Canada Economic Recovery Latest Updates Post Pandemic
Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Immigrants negatively affected financially.
An immigrant-focused financial recovery is highlighted in a recent study conducted by the World Education Services (WES). In June, WES surveyed 1,800 permanent residents, international students, and temporary foreign workers in Canada to understand COVID’s impact on their economic health.
WES is one of the main providers for Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs), that are used to verify that foreign credentials are equivalent to Canadian ones required by immigration candidates when they submit economic class applications to the federal government or a province or territory.
According to the study, 15 per cent of all respondents lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic that made them difficult to afford rent or make mortgage payments. Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of permanent residents had lost their main source of income. For temporary workers, that percentage was 22 per cent.
Eligible permanent residents, temporary foreign workers and international students, applied to receive emergency benefits that were aimed to offset loss of income due to the pandemic. This includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Employment Insurance (EI). The CERB was accessible for employed as well as self-employed Canadians and permanent residents.
In June, around a third of those who claimed to have been eligible for EI had received the benefit. This is a significant increase from April, when it was only 13 per cent.
The WES survey found that those receiving EI or CERB were largely made up of permanent residents and temporary workers (90 per cent). The CERB is scheduled to end in October and eligible individuals will receive EI instead.
The Canadian government will be introducing a transitional benefit, a good news for immigrants and students, many of whom had unstable employment and therefore do not qualify for EI.
Canada’s economy has rebounded in recent months with some 2 million jobs lost by the pandemic since it recovered.
Mental health services for immigrants
The Newcomers’ Health and Well-Being Program has been designed with cultural considerations and preventive care in mind.
An Ontario-based organization places holistic mental health services at the heart of the settlement process for newcomers to Canada.
Called the Newcomer Health and Wellness Program and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to the tune of $2.2 million, this new initiative is designed to meet the needs of each newcomer in a personalized and comprehensive manner. The Canadian Mental Health Association, York Region & South Simcoe (CMHA-YRSS) – a branch of a national non-profit organization serving the York Region in the Greater Toronto Area – is behind the new initiative focused on improving mental health and well-being outcomes for immigrants and refugees aged 12 years and older.
Much of the current research on the mental health of new immigrants indicates that they are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems such as stresses and strains of cultural differences, language barriers and the process of integrating into a new society.
The new CMHA-YRSS program aims to address all these gaps. Launched this past August, the program includes a broad range of mental health and outreach activities. Among them are mental and physical health assessment, counselling and psychotherapy, health and wellness promotion and training, family counselling, as well as trauma-specific services.
An important part of the program is to create safe and welcoming spaces for the delivery of mental health care services.
With the current Canadian population of 7.5 million immigrants expected to almost double by 2036, understanding and supporting the physical and mental health of all newcomers is becoming increasingly important.
Economic recovery: Canada adds another 246,000 jobs
More Canadians are returning back to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Canada’s economic recovery is continuing. 3 million jobs were lost in lockdowns introduced across Canada in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
However, more people are now back to work.
In August, employment rose 1.4% for Canadians, rising to within 5.7% of pre-COVID levels. Meanwhile, employment for landed immigrants was up 1.6% while employment for recent immigrants was up 2.2%, an increase driven mainly by the reduction in the population of recent immigrants due to lower newcomer arrivals during the pandemic.
The vast majority of the employment gains were in full-time positions.
Employment growth was concentrated in the services sector (+1.5%) as opposed to the goods producing sector.
Unemployment rates remain higher for visible minorities as compared to people who are not members of a visible minority group. The national unemployment rate of 11.1% (not seasonally adjusted) compared to 17.9% for Arab, 17.6% for Black, and 16.6% for Southeast Asian populations.
This new report, however, shows that Canada’s economic recovery is moving in the right direction. Nearly 1.9 million jobs have been recovered in recent months. In addition to the 246,000 jobs created in August, another 419,000 were recovered in July, and 1.2 million were recovered in May and June.