COVID-19 impacts thousands of people’s jobs

COVID-19 impacts thousands of people’s jobs

Thousands more Brantford residents were thrown out of work in April as COVID-19 slammed the economy.

An estimated 7,300 local residents were unemployed in April, up 2,700 from March and up almost 4,000 since January, according to Statistics Canada figures released Friday. April’s Brantford jobless rate of 9.4% – a 3.5% one-month jump – was the highest in nine years.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie says Brantford has fared worse than most surrounding large communities, with the exception of the 9.9% recorded in St. Catharines-Niagara, an area with thousands of tourism-related jobs. Hamilton has the lowest April jobless rate at 7.5%.

“You can’t sugar coat this: thousands of our residents and businesses are feeling the pain of COVID-19’s impact on employment and the economy,” said Danette Dalton, the board’s executive director. “We hope some of that pain will be eased very soon, as businesses reopen and people are called back to work.”

Over the last two months in Brantford, men have been harder hit than women by full-time job losses, and there’s evidence that more people have seen their hours drop to part time. The age group that has seen the largest share of job loss has been young workers, aged 15 to 24, particularly part-timers. There have been modest job gains among older women, including seniors.

People working in manufacturing and construction saw job losses of more than 10% in April, while there were also large drops in the number of people working in sales, service, transport, arts, culture and recreation. There were modest gains in the number of people working in government services, finance, insurance and related occupations.

Vote to help name our new local job portal

Vote to help name our new local job portal

A new community job board is looking for a name.

Residents are invited to vote on a list of five names for the job portal, which will soon be launched by the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

The portal will show up-to-date job listings in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit and Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties. Local job postings will be automatically pulled from about 20 frequently used online job sites, and the location and details of each position will be shown on an easy-to-use map.

The five names in the running for Name the Job Portal voting are:

1.       Jobs2Advance

2.       Grand Erie Jobs

3.       Advance2Jobs

4.       Careers2Grow

5.       Job Radar

Voting can be done by going to: HERE

Name the Job Portal voting will close on May 18.

Many local workers lose work due to COVID-19: survey

Many local workers lose work due to COVID-19: survey

More than 40% of Grand Erie residents have lost work due to the COVID-19 crisis, a new survey shows.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie’s COVID-19 Worker Impact Survey of 450 people found that 37% are temporarily not working, while another 5% have permanently lost work.

The biggest impact has been on people in the sectors of accommodation and food services, retail and wholesale trade, and education. Youth (ages of 18 – 24) working part time in the retail and food sectors appear particularly hard hit.

One in three respondents said they were worried about having enough food, and paying their rent, mortgage and paying monthly bills.

The local survey’s results are consistent with those from six other workforce planning boards in Southwestern Ontario, who conducted the same survey. Collectively, Workforce Planning West surveyed 2,570 people.

“The results of this survey will give government, business, and the community a better understanding of how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted workers and their families in our region,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. “These results will also help inform where the Workforce Planning Board focuses its efforts to support our community.”

The survey asked if and how a worker’s employment status changed since March 2, their occupation, and which sector they were employed in. Questions were designed to gain insight into which groups of workers have been most affected by COVID-19 and in what ways.

In the Grand Erie region, 54% of respondents said they are working less or not at all, 27% are working the same amount, while 19% are working more, especially people working in health care, transportation and warehousing.

Other highlights from the survey of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk residents include:

  • 23% of residents are working from home temporarily (13% lower than the regional average of 36%)
  • 65% of residents are confident they will be able to find work after the COVID-19 crisis ends
  • 80% are aware of worker supports set up by government, and 52% said the programs meet their expectations
  • Residents said the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), increased access to Employment Insurance and support for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres are the most important supports put in place by the government at this time
  • 85% believe grocery stores are doing enough to support their families at this time, and 80% believe pharmacies are doing enough
  • 50% of residents believe that our communities will be stronger after COVID-19

The COVID-19 Worker Impact Survey was open from March 26 to April 20. Grand Erie region results had a margin of error of 5%, 19 times out of 20; and the Southwestern Ontario results had a margin of error of 2%, 19 times out of 20.

Two dashboards are available to help people view and interpret the raw survey results online:

COVID-19 Worker Impact Survey Results Dashboard

Comparing Local vs. Regional Data from the COVID-19 Worker Impact Results Survey Dashboard

COVID-19 pushes up Brantford Brant jobless rate

COVID-19 pushes up Brantford Brant jobless rate

Brantford Brant got its first glimpse of COVID-19’s impact on the local job market, as Statistics Canada released its monthly job numbers – and it isn’t pretty.

Early indications are that Brantford may not have been as hard hit as other parts of Ontario and Canada, especially communities more reliant on tourism and hospitality.

Brantford jobless rate for March was estimated at 5.9%, up from 4.7% in February, as employment in the city fell by about 1,700 people, according to Statistics Canada. The number of unemployed grew by an estimated 900 people.

“It’s terrible to see so many of our residents lose work because of COVID-19,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“However, we know our residents, businesses and organizations are strong and resilient. We’ve recovered from downturns in the job market before and our community has a history of working together to help people and rebuild.”

Thursday’s numbers are based on Statistics Canada’s survey of local households conducted during March 15 – 21, just before Ontario ordered non-essential businesses closed. The agency expects more dramatic impacts to show up in next month’s labour force survey.

In Brantford, there were hundreds of job losses in each of these sectors: retail; accommodation and food services; and information, culture and recreation, all of which traditionally employ more women. Manufacturing – the city’s largest employer – also saw job losses, even though many local companies are still operating. On the flip side, there’s been hiring in agriculture, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

Live Epic Jobs skilled trades event for students cancelled

Live Epic Jobs skilled trades event for students cancelled

Epic Jobs, an annual event that introduces almost 2,000 area students to the skilled trades, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Running at two locations – the Wayne Gretzky Sport Centre and the Sanderson Centre – Epic Jobs in its 4th year, features high profile industry speakers and around 50 exhibitor booths ranging from major local companies such as Tigercat, Brantford Power and Stelco to various community organizations, training centres and colleges such as Conestoga College who recently invested in its school of trades. 

The event has been widely supported by the community in its mission of getting young people into the trades. Skilled trades shortages have been a growing issue in Grand Erie for some time. 

Planning partners, which include the public and Catholic school boards, are currently meeting with digital experts to explore a virtual version of Epic Jobs for 2020 to be presented online. 

Sponsors and exhibitors who registered for the 2020 event can each expect to hear from the planning committee soon with more details. 

Epic Jobs is currently forging ahead as a live event for 2021 in its pursuit of engaging our youth – the future workforce – with skilled trades. There are new initiatives planned around the trades for 2021 contributing to a strong framework for Epic Jobs. 

Any parties who have questions, comments or feedback are welcome to contact The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie: /

 *The COVID-19 crisis has made significant impacts in Grand Erie and around the world on business, livelihoods, and jobs. The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is working with our community partners to generate a picture of how the crisis has impacted jobs, industry and families in our region in order to inform local-level responses.


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