday.
According to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, by 7:20 p.m. ET there were a total of 40,652,097 COVID-19 cases around the world.
Since the virus was first detected in China late last year, it has claimed 1,122,036 lives.
The United States remained the country with the greatest amount of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with more than 8.2 million infections.
So far, more than 220,000 people have died in the U.S. after testing positive for coronavirus.
India has reported the second-most cases at 7.5 million, and has seen over 115,000 fatalities.
Source:- Global News
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