Unprecedented Job Losses Across Canada Since March 1

Many food businesses have closed down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some of them closing permanently.
Many food businesses have closed down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some of them closing permanently.

April 2, 2020 — A nationwide survey conducted between March 25 and 29 by Restaurants Canada has revealed that 800,000 food service jobs have been lost due to the current conditions caused by COVID-19. Restaurants Canada surveyed food businesses across Canada, receiving 655 completed surveys that represented 13,300 locations.

According to Restaurants Canada, the most significant revelations were the following:

  • Since March 1, 4 out of 5 restaurants have laid off employees.
  • If conditions do not improve soon, 7 out of 10 businesses will continue to cut back staff hours or lay off employees.
  • Almost 1 out of 10 restaurants have already closed permanently.
  • Within a month, 18% will permanently close if current conditions continue.
  • The service industry has lost $4 billion in sales for the month of March.

These are grim numbers that illustrate the deep impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on the food industry within in Canada. Restaurants Canada has also stated that the results indicate that many jobs lost during the pandemic might not return.

The seriousness of the situation is not lost on Shanna Munro, the President and CEO of Restaurants Canada who says, “In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national food service association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen.”

The food industry was one of the first industries to be significantly effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to be one of the hardest hit as closures continue for an unknown amount of time. The food service industry represents 4% of Canada’s GDP and is a $93 billion industry. Estimates project that the second quarter of the year could see food service sales down almost $20 billion.

However, the good news is that measures are being put in place to protect businesses and slow down the drastic effects to the industry. Restaurants Canada Vice President David Lefebvre stated “We are encouraged by relief measures introduced so far that have shown the concerns of food service are being heard.” The hope is that changes will continue to be made promptly in order to save the industry during these difficult times.