Around 500,000 people have applied for unemployment insurance in Canada in the last four days as a result of the closure of companies and the cessation of activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, figures not seen in the country since the Great Depression of 1932.
The figure contrasts with the 27,000 requests received in the same week a year ago.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the magnitude of claims for unemployment insurance is “historic.”
“In the past week, many government agencies have received a record number of calls from concerned Canadians. I know that people are eager to receive the help they deserve and our government is working as fast as possible to support them,” he said during a Press conference.
The economist at the University of Calgary (Canada) Trevor Tombe said on Twitter that the number of requests is the highest in a week in the history of the country and represents 2.6% of the country’s total employment.
Tombe added that during the worst moment of the Great Depression in 1932, the percentage losses in the Canadian economy were similar but occurred for a month, July, and not for a week like now.
Tombe added that the job loss “despite the depth, hopefully it will be short.”
Trudeau announced Wednesday that the government will inject $ 56.5 billion, about 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), in response to the crisis caused by COVID-19.
But Canadian authorities have warned that Canada is in a strong fiscal position and that it is prepared to continue to inject money to stabilize the situation.
Today, the country’s main airline, Air Canada, announced the temporary layoff of more than 5,000 employees, 60% of its flight attendants.
And automakers General Motors (GM), Ford, Fiat Chrysler (FCA), Toyota and Honda, which have vehicle assembly plants in the country, have also indicated in the last few hours the suspension of their production at least until the end of month.
The layoffs not only affect the manufacturing sector. The well-known Cirque du Soleil has proceeded to temporarily dismiss 4,679 people, most of its staff, for the cancellation of their shows.
Canada said today that the number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 925 and the deaths at 12.