Indigenous people are not recovering from the loss of employment during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as non-Indigenous Canadians, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
The new study released Monday by the government agency compared the employment experience of Indigenous people off-reserve and non-Indigenous Canadians during the first six months of the pandemic using data from the Labour Force Survey.
Though both groups were “similarly impacted” during the spring months of the pandemic as widespread health precautions led to business closures and job losses, the experiences began to diverge in the summer months.
“While Indigenous and non-Indigenous people were initially similarly impacted by employment declines and rising unemployment, labour market conditions have since been more challenging among Indigenous people,” a summary report from StatCan reads.
The new study added that there was an additional disparity between Indigenous men and women, with employment levels for women sitting at 88.4 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of August, but more than 96 per cent for men. The data is the latest evidence to reveal that the impact of the pandemic has been most strongly felt among women — who may experience worse mental health consequences and whose participation in the labour force has reached its lowest level in decades — and among Indigenous communities, which are experiencing an “alarming” resurgence of the virus.
The new data shows an early picture of how pandemic recovery differs across communities. Between a period of three months before the pandemic to the end of May, the unemployment rate of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups saw sharp increases of more than six percentage points, bringing unemployment for Indigenous people off-reserve to 16.6 per cent, compared to 11.7 per cent for non-Indigenous people.
By the end of August, when the economy added 246,000 jobs, unemployment dropped for non-Indigenous Canadians to 11.2 per cent. But there was little change for Indigenous people, who in fact saw a slight increase in unemployment to 16.8 per cent.
Photo credit: CANADIAN PRESS/Yader Guzman
News source: CTVNews