Ottawa, ON — The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a negative impact on the economy as a whole and on newly certified journeypersons in particular. Journeypersons who were newly certified in 2020 earned a median employment income of $50,080 that year, which marked a 5.2 per cent drop compared with those who were certified in 2019, reports Statistics Canada.
This was seen in the take-up rates of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) among skilled tradespeople (38.4 per cent) and the general working population (35.2 per cent). The decline also represented one of the lowest median employment incomes of newly certified journeypersons since the series started in 2008.
In 2020, due to unprecedented challenges from the pandemic, the median employment income of newly certified journeypersons fell across Canada, compared with that of journeypersons who certified the previous year.
The median employment income of newly certified journeypersons remained highest in the territories (down 13.5 per cent to $66,540) and Alberta (down 7.0 per cent to $57,230). While both jurisdictions experienced significant drops, Newfoundland and Labrador (down 16.3 per cent) recorded the largest decline from 2019. Statistics Canada adds that the median employment income of journeypersons largely depends on the state of the local labour market and the economy in general.
Only three of the 31 trades saw growth in the median earnings of newly certified journeypersons from 2019 to 2020, namely agricultural equipment technicians (up 9.8 per cent), industrial instrumentation and control technicians (up 4.4 per cent) and powerline technicians (up1.1 per cent). The remaining trades experienced decreases somewhere between 0.4 per cent to 31.2 per cent.
Additionally, the report states that the working environments and conditions differed significantly between journeypersons and other postsecondary graduates. As a result, the restrictions implemented in response to the pandemic led to different impacts and outcomes for each group.
The disproportionate impact on journeypersons was evident when comparing the take-up rates of CERB, 38.4 per cent of journeypersons received CERB compared with 31.4 per cent of those with an undergraduate degree. The variance increased further with higher levels of education, as graduates with a professional, master’s or doctoral degree had CERB take-up rates ranging from 13.3 per cent to 19.0 per cent.