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COVID-19 Vulnerability Varies Across Atlantic Canada’s Communities

Date: February 24, 2021

New report reveals how differences in industry and demographic factors may shape the recovery for geographic regions in Atlantic Canada.

For Immediate Release

February 24, 2021 

HALIFAX – Travel-related, customer-facing and commodity-based industries are among the most negatively affected by COVID-19. Rural areas are typically more vulnerable to these economic impacts because of their greater dependence on these industries. This is one of the main findings from a new report released today by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC). The report was commissioned by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) and examines the industry and economic vulnerability of all 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada.

“The recovery path for each community will be different due to variations in their industry structure,” says Patrick Brannon, lead author and Director of Major Projects. “Governments should consider the distinctive aspects of urban and rural areas in their plans to support the recovery of all regions.”

The Atlantic Industry Vulnerability Index used in this report measures the share of the labour force in industries that have been most adversely impacted by COVID-19. Prince Edward Island (36%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (35%) have larger shares of high-risk industries than the rest of the region. At the county level there are large differences, with the industry vulnerability index ranging from 18% to 53%.

For each county, the report also examines indicators of its health vulnerability to COVID-19, its labour force exposure to demographic groups that have had the highest rates of job loss, and structural characteristics that may influence its longer-term recovery.

“Greater understanding of the unique impacts to each community by creating county vulnerability profiles will identify what is needed for recovery and help inform governments about the delivery of support,” say Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce. “This was a critical undertaking for us. Our trusted partners at APEC have delivered a vital resource for businesses, communities, economic development agencies, and governments as Atlantic Canadians work to rebuild the post-pandemic economy.

As APEC’s recent Looking Ahead report on urban and rural dynamics emphasized, rural communities will need immigration to help meet their future labour force needs and to sustain their economic output. “Atlantic migration trends have improved considerably over the last five years,” says Brannon. “It remains to be seen whether this will continue post-pandemic.”

This report contains dashboards and comparative tables for all 47 counties and divisions in Atlantic Canada, identifying key variables that measure their vulnerability to COVID-19. It is intended to help communities develop informed strategies to support their recovery.

Please click here for a copy of the full report, additional links to individual sections, or individual profiles.

To schedule an interview with report author, Patrick Brannon, APEC, please contact: 

Erica Parrill 
Communications Manager, APEC 
Email: erica.parrill@apec-econ.ca
Mobile: 902-877-2159


To speak with Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, please contact: 
Patti Colson
Communications Manager, ACC
E-mail:patti@atlanticchamber.ca
Mobile: 902.694.2210

This report was commissioned by: 

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