Ottawa, April 10 (IANS) More than one million Canadians lost their jobs in March, as the country locked down to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The data, released by the Statistics Canada on Thursday saw the largest loss of jobs in a single month since the records began in 1976, the BBC reported.
The report said that "measuring the labour market is not business as usual" for the end of March.
Statistics Canada said 1,011,000 jobs were lost across the country, driving the unemployment rate up 2.2 per cent to 7.8 per cent from last month.
The February unemployment rate stood at 5.6 per cent.
Between March 15-21, an estimated 1.3 million people were not able to work due to COVID-19, the BBC quoted the agency as saying.
An additional 800,000 worked half of the hours they normally would.
All together, approximately 3.1 million people were affected either by job loss or reduced hours.
The country was now at its lowest employment rate since April 1997.
In his briefing on Thursday after the new numbers were released, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "As stark at those numbers are they aren't a surprise."
"We all knew this was going to be a tough time," the BBC quoted Trudeau as saying.
He added that other countries were facing similar problems as a result of the global pandemic.
Trudeau further said that portions of the economy can expect to re-open over the summer, after the first wave of infections have passed.
But he warned that smaller outbreaks coukd be expected to continue throughout the summer.
There have been 19,290 confirmed cases in Canada and 436 deaths, according to figures from the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.