Laid off due to COVID-19? Here's what to do
It’s an unprecedented time for individuals and businesses as lockdowns around the world have forced companies to scale back or shut down operations and temporarily lay off workers. Meanwhile, some companies are grappling with a surge in demand that was unthinkable just a few months ago.
BNN Bloomberg has compiled a list of announcements and statements from companies that are laying off, furloughing and hiring employees. Use the table below to view announcements by sector as well as various employment statistics – all of which will be updated daily.
Last update: May 22, 2020 10:56 a.m. ET
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- Air Canada first announced it was temporarily laying off over 5,000 employees March 20 followed by a lay off of more than three times that amount just 10 days later for a total of 21,649. The company said April 8 it is was applying for Ottawa’s wage subsidy program in a move that would allow it to “retain or return affected employees to its payroll." However, the airline revealed on May 15 it will lay off between 50 and 60 per cent of its workforce, or around 20,000 people, because it doesn't see traffic returning to normal levels any time soon. "We are doing this in order to conserve cash, right-size our business for the level of traffic we anticipate in the mid- to longer-term and to position ourselves to rebuild once business returns," the company said in a statement.
- Aerospace manufacturer Heroux-Devtek Inc. is permanently eliminating 225 jobs, mostly in Quebec, and will close one of its plants in the face of reduced demand for commercial products
- Rolls-Royce announced on May 20 it’s looking to slash 9,000 positions from its global workforce in the wake of the virus’ impact on the aviation industry
- United Airlines Holdings Inc. is looking to severely cut costs as it prepares for lower travel demand. The company will cut 3,500 jobs, or 30 per cent of its workforce, mainly in management and administration by October. It’s also mandating managers and administrative employees take 20 days off without pay between May 16 and September 30, while other workers will transition to a four-day work week.
- Boeing Co. is cutting 10 per cent of its global workforce as it reduces production of its jetliners. The company tells BNN Bloomberg this will include offering a voluntary buyout program in Canada. Boeing, which has more than 2,000 employees across Canada, said on April 29 the majority of identified workforce actions were in Winnipeg, the company’s largest site in the country
- Chorus Aviation Inc. has laid off 3,000 employees
- Porter Airlines temporarily laid off the “majority” of its 1,500-person workforce after halting all commercial flights. On April 17, the airline said it will make use of the federal wage subsidy to return “hundreds” of staff members to its payroll
- Transat A.T. said March 23 it had temporarily laid off 3,600 people, or 70 per cent of its workforce. The company subsequently let go of more people, bringing the total to 80 per cent of its workforce. On April 17, the company announced plans to use the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to rehire 4,000 of those workers.
- GE Aviation, a subsidy of General Electric Co., cut about 10 per cent of its U.S. workforce
- Sunwing Airlines Inc. confirmed staff layoffs after scaling back its operations
- WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced March 24 it was cutting its worforce nearly in half with 6,900 layoffs. The airline said April 8 it will tap the federal wage subsidy program to bring the vast majority of those employees back onto its payroll. On April 16, WestJet confirmed it will layoff 1,700 pilots across all of its banners effective either May 1 or June 1. On April 22, the airline said it would add 3,000 more employees to its inactive workforce in May with its passenger load at less than five per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels
- WestJet’s discount carrier Swoop said it’s temporarily laid off 269 employees.
- Delta Air Lines Inc. is a standout, telling BNN Bloomberg there have been no layoffs despite reducing spending and a thinned out flight schedule
- Leon’s Furniture has laid off 3,900 employees, or about half its staff, after closing its locations
- Gap Inc. told BNN Bloomberg it has furloughed more than 80,000 store associates while it wouldn’t disclose the number of headquarter layoffs
Bed Bath & Beyond will bring 11,000 workers back from furlough as it aims to reopen about 600 stores by June 13
- Shoe company Aldo Group has temporarily laid off all 6,680 store associates and more than half, or 550, of its Montreal HQ employees
- Reitmans Canada Ltd. temporarily laid off about 4,800 store workers across its five brands and about 270 head office employees
- Aritzia Inc. has closed its stores but confirmed it hasn’t issued any layoffs
- Amazon.com Inc. has hired 80,000 new workers out of its 100,000 goal to meet soaring online order demand. On April 13, the company announced it’s looking to hire an additional 75,000 workers.
- Apple Inc. stores are closed but hourly workers are continuing to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations. The company is also asking some of those workers to shift to tech support roles
- TJX Companies, which owns the Marshall’s, Winners and TJX brands, announced it’s furloughing most of its retail and distribution centre workers after April 11 due to ongoing store closures
- Office Depot Inc is aiming to lay off 13,100 employees, close some retail stores and consolidate its distribution facilities by the end of 2023 to focus on its business solutions and information technology services segments
- Canada Goose Holdings Inc. has laid off 125 workers - about two per cent of its global workforce – a month after moving to increase its domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Canadian health-care workers.
- NFI Group Inc. idled manufacturing plants, impacting 6,500 workers, with 300 of them laid off
- Trucking and oilfield services company Mullen Group Ltd. says it is temporarily letting go of about 1,000 employees
- Tesla Inc. is furloughing hourly employees without pay from April 13 until May 4, when the company anticipates resuming normal operations.
- CAE Inc. said it's temporarily laying off 2,600 workers while announcing it will suspend dividend payments and share buybacks The company will be recalling 1,500 of those workers, thanks in part to the federal wage subsidy.
- Car parts and paint company Uni-Select Inc. has furloughed 3,000 workers
- Bombardier Inc. idled its factories on March 24, furloughing 12,400 workers after Quebec and Ontario ordered the shutdown of non-essential businesses. On April 28, the company announced 11,000 employees will likely return to work over the coming weeks with production expected to resume as of May 11
- Ford Motor Co. has shut down manufacturing plants worldwide, idling its employees, but says no one has been laid off. CAE announced this morning it will suspend dividend payments and share buybacks. It’s also temporarily laying off 2,600 workers.
- General Motors Company’s majority-owned self-driving car unit Cruise is laying off almost eight per cent of full-time workers to reduce costs
- Cineplex Inc. has temporarily laid off “thousands” after closing its theatres and entertainment centres
- Lyft Inc. disclosed in a regulatory filing dated April 29 it will slash 982 employees, or 17 per cent of its workforce, and furlough 288 workers to reduce expenses and improve cash flow
- Open Text Corp. is cutting up to five per cent of its global workforce as part of a restructuring plan estimated to cost as much as US$100 million.
- Sea-Doo maker BRP Inc. is conducting temporary and permanent layoffs to cut costs and weather the pandemic. It’s also implementing a global hiring freeze and cutting salaries after halting its powersports and marine operations around the world and suspending its dividend.
- Chartwell Retirement Residences is aiming to hire 1,300 employees, mostly as care staff, as it deals with COVID-19 outbreaks in a number of its retirement homes
- MTY Food Group said it has laid off 480 head office staff in Canada and the U.S. combined, or about half its workforce, and is suspending its quarterly dividend
- Quebecor Inc. cut 10 per cent of its workforce after scaling back its operations, which the company confirmed in an email to BNN Bloomberg equates to a little over 1,000 people.
- Forced to close its gym network, Goodlife Fitness says 9,045 associates have been temporarily laid off
- Walmart Inc. has hired 25,000 more workers to keep up with a surge in demand for food and household essentials
- Getting an “essential business” nod, Dollarama Inc. has said it will hire thousands of extra support staff
- Domino’s Pizza expects to hire 10,000 U.S. employees as more people opt for delivery pizza while staying home
- Food ordering app Ritual reduced its global workforce by just over half
- Via Rail employees who aren’t working right now because of service reductions or self-isolation are still receiving 70 per cent of their salaries, including benefits
- The CN Tower remains closed but tells BNN Bloomberg it hasn’t laid off any employees
- Vail Resorts has furloughed nearly all of its year-round workers in the U.S.
- Newspaper publisher Torstar Corp. is eliminating 85 jobs following a decline in advertising revenue due to COVID-19.
- Bell estimates up to 800 employees could be temporarily laid off depending on whether they can be reassigned to other roles. BNN Bloomberg is owned by Bell Media, which is a division of BCE Inc.
- The Service Trades Council Union said The Walt Disney Company will furlough non-essential unionized workers from its Walt Disney World resort in Florida after closing its theme parks worldwide in mid-March. The union represents 43,000 Disney workers.
- Indigo Books and Music Inc. is rehiring 545 of its 5,200 temporarily laid off workers thanks to the federal government’s wage subsidy.
- Shaw is temporarily laying off 10 per cent of its workforce, mostly in its retail and sales departments, due to government-ordered measures to contain the virus. Shaw’s most recent annual report indicates it employs about 10,000 people.
- Car dealership operator AutoCanada Inc. has laid off 40 per cent of its workforce, or 1,700 employees, and suspended its dividend as sales plummet
- Luxury jeweler Birks Group Inc. has temporarily laid off more than 80 per cent of staff without pay after closing its stores across Canada in mid-March
- Postmedia Network Inc. is eliminating 30 jobs and temporarily laying off 50 employees as it closes 15 community publications. It’s also instituting salary reductions of five to 30 per cent for employees making more than $60,000 a year, excluding commissioned salespeople. The company is facing steep advertising revenue declines made worse by the pandemic.
- TripAdvisor Inc. is cutting 600 jobs in the U.S. and 300 elsewhere in the world after COVID-19 decimated the travel industry. Remaining employees will be forced to take a pay cut. TripAdvisor is also closing two U.S. offices.
- Airbnb Inc. announced May 5 that it is reducing its global workforce by 25 per cent, or 1,900 workers, which includes job cuts in Canada. In an email to employees, CEO Brian Chesky called the pandemic “the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime” and that it has brought travel to a standstill.
- Uber Technologies Inc is planning to eliminate 3,700 jobs in a cost-cutting initiative as ridership plummets during the pandemic
- Greyhound Canada is temporarily suspending all bus service in the country as of May 13 after a 95 per cent plunge in ridership. 400 employees are affected.
- Carnival Corporation announced May 14 it will permanently cut jobs, furlough some workers, reduce salaries and shorten work weeks to save hundreds of millions of dollars after suspending cruise operations in mid-March
- Cenovus has slashed spending and halted its dividend, but told BNN Bloomberg it “does not have any layoff program underway and no current plans for one”
- U.S.-based Murphy Oil Corp.said May 6 will close its Calgary office in the coming months, affecting 110 employees in an effort to consolidate those functions into one office in Houston
- Pembina Pipeline Corp. confirmed to BNN Bloomberg that some project support and other roles have been eliminated in the face of weak oil prices and the effects of the pandemic
- Domtar Corp. is idling a pair of plants in the United States, resulting in 446 layoffs
- Oil sands joint venture Syncrude has some non-essential employees working from home and has not laid off any workers
- Transcontinental Inc. says it’s been forced to lay off 1,600 people after non-essential shutdowns in Ontario and Quebec
- Athabasca Oil Corp. cut 15 per cent of its corporate headcount as it suspends its Hangingstone operations
- Trican Well Service announced an undisclosed number of layoffs and expected job sharing as part of its cost-cutting plan in the wake of a steep drop in drilling activity
- Oilfield services firm Shawcor Ltd announced on April 21 that it has already let go of 7.5 per cent of its salaried employees and is looking to reduce its workforce by another 5 per cent to preserve its balance sheet
- Pulp and paper producer Domtar Corporation is idling its Kentucky mill starting May 5 and will temporarily layoff about 400 employees as a result.
- Calfrac Well Services Ltd. is cutting about 70 per cent of its workforce to further reduce costs as it grapples with falling demand
- Canfor Corporation confirms 94 employees will be laid off when it permanently closes its Isle Pierre sawmill in mid-August. A long-standing mountain pine beetle infestation that has reduced the amount of useable timber and the economic slowdown resulting from COVID-19 were cited by the company as reasons for the closure.
- Teck Resources Ltd has temporarily suspended construction at its Chilean QB2 project but no direct layoff notices have been handed out as most employees at the project are contractors. It’s also reduced production at its steelmaking coal and Highland Valley Copper projects, reducing crews by as much as 50 per cent.
- Teck announced on April 13 that it is also demobilizing 2,400 workers at the jointly-owned Antamina mine in Peru after operations were suspended
- Cameco Corp. is temporarily suspending operations at two Ontario facilities, affecting 125 employees.
- Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. has put its Quebec mines on maintenance, sent home its Nunavut-based workforce and suspended its Mexican operations. The company’s Malartic mine in Quebec (jointly owned with Yamana Gold) has since reopened.
- Yamana Gold Inc. has put some mines on care and maintenance and partially demobilized employees in Argentina, but tells BNN Bloomberg there have been no layoffs due to COVID-19
- The Green Organic Dutchman suspended some production, resulting in 30 people being temporarily laid off
- Aphria Inc. has laid off about a dozen employees, including its marketing head, in order to streamline some of its advertising and sales teams
- Canopy Growth Corp. temporarily laid off 200 retail staff following the closure of numerous store locations to support social distancing. On April 16, the company announced it’s reducing its headcount further by 85 full-time positions. Canopy announced an additional 200 job cuts in Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. on April 29
- Vancouver-based producer Sunniva Inc. is laying off an undisclosed number of workers, including its chief operating officer
- Toronto-based producer WeedMD Inc. is temporarily laying off 40 employees, accounting for about 12 per cent of its staff, because of the pandemic. Company management and its board of directors are also taking a pay cut.
- Meta Growth Corp. is temporarily laying off eight corporate employees to preserve cash
- Organigram Holdings Inc. has temporarily laid off 400 workers to help contain the spread of the virus. On May 13, the company began its staggered return-to-work policy. The first phase involves recalling about 50 employees in Moncton.
- Sundial Growers Inc. is conducting a round of layoffs, with 65 per cent of those being temporary. The company didn't disclose how many employees were impacted, but had 1,064 staff at the end of December, according to a security filing released last month.
- MediPharm Labs Corp. has let go of 10 per cent of its employees and is implementing a 10 percent voluntary executive salary reduction to help maintain its liquidity during the pandemic. The latest figures available from the company indicated it had 230 workers in Canada and Australia as of the end of 2019.
- RBC CEO Dave Mckay told employees in an internal memo March 30 there would be no job cuts at the company related to COVID-19 this year
- Toronto-based financial services startup Borrowell confirmed to BNN Bloomberg it has laid off 15 employees, representing 20 per cent of its workforce
- BMO CEO Daryl White told investors at the company’s virtual AGM there would be no layoffs because of the virus
- In a March 31 interview with BNN Bloomberg, CIBC CEO Victor Dodig said there are no plans for additional job cuts through the pandemic
- Meridian Credit Union is temporarily laying off 84 employees and permanently cutting 25 jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- The City of Vancouver laid off 1,500 employees, mostly from community centres, theatres and libraries. They will have “pay continuity” for about six weeks
- Toronto Transit Commission is temporarily laying off 1000 transit operators and 200 non-union employees after reporting an 85 per cent drop in ridership due to the lockdown, resulting in a loss of $90M in monthly revenue
1.99 million job losses in April (Statistics Canada)
1.01 million job losses in March (Statistics Canada)
U.S. Department of Labor:
Week of April 26 to May 2: 3.17M
Week of March 15 to March 21: 3.28M
Week of March 22 to March 28 : 6.87M (revised upward)
Week of March 29 to April 4 : 6.61M
Week of April 5 to April 11: 5.25M
Week of May 3 to May 9: 2.98M
“Based on our manufacturing production outlook, we would expect manufacturing employment to fall by around 70,000 this year, a four-per-cent decline. There will likely be significantly more than 70,000 layoffs this year, but most of the workers on temporary layoff will be recalled before the end of the year. Also, given the nature of this downturn (temporary health crisis), we would expect those 70,000 lost jobs this year to be recouped over 2021-22.” -- Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters in an April 1 email to BNN Bloomberg
“4,100 hotels have been closed, resulting in more than 250,000 job losses. Partial provincial breakdown: more than 68,000 employees laid off in British Columbia, 153,000 in Ontario and Quebec combined, and more than 29,000 in Alberta.” -- Hotel Association of Canada in an April 3 email to BNN Bloomberg
Indeed Canada says job postings on its website continued to hold steady through mid-May. The image below shows the number of listings from February 14 to May 15 compared to the same period last year.
Indeed Canada also says new job postings on its site are slowly climbing as provincial economies begin to open up. The chart below compares the number of new job postings on its site from February 14 to May 15 this year to the same period last year.
Hiring appetite seems to be growing at a faster rate in smaller provinces. The table below shows which provinces have seen the biggest increase in new job postings from April 10 to May 15 compared to the same period last year.