Skip to content

Jobless numbers to be released and return of 'Hamilton'; In The News for May 8


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 8 ...


COVID-19 in Canada ....

OTTAWA — The adequacy of federal emergency benefits to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis is bound to come under scrutiny today as the country gets the first real glimpse of the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.

Statistics Canada is to release the jobless numbers for April — the first full month in which the economy was virtually shut down while all but essential workers stayed home to prevent the spread of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19.

One million were thrown out of work in March — a record-breaking jobs loss that saw the unemployment rate shoot up 2.2 points to 7.8 per cent — and that was before the full force of the pandemic was felt in Canada.

Non-essential businesses only began to shut down in mid-March and are only now taking the tentative, first steps towards re-opening.

The Trudeau government has shovelled some $150 billion into benefits to help cushion the blow, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a 75 per cent wage subsidy, commercial rent relief and a host of targeted measures to help particularly hard hit individuals and sectors, including students, farmers, artists and front-line essential workers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to use today's daily briefing on the pandemic responding to the calamitous jobless numbers and highlight all the ways the federal government has tried to help.


Also this ...

CALGARY — Canadian livestock groups say producers are suffering after COVID-19 outbreaks led to a series of closures and slowdowns at meat-processing plants across the country.

A backlog of animals waiting to be processed has cattle producers paying more to maintain their inventory.

And in one case a hog producer was forced to euthanize some of his animals because they had nowhere to go.

Chris White, head of the Canadian Meat Council, says there is a backlog on both the cattle and pork side, and it's not going to improve until plants across the country ramp up to full capacity.

An official with the Canadian Pork Council says the backlog in the pork industry is over 140,000 and, since hogs are ready for market sooner than cattle, the situation is getting worse.

Gary Stordy says one producer ended up having to euthanize 200 animals, and it was a blow for people in the industry.

Dennis Laycraft from the Canadian Cattlemen's Association says the beef backlog has hit 100,000 cattle, and the industry could lose a half billion dollars by the end of June.


COVID-19 in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government is poised to report the worst set of job numbers since record-keeping began in 1948, a snapshot of the devastating damage the coronavirus outbreak has inflicted on the economy.

The unemployment rate could reach 16 per cent or more. Twenty-one million jobs may have been lost in April.

If so, it would mean that nearly all the job growth in the 11 years since the Great Recession ended had vanished in one month.

Even those grim numbers won't fully capture the scope of the damage the coronavirus has inflicted on jobs and incomes.

Many people who are still employed have had their hours reduced. Others have suffered pay cuts.


COVID-19 around the world ...

From India to Argentina, in refugee camps and capital cities, millions struggling on the economic margins of societies have had their lives made even harder by pandemic lockdowns, layoffs and the loss of a chance to earn from a hard day's work.

The International Labor Organizations says more than four out of five people in the global labour force of 3.3 billion have been affected by full or partial workplace closures.

Moreover, about 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy "stand in immediate danger of having their livelihoods destroyed."


COVID-19 in sports ...

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — War, fire, political strife and the death of monarchs have interrupted the Royal St. John's Regatta over two centuries of boat racing.

Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic sports festival in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador has been called off by disease for the first time.

"We're devastated," said Bradley Power, president of the volunteer organizing committee.

The regatta is traditionally run on the first Wednesday in August, a floating St. John's civic holiday subject to change if adverse weather delays racing. This year's race was scheduled for Aug. 5.

The regatta has deep cultural and historic roots in the city. The first record of organized rowing races in St. John's was in 1816. It celebrated its 200th anniversary two years ago and declares itself to be the oldest organized sporting event in North America.

The pandemic joins the death of British kings, a decade of civil unrest starting in 1861, the Great Fire of 1892, and the First and Second World Wars among crisis that kept boats out of the lake.

In 202 years, there have been 24 with no regatta, Power said. The last cancellation was in 1940 during the Second World War.


COVID-19 in entertainment ...

TORONTO — Mirvish Productions says it expects "Hamilton" will return to Toronto after the much-hyped musical's Canadian run was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theatre company sent an email to ticket-holders who requested refunds for cancelled performances Thursday asking them to reconsider, offering priority access to seats should the production resume at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Mirvish says they're aiming to bring "Hamilton" back to the stage within 18 months, and while the schedule is still in flux, producers intend to restart the show "at their earliest convenience."

It says this timeline will depend on getting the green light from public health officials that it's safe for audiences, performers and staff to return to the theatre.

Mirvish's director of sales and marketing says the offer in the email, which was obtained by The Canadian Press, only applies to a "closed group of people."

John Karastamatis says Mirvish has "no details to share with the public," because no dates have been confirmed.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2020

The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks