As the world and Canada enters year two of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s continuing to have an uneven impact on Canadians’ finances, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.
The poll found 34 per cent of Canadians were worse off now than they were 12 months ago, with 45 per cent of these respondents in the lowest-income group surveyed. While 47 per cent said their financial situation didn’t change as a result of the pandemic, 16 per cent said they were now better off, the latter of which were also more likely to report the highest household income.
Nearly one-fifth (15 per cent) of respondents’ were described as financially “thriving,” followed by “secure” (42 per cent), “challenged” (25 per cent) and “struggling” (18 per cent). Among respondents in the challenged or struggling categories, household job loss was a key concern, at 66 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively. While 62 per cent of Canadians overall expressed concern about how they’ll support themselves in retirement, this proportion jumped to 77 per cent among the challenged and 91 per cent among the suffering.
Respondents between the ages of 35 and 54 reported the highest levels of financial stress, with more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents in the suffering category reporting stress tied to excessive credit card debt. Regarding future financial optimism, only 38 per cent of Canadians were confident they’ll live as well as their parents’ generation. While 63 per cent among the thriving said they’ll match or exceed this standard, just 13 per cent of suffering respondents held this view.