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Coronavirus: Bombardier to recall 11,000 workers as Quebec prepares to reopen economy – Global News

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Bombardier Inc. says 11,000 furloughed employees will return to work across Canada over the next few weeks, primarily in Quebec where some 450,000 residents are expected to go back on the job as the province prepares to restart its economy.

The plane-and-train maker said Tuesday it will resume production in Quebec as of May 11, the day set by the provincial government for factories to unlock their doors.

The economic restart will come as welcome news to a company grappling with share-price lows, credit downgrades and a US$9.3-billion debt.

Bombardier shuttered operations and sent 12,400 employees on unpaid leave on March 24 as non-essential work ground to a halt across the country.

READ MORE: Bombardier faces tough questions about future as share price, credit rating fall

By the end of May, it expects 9,000 in Quebec and 2,000 in Ontario to be back on the assembly line, a spokesman said Tuesday. Return dates for the remaining 1,400 workers “will be communicated at a later moment, when we have greater visibility on COVID impact.”

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Employees whose physical presence is not required at plants or service sites will continue to work from home, the company said.

All 12,400 — 70 per cent of Bombardier’s Canadian workforce of 17,600 — will benefit from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which funds 75 per cent of an employee’s pay up to a maximum of $847.

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Earlier Tuesday, Premier François Legault said stores with their own entrances will be allowed to open on May 4 outside of the Montreal area and May 11 in the Montreal region, with factories and construction sites across the province allowed to open May 11.

Legault said the province will keep close tabs on the number of COVID-19 cases and the ability of hospitals to respond.

READ MORE: Quebec to reopen some businesses as province eases coronavirus measures

On Monday, he announced elementary schools and daycares across Quebec will reopen by May 19.

Ontario, on the other hand, has given no dates or schedule for lifting COVID restrictions, other than that schools will stay closed until at least the end of May. Premier Doug Ford has been adamant that reopening depends on getting the virus under firm control.

Roughly 3,000 employees work at Bombardier’s private jet assembly plant in Toronto while others work at its railway operations in Thunder Bay and Kingston, Ont.

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“Gradual return-to-work schedules will vary per site,” spokesman Olivier Marcil said in an email, stressing that Quebec operations will start to ramp up in less than two weeks. “Recalls have already started for some sites or for essential activities.”

In Thunder Bay, the payroll dropped to about 420 workers from 1,100 last summer after major contracts — for Toronto Transit Commission streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars — wound down. The plant turned the lights back on this week to help produce 18,000 ventilators for the Ontario government.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Officials outline 7 criteria needed before restrictions can be loosened

The machinists’ union representing Bombardier said visits to a pair of facilities in the Montreal area last week “revealed a clear improvement in the application of physical distancing measures required by Quebec.”

The affected factories in the Montreal area sit in Mirabel, Saint-Laurent, Dorval and Pointe-Claire, and east of Quebec City in La Pocatière.

Eric Martel, who took over as CEO from Alain Bellemare earlier this month, continues to confront sobering questions about the future of a debt-laden Quebec institution that has become a penny stock with junk-status credit ratings as it slims down to a single revenue stream _ private planes _ just as the economy plunges into a downturn.

National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen pointed to weakening demand for business jets, further trimming his Bombardier forecast to 123 deliveries from 145 this year and to 108 deliveries from 120 in 2021.

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“Cash remains tight,” he said in a research note last week. When the crisis kicked off, Bombardier had about US$3.1 billion in cash on hand, including roughly US$500 million from the sale of its remaining stake in the A220 commercial jetliner program — formerly known as the C Series — and on top of US$1.3 billion in available credit.

As of last week, Bombardier’s aerostructures plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was slated to reopen on May 4, a spokeswoman said. Its factory in Cespin, France, that specializes in rolling stock remains shuttered indefinitely.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Saskatchewan economy adds 30,000 jobs in June as businesses open up again: Statistics Canada – CBC.ca

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Saskatchewan added more than 30,000 new jobs in June as businesses began to open back up from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate dipped to 11.6 per cent in June from a high in May of 12.5 per cent, according to a Statistics Canada report on Friday. 

At the national level Canada added almost one million jobs in June.

The national jobless rate fell to 12.3 per cent, down from the record-high of 13.7 in May. There are still 1.8 million fewer jobs in Canada today than there were in February.

Jason Childs, an associate professor of economics at the U of  R, said he was pleasantly surprised by the employment gains.

“To be gaining 30,000 jobs provincially and nearly a million jobs nationally is some unexpected good news, which is nice for a change,” he said.

Employment is rebounding as more businesses open up across Canada. (Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey)

The growth in Saskatchewan was split between 22,000 full-time jobs and 10,000 part-time jobs.

Childs cautioned that the jobless rate in the province is still more than six per cent higher than it was at this time last year, when it was 5.2 per cent, and there still about 40,0000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic.

“[Some people] don’t appreciate how deep the hole we’re in is and this is not a hole we’re going to get out of quickly,” Childs said. “[Unemployment] has more than doubled from this time last year.”

All those job losses have not been evenly distributed throughout the population.

Young workers are taking the brunt of the job losses in the province.

One in five people 15 to 24 years old are without a job, compared to 8.6 per cent of workers over the age of 25.

University of Regina associate professor of Economics Jason Childs says we have a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic economic levels. (CBC)

Unemployment among First Nations is 18.4 per cent and the Métis jobless rate is 17.3 per cent.

Childs said both those groups already have higher unemployment and they will have a harder time getting back in the workforce.

“People looking for that first job are going to have a really tough time right now because anything that opens up you’re probably going to be competing with somebody who’s got a lot more experience,” he said.

The one sector hit hardest by the pandemic is food and accommodation, where an estimated 400,000 workers across the country are still without a job.

Employment increased in all provinces in June, but it remains below February levels. (Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey)

Childs said those jobs are dependent on consumer spending and tourism, and that people’s financial habits have changed during the pandemic.

“I still think we’re going to see a drag [on the economy] as we get what’s called the Paradox of Thrift,” Childs said.

“As people begin to save for their own protection we may see that drag on economic activity as consumption falls off.”

He said people are beginning to cut back on ‘luxuries’ like going out to eat or grabbing a cup of coffee.

“That’s a place where you can cut back fairly easy,” he said.

“People are dealing with a massive amount of uncertainty right now and uncertainty breeds caution and doesn’t breed spending.”

Childs said no amount of fiscal stimulus is going to solve this crisis without consumer confidence.

“You need to get people back to a place where they feel comfortable and safe spending in order to return to the previous level of economic activity,” he said. “Or we’re just gonna have to get used to this.”

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Jason Kenney sees supply shortage in oil and gas when global economy rebounds from COVID-19 – Edmonton Journal

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COVID-19 has put Canada in a “deep fiscal hole,” and the only way to get out of it is to spark the oil and gas sector, Premier Jason Kenney said Friday.

Noting the federal government’s announcement Wednesday it expected to post a $343-billion deficit, Kenney expressed optimism that demand for oil would bolster Alberta’s recovery.

“When the global economy comes back from COVID, when demand returns for oil and gas, we are going to see something of a supply shortage, because of the upstream exploration that has been cancelled,” he said at a Friday news conference.

“So we’ll see prices go up, and that will be a great opportunity for Alberta especially as we make progress on pipelines,” Kenney said.

At Friday’s market close, West Texas Intermediate crude was priced at just over US$40.

TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline, which the government of Alberta has committed $7 billion in financial support, faced a legal hurdle this week when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to let construction begin on the project.

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Economy adds 953000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls – CKPGToday.ca

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By Wendy Perch

Jul 10, 2020

PRINCE GEORGE -The national jobless rate fell from a record 13.7 percent in May to 12.3 percent last month, as the economy added nearly one-million jobs.

However, one local tax partner is not sold on the numbers. Stan Mitchell with KPMG said, “the unemployment/employment rates are driven by those who are actively seeking employment so when we’re on the EI system, people had to fill out their report cards but with the CERB it’s not so much like that. Stats Canada, with statistics as good as they are, they projected that that 12.3 percent unemployment would go to about 16 percent unemployment in the case of somebody looking for work.”

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