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Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) tops 5 most searched finance topics of 2020 on Yahoo

Jessy Bains
·2 min read

#1 CERB:

Part of a cheque for the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable award from the Canadian government made every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is seen in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

When the pandemic hit, millions of Canadians’ jobs were affected. They faced layoffs, reduced hours, and business closures. These people needed to know how the $2,000 a month benefit worked and how to apply. They wanted to keep track of changes, when it would eventually end and be replaced by new programs like CRB. There were also a lot of questions about how Ottawa would pay for it.

#2 Air Canada:

An Air Canada airlines plane prepares to take off at the Benito Juarez International airport, in Mexico City, on May 20, 2020, amid the new Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. - From suspending all flights to reducing their employees' wages, Latin American airlines take extreme measures and cry for government aid in the face of the expansion of the coronavirus, which could leave them losses of 15,000 million dollars this year. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO / AFP) (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

COVID-19 put an end to travel plans and airlines were among the hardest hit industries. Air Canada was forced to cancel flights because of travel restrictions. It also cut routes and laid off staff. It sought government assistance and investors watched its share price plummet in the early days of the pandemic. Although shares have rallied on vaccine news, there’s still a long way to go before a return to its pre-pandemic high.

#3 WestJet:

A WestJet airplane comes in for a landing at Calgary International airport, home of Canada's WestJet Airlines in Calgary, Alberta, May 5, 2009. WestJet Airlines Ltd posted a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly earnings on Tuesday and said it expected to emerge stronger than ever from a global slowdown in air travel, sending its shares surging.  REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA BUSINESS TRANSPORT)

It was a similar story for rival WestJet in its first year as a private company. A key difference was how it handled cancelled trips. In October, WestJet announced it would provide refunds for all customers whose flights were cancelled as a result of COVID-19. Air Canada has also provided refunds to customers, but those who purchased non-refundable tickets have been offered travel vouchers instead of cash. It led to something of a spat on Twitter between the two airlines.

#4 Oil Prices:

Well head pumping oil into storage tank at a well site about 60 kilometres east of the field office during a tour of Gear Energy's well sites near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan August 27, 2015. Amid the corn and canola fields of eastern Saskatchewan, oil foreman Dwayne Roy is doing what Saudi Arabia and fellow OPEC producers are loath to do: shutting the taps on active wells. Inside a six-foot-square wooden shed that houses a basic hydraulic pump, the Gear Energy Ltd employee demonstrates how shutting down a conventional heavy oil well in this lesser-known Canadian oil patch is as simple as flipping a switch. His company has already done so hundreds of times this year, making the Lloydminster industry among the first in the world to yield in a global battle for oil market share that has sent crude prices tumbling to six-year lows. Picture taken August 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber

Lockdowns meant demand for Texas tea and Canadian crude would fall through the floor, causing prices to plummet. That was great news for people filling up their cars, but scary for oil producing parts of the country. Though prices have partially recovered, it’s still a tough slog for the oil patch, where companies with battered share prices are struggling to turn the profit of the past.

#5 Swoop:

Employees walk onto a plane during a presentation by WestJet celebrating Canada's first ultra low cost airline, Swoop, at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, June 19, 2018.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

It was supposed to be a big year for WestJet’s ultra-discount carrier. Swoop was going to embark on an ambitious expansion plan and add new travel destinations to its roster, including Victoria, Kamloops, and San Diego. But of course 2020 had other ideas and the plans were shelved.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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