New data from Statistics Canada show that the majority of Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments made last year went to workers in industries pummelled by lockdowns.
StatsCan reported that 66.6% of workers in accommodation and food services received CERB payments last year — the highest rate among all sectors. In the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, 62.7% of workers claimed CERB.
Those numbers reflected a steep decline in the hours employees in both sectors worked last year. From March to September, workers in accommodation and food services saw their hours drop by 41.2%, while workers in arts, entertainment and recreation saw their hours drop by 44.8%.
Low-wage workers were more likely to claim CERB than high-wage workers, StatsCan reported. More than half of workers who earned less than $29,649 in 2019 claimed CERB last year, compared with 11.3% of employees who earned $132,517 or more in 2019.
Visible minorities (41.4%) were more likely to receive CERB than non-visible minorities (32%). The groups most likely to receive the benefit were West Asian (50.8%), Southeast Asian (48.3%) and Arab (45.4%), followed by Korean (43.3%), Black (43%) and Latino (41.8%) workers.
Indigenous people were also more likely to claim CERB: 41.5% of First Nations, 40.3% of Inuit and 36.2% of Métis workers received the benefit last year.
Overall, women (36.3%) were more likely than men (34.2%) to receive CERB payments. Younger workers were also more likely to claim CERB: 53.9% of women aged 15–24 received the benefit, compared with 50.4% of men in the same age group.