London

Help wanted! Jobs are available in southwestern Ontario despite COVID layoffs

It may sound paradoxical but as millions of Canadians apply for employment insurance benefits to deal with layoffs resulting from the pandemic, there are still companies in Southwestern Ontario looking to hire workers.

Workers needed for health care roles, delivery drivers for pharmacies and grocery stores

Some companies are still hiring, despite the downtown in the economy. Positions available include roles in health care, call centres, and delivery drivers for pharmacies and grocery stores, according to Andrew McMurray, a business development manager with Goodwill Industries in London. (Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock)

It may sound paradoxical but as millions of Canadians apply for employment insurance benefits to deal with layoffs resulting from the pandemic, there are still companies in southwestern Ontario looking to hire workers.

In fact, some companies in the region are having trouble filling positions because many people don't know there are jobs out there in which to apply. 

Andrew McMurray is a business development manager with Goodwill Industries, which has operations in London, Sarnia and Chatham.

McMurray told CBC's London Morning on Monday that most of the jobs are in health-care or related support roles, positions that involve work-from-home call centres, and delivery driving for a range of retail operations, including pharmacies and grocery stores.

"That obviously doesn't replace all of the sudden temporary loss of work across our region, which is beyond anything that we've seen." 

"But if you're looking for a little bit of extra work right now, support from our team at the [Goodwill] career centre can go a long way during these social distancing times," said McMurray, noting the service is free.

Walmart, Dollarama and some food-delivery companies announced last month that they'd be hiring more people during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep up with demand.

There are also companies willing to increase the hourly wage, in order to keep up with demand. 

Another industry, as companies ramp up online sales, will be in IT and ecommerce. 

The business development manager of Goodwill Industries tells London Morning about some of the employment opportunities that have been created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 5:23

There is the question of how companies square the need for workers with the risks that are associated with working, specifically in jobs outside the home. 

McMurray said it's important that workers stay safe and follow distancing and handwashing requirements. He added, Goodwill career centre staff can help people figure out if a job is safe and entails a reasonable degree of risk.

"We can be a conduit, a liaison between the employer and an individual who might be job seeking, to help figure out 'is this okay?'

Meantime, if you are out of work and are planning on applying for the government's Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), recruiters do say it's important to let your professional circle know that you're out of a job, in case something comes up. 

Opportunities could arise and if people know you're looking they could reach out to you directly.