The economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown sees a new record set for job losses in one month.
March saw the largest loss of jobs in a single month since records began in 1976.
Justin Trudeau described the latest official data, released by Canada’s federal statistics agency on Thursday, as a “hard day for the country.”
“We’re facing a unique challenge,” he said. “But I know that if we pull together, our economy will come roaring back after this crisis.”
There have been 19,290 confirmed cases in Canada and 436 deaths, according to figures from John Hopkins University.
Statistics Canada said 1,011,000 jobs were lost across the country in March, driving the unemployment rate to 7.8%.
Between 15-21 March, an estimated 1.3m people were not able to work due to Covid-19, Statistics Canada said.
Altogether, approximately 3.1m people were affected either by job loss or reduced hours, according to the data.
The jobs rate dropped in every province, with Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec hardest-hit.
“Urgent action needed”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce responded to the news by calling the data “expected” and “historically bad.”
“Countless more jobs will be lost if we can’t urgently get employers the wage supports they need,” a statement by the chamber said, warning that businesses were still weeks away from receiving any financial assistance.
Canada has already lowered interest rates and introduced the country’s largest-ever economic bail-out.
Under the bail-out plan announced by Trudeau’s government, businesses that have lost more than 30% of their revenue are eligible for a wage subsidy worth up to 75% of their payroll.
On Wednesday, the country’s two major banks warned the damage could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis, and it could take longer for Canada to recover.