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A fresh wave of layoffs is pushing Albertans to the edge — and in danger of losing their homes

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If Albertans begin to sell their houses in a financial panic, we could start to see defaults happening as early as this year, but more likely in the first half of 2021, she said.

Still, Lurie’s concerned about both the number of mortgage deferrals in the province and the unemployment rate.

As the downturn in Alberta’s energy sector has dragged on, professionals have become more open to permanently leaving the oil and gas business. Photo by Postmedia

The number of Calgarians calling human resource placement agencies has skyrocketed as the year has worn on, erasing the optimism that had returned to the energy sector in 2019 when companies had begun contemplating growth projects once again.

“There started to be a little bit of hope entering the energy sector and there was a little bit of optimism. Then, boom, we’re hit by this pandemic and it’s like being hit by a bus,” said Jackie Rafter, chief executive of Higher Landing Inc., a Calgary-based HR company that trains out-of-work energy professionals for their next job.

Peggy, the out-of-work Calgary mom-of-three, is currently one of Rafter’s clients and hopeful the experience will help her find a job by the spring. She’s looking beyond the oil and gas industry at positions where her skills can be quickly put to work, but is still bracing for a tough winter.

In Rafter’s experience, professionals from the oil and gas industry that aren’t willing to make a career transition and switching to another industry are often stuck being unemployed for a longer period.

“Those that were not open to change, some of them are still out of work,” Rafter said. “These are the people that have lost their homes, their families, their health.”

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