Job losses in Quebec during pandemic affected women more than men: report

·3 min read

MONTREAL — Nearly 300,000 lower-paying jobs were lost in Quebec in 2020 when the economy was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the province’s statistics agency.

Those job losses affected woman more than men. But during that same period, the province gained 105,000 jobs paying more than $30 an hour — and the majority of those jobs went to women.

Quebec lost about 275,000 jobs that paid less than $20 an hour in 2020, the Institut de la statistique du Québec said in its report released Monday. It found the majority of those job losses involved women working in the retail, lodging, restaurant and manufacturing sectors.

The report, based on data from Statistics Canada, found that 183,000 women lost jobs paying less than $20 an hour, compared to 90,000 men.

When it came to new, higher-paying jobs, 67,000 women were hired in 2020 compared with 38,000 men. Around 40 per cent of the new jobs gained in 2020 were in the finance, insurance, real estate and rental industries, as well as the professional, scientific and technical services sectors.

Earlier on Monday, Quebecers aged 45 and up became eligible to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, and public health orders were eased in some cities, including Montreal.

The province announced last week it was gradually expanding vaccine access in descending order of age to all adults and that all residents 18 and older will be able to book an appointment by mid-May.

Public health authorities said 37,490 doses of vaccine were administered Sunday, for a total of 3,256,401 doses; about 37.2 per cent of the population in Quebec has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Quebec reported 798 new cases of COVID-19 Monday — the lowest number of new, daily cases since March 23 — and two more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. No deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours.

The Health Department said the number of hospitalizations rose by 14, to 588, and that 151 people were in intensive care, a drop of six.

Meanwhile, Montreal police said Monday they issued 878 tickets for violations of the province's COVID-19 regulations between April 26 and May 2, including 511 for violations of the 8 p.m. curfew. Provincial police said they issued 628 tickets between April 26 and May 2, including 328 for curfew violations.

Police said they arrested four people and issued 35 tickets during a large protest in Montreal Saturday against COVID-19 public health regulations. They said 28 tickets were given for violations of health orders and six were issued for violations of municipal bylaws. Police said one officer was injured.

Authorities eased some COVID-19 restrictions on Monday. Primary school students in the Quebec City and Chaudiere-Appalaches regions were scheduled to return to classrooms after several weeks of online learning. And the nighttime curfew was pushed back to 9:30 p.m. from 8 p.m. in Montreal and its northern suburb of Laval, Que.

Quebec has reported a total of 352,678 cases of COVID-19 and 10,944 deaths linked to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press