Media Release: Windsor, St. Catharines-Niagara and Thunder Bay suffer sharpest job losses from pandemic shutdown


[La version française suit le texte anglais.]


TORONTO, June 23, 2020 - The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has released a new report assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on labour markets in Ontario’s major cities.

Windsor has been the hardest hit city by pandemic-related job losses (-19.1 per cent) over the February to May period, particularly in its manufacturing sector. Employment also declined significantly in St. Catharines-Niagara (-15.6 per cent) and Thunder Bay (-15.2 per cent). In contrast, Guelph experienced the smallest relative job loss among Ontario cities with employment down 4.9 per cent.

Province-wide, employment fell by 64,500 jobs in May, adding to much larger job losses posted in March and April. Since the pandemic began in March, Ontario has experienced the sharpest pace of job loss among all the Canadian provinces.

Looking ahead, Ontario is likely to experience an increase in employment in June, reflecting the gradual reopening of the economy. However, given the different timing of the reopening across the province, the pace of job creation will vary among regions and cities.

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick Facts:

  • Toronto, which accounted for more than half the province-wide decline in employment, saw job losses of 13.3 per cent over the February to May period.
  • In nine of 15 major cities in Ontario, unemployment rates more than doubled since February.
  • Ontario’s young workers (aged 15-24) have experienced almost three times the rate of job loss compared to older workers (25 years and older) since February.
  • Female workers have experienced more severe job losses, with employment down by 17.2 per cent (or 616,900 jobs) since February compared to a 13.6 per cent (or -539,600) drop for males.
  • Employment gains in May occurred in industries that have been gradually reopening, including manufacturing (13,700), accommodation and food services (10,200), wholesale and retail trade (3,800), and construction (3,100).

About the FAO

Established by the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) provides independent analysis on the state of the Province’s finances, trends in the provincial economy and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit and follow us on Twitter at


For further information, please contact:
Jessica Martin l 647 527 2385 l l