Nearly 3 in 10 Canadians say finances are in bad or terrible shape

But retirees on fixed incomes are among the most resilient as coronavirus fuels rising concern

Nearly 3 in 10 Canadians say finances are in bad or terrible shape
Steve Randall

With nobody able to make any solid predictions as to when Canada – and the rest of the world – will get back to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are concerned about their financial strength.

While 6 in 10 say their financial situation is “in good shape” they also say they are concerned about the coronavirus outbreak lasting a long time.

For 27% of respondents to a new survey by Angus Reid Institute, things are already at breaking point. More than 2 in 10 said that their financial situation is already in bad shape and they are just keeping their head above water.

But 5% of respondent said their finances are in terrible shape and they cannot manage.

Those aged 45-54 are worst hit with 37% saying their financial situation is bad or terrible; around 3 in 10 of younger Canadians said this.

Conversely, 12% said their financial situation is in great shape and can handle anything that comes over the long term.

Older respondents who are more likely to be on fixed incomes in retirement were the most positive. Of the 65+ age group, 85% said their finances were good or great, although 15% said they are bad or terrible.

Sentiment across the board is weak though, with 87% saying that they expect things to get worse for the economy. 

Job losses
With job losses coming deep and fast, the survey highlights the impact on Canadian households.

By the start of April, 45% of households had lost work or been laid off, 12% anticipate lost work, 27% are not expecting to lose work, and 15% are not working.

Younger workers are more likely to have lost work.

Almost two thirds of those households that have lost work say they could not cope with any extra expense right now, with a similar share saying they could only cope with an extra $100 to pay out.

Among those that have lost work, 46% have applied for employment insurance already, 14% will apply, and 45% will apply for the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

However, a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns that one third of Canadians will not be eligible for either EI or CERB.