More than a third (35 per cent) of Canadians said they expect to lose their job or the main source of self-employment income in the next four weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Statistics Canada.
The survey, which polled more than 4,600 Canadians in all 10 provinces in late March and early April, found people were much more likely to feel insecure about their level of work if they’d been absent from work in the week prior to the survey because of the coronavirus (62 per cent) than if they’d worked part or all of that week (30 per cent). The survey noted coronavirus-related reasons for absence included self-isolation after travel, caring for children due to school closures, as well as business closures or temporary lay-offs.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were more likely (42 per cent) to say they felt uncertain they’d continue to have a job than people aged 25 to 54 (34 per cent) and those 55 and older (33 per cent). However, Statistics Canada its labour force survey found the 25 to 54 age group saw the largest decrease in employment from February to March.
Nearly a third (29 per cent) of Canadians said the pandemic and resulting lockdown is having a moderate or major impact on their ability to meet their financial obligations and key priorities such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities and groceries. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) said it was too soon to tell and fewer than half (47 per cent) said they’d experienced a minor impact or no impact at all.
People who’d been absent from work the week prior to the survey were much more likely (60 per cent) to say they’ve experienced a moderate or major impact on their ability to meet financial needs than those who’ve worked part or all of that week (27 per cent) and those who weren’t employed (24 per cent).
The financial strain caused by the pandemic has also harmed people’s mental health, reported Statistics Canada. The share of Canadians who reported their mental health as being fair or poor was twice as high for people who also said the pandemic has had a moderate or major impact on their financial situation (25 per cent) compared to those who said it had little or no impact (13 per cent).
Almost half (44 per cent) of respondents who said they’ve seen a moderate or major financial hit reported being very or extremely concerned about their own health, while 29 per cent who’ve experienced little or no financial harm said the same.