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Women, visible minorities, accommodation and food service workers most likely to collect CERB, Stats Can reports

The employment insurance section of the Government of Canada website is shown on a laptop in Toronto on April 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Johnston

Two-thirds of all Canadians working in accommodation and food services in 2019 collected the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in 2020, according to the latest breakdown by Statistics Canada.

A slightly smaller portion of those employed in arts, entertainment, and recreation (62.7 per cent) received the income supplement.

The federal government introduced the CERB in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to close and decimated the economy.

Women were slightly more likely than men to receive the benefit — 36.3 per cent compared to 34.2 per cent – while the actual working hours for women between ages 15 and 24 dropped by 27.7 per cent, and 22.6 per cent for men.

Read more: ‘Biggest financial crunch I’ve ever faced’: A year living on COVID-19 recovery benefits

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Statistics Canada only used those who earned more than $5,000 during 2019 for the survey, which shows just over one-third of those workers received CERB.

Visible minorities were also more likely to collect CERB, but the authors point out visible minority workers are also over-represented in accommodation and food services.

Conversely, relatively few workers employed in utilities (7 per cent) or public administration (11.7 per cent) received the federal benefit, Statistics Canada reports.

Slightly more than half of those in the bottom 10 per cent income bracket collected CERB, compared to roughly one in 10 in the top 10 per cent of income earners.

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