Nearly a million Canadians have filed for employment insurance (EI) as the novel coronavirus outbreak ravages Canada’s economy.
The number of jobless claims received by the government between Monday, March 16 and Sunday, March 22 has reached 929,000, a source with knowledge of the data confirmed to Global News.
The new figure represents a near doubling of claims since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press release on Friday, March 20 that weekly unemployment applications had reached the half-a-million mark.
“We received over 500,000 applications so far this week, compared to just under 27,000 applications for the same week last year,” Trudeau said in reference to employment insurance.
“I know people are anxious to get the help they deserve, and our government is working as fast as possible to support them. This is, of course, an unprecedented situation, and it’s putting a lot of pressure on our system, but we’re on it. Thousands of public servants are working around the clock to help you.”
On March 18, the federal government unveiled an $82-billion financial rescue package, including $27 billion in direct financial aid to households and businesses.
Emergency measures approved so far include extending unemployment benefits to those who don’t qualify for EI, expanding coverage to those who must self-isolate and aren’t eligible for EI sickness benefits, and income support for parents who are unable to earn income while schools are closed as a result of child-care duties.