More Canadians will be working from home post-pandemic, StatCan data suggests
TORONTO -- New data from Statistics Canada suggests that more Canadians will be working from home once the COVID-19 pandemic is over as more employers report that their staff can effectively do their jobs remotely.
The survey results released Tuesday found that nearly one-quarter of Canadian businesses expect that 10 per cent or more of their workforce will continue to telework or work remotely post-pandemic.
According to Statistics Canada, businesses that expect their employees to continue working from home include the information and cultural industries sector (47 per cent) and the professional, scientific and technical services sector (44.5 per cent).
The survey results also found that 25 per cent of Canadian business are 'likely' or 'very likely' to offer their employees the option to work remotely following the pandemic, while 14 per cent reported that they will make it a requirement.
Previous data from Statistics Canada reported that 40 per cent of Canada’s workers found themselves working from home as pandemic lockdowns were enforced. That compares to less than 10 per cent in 2018 who had the option to work a day or two a week from home.
While battling a viral pandemic has meant a profound shift to working from home for many Canadians whose jobs can be done remotely, the new data shows that employers may be on-board for a permanent shift.
REDUCING HOURS AND STAFF LAYOFFS
Despite millions of jobs being lost during the early stages of the COVID-19, Statistics Canada reported last week that more than 950,000 jobs were added in the country in June.
However, according to the new data, Canadian businesses are still struggling to keep their staff. The data found that 40 per cent of businesses reported reducing staff hours or shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while over 28 per cent laid off staff.
Statistics Canada reported that 17 per cent of all businesses laid off half or more of their workforce. The industries that were most impacted by layoffs were the arts, entertainment and recreation sector (90 per cent), the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector (83 per cent), and the accommodation and food services sector (80 per cent). All of these sectors reported laying off up to 50 per cent or more of their employees.
Additionally, nearly all businesses with more than 100 employees reported having to layoff staff.
Despite the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, nearly 23 per cent of businesses reported having implemented no staffing changes amid the pandemic.
Throughout the month of June, those businesses surveyed were also asked what their expectations were over the next three months on the number of employees they employed. Nearly 66 per cent said they expect their number of employees to remain the same while 15 per cent said they expect their staffing to increase. The majority of those who expected needing more staff within the next three months were businesses in the accommodation and food services sector and the manufacturing sector.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how jobs operate, it has also changed what is needed for employees to do those jobs safely.
According to Statistics Canada, nearly 81 per cent of businesses reported that they need or are expecting to need personal protective equipment (PPE) or other safety supplies as physical distancing measures are relaxed. Over two-thirds of businesses surveyed reported that they need or will need face masks and eye protection, while over three-fifths said they will need cleaning products.
The data found that of those business who said they need or would need increased PPE, 22 per cent said they expect to experience difficulty obtaining the supplies.
Businesses that were most likely to need equipment or supplies were predominantly in the health care and social assistance sector (93 per cent), the accommodation and food services sector (93 per cent) and the retail trade sector (92 per cent).
Approximately 67 per cent of Canadian businesses indicated they were 'likely' or 'very likely' to provide face masks, gloves, and other PPE to their employees with nearly 75 per cent saying they are increasing sanitization in the workplace.
Interestingly, five per cent of businesses surveyed said they have shifted their assembly lines and started manufacturing new products amid the coronavirus pandemic. These new products include face masks, eye protection and hand sanitizer.
The data found that nearly 64 per cent of businesses surveyed were approved for funding from the federal government or external credit providers including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
According to Statistics Canada, businesses in Quebec (72 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (67 per cent) were most likely to be approved for federal funding or credit. Over 84 per cent of these businesses were in the accommodation and food services sector while 75 per cent were in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
Over 43 per cent of businesses applied for and were approved for the CEBA, led by businesses in Quebec and British Columbia. Businesses in the accommodation and food services sector, transportation and warehousing, and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector were most likely to be approved for the CEBA.
The data found that less than 23 per cent of businesses reported being approved for the CEWS with most of those being approved in the accommodation and food services sector and in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
Of the businesses that were approved for the CEWS, 53 per cent reported that the subsidy allowed them to hire back 30 per cent or more of their workforce while 23 per cent of businesses found that the subsidy allowed them to hire back all of their employees.
In addition, 24 percent of businesses reported they had their rent or mortgage payments deferred, while six per cent had their deferral requests rejected. The data found that 60 per cent of businesses had not asked or been offered the option to defer payments.
Statistics Canada said over half of the businesses surveyed report that revenues fell by 30 per cent or more in April 2020 compared to the same month the previous year, while one-third of businesses reported that revenues were down by 50 per cent or more.
Over three-quarters of businesses in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector and in the accommodation and food services sector experienced revenue drops of 30 per cent or more. In contrast, nearly three-fifths of businesses in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector and just over two-fifths of businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services sector and the finance and insurance sector reported either no change or an increase in revenue.
While revenue was down, 41 per cent of the businesses reported that their expenses -- excluding salaries and wages -- have stayed the same compared to April 2019 with 32 per cent reporting that their expenses have actually declined.
According to the data, 19 per cent of businesses said they could continue to operate at their current level of revenue and expenditures for less than six months before considering further stay layoffs, business closure or bankruptcy.