Posted on Apr 15, 2020
NEW DATA SHOWS A QUARTER OF A MILLION ALBERTANS LOST ALL INCOME IN MARCH
According to new data from Statistics Canada obtained by the NDP Official Opposition, 254,000 Albertans had their income reduced to zero in March.
Job losses were initially reported to be 117,000 last month. The new figures include the 137,000 Albertans who are still technically employed, but have had their hours reduced to zero, bringing the total number of Albertans who have lost income to 254,000.
“These new numbers show how many Albertans are struggling right now, and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on jobs and our economy,” said NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray. “The scale of the impacts from this pandemic are unprecedented and we will need an unprecedented response from Premier Kenney and his UCP government. Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing it.”
Many businesses have had to close their doors due to decreased demand or public health orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many closures are expected to be temporary and employers have kept staff on their payroll or drastically reduced hours. As a result, the number of jobs lost only tells part of the story and does not include those who are still technically employed, but have lost all of their income.
“The UCP have failed Albertans. They promised nobody would fall through the cracks during the pandemic, but thousands were left behind and even denied access to the Emergency Isolation Support program. Thankfully the federal government stepped up with their own programs to support Canadians,” said Gray.
“But if we want to make sure Albertans have jobs to go back to after this pandemic, the UCP need to support small businesses with immediate financial relief. We can’t afford to continue to sit back and watch more Albertans lose their jobs.”
The NDP Official Opposition have put forward a short-term plan to immediately protect Albertans’ jobs and support struggling small businesses. The plan includes an emergency commercial rent subsidy of up to $10,000, insurance premium freezes and reductions, and $5,000 to help small businesses move operations online.