Statistics Canada reported Friday that the unemployment rate stayed steady at 6.8 per cent.
The loss of 19,700 jobs was worse than the 5,000 that a consensus of economists was expecting, according to Bloomberg.
The economy dumped more than 66,000 part-time jobs during the month. That more than offset a gain of 44,000 full-time jobs.
Major retails chains Target and Future Shop closed their doors during the month, and a large number of those positions would have been of the part-time variety. The trade sector, which includes retail jobs, lost more than 20,000 jobs during the month by itself.
The weak April jobs numbers come on the heels of a March in which the economy unexpectedly created more than 28,000 jobs, Statistics Canada says.
Energy-rich Alberta added 12,500 net jobs last month — even though the province's natural resources sector lost 3,500 positions at a time of lower oil prices. The province's sector had 17,200 fewer jobs compared to a year ago, down 9.5 per cent, but its unemployment rate stayed at 5.5 per cent.
The data also showed that British Columbia lost 28,700 net jobs last month and saw its unemployment rate rise to 6.3 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent the month before.