In my most recent post, I did some eyeball econometrics and missed something. It turns out that Canadian and US employment flows during the recession were not quite as dissimilar as I had thought. (Thanks to Dan Kervick in the comments for catching it.)
It looked to me as though the size of the red bars was roughly constant throughout, but there was something happening near the end of 2008. Here is the same graph, but with layoffs on the bottom:
Sure enough, you do see a blip in layoffs. But since the number of quits was falling rapidly as well, separations didn't start falling until layoffs returned to normal at roughly the same time as they did in the US.
During the worst of the crisis, the fall in hiring and the increase in layoffs made roughly equal contributions to the decline in employment. Layoffs returned to their usual levels by the end of 2009, but as mentioned before, hiring is still well below pre-recession levels.
(I changed the sign of the layoffs series so that its changes could be more readily compared to changes in hiring.)