Canadians expect bold action to deal with economic and social impact of pandemic: Abacus Data

EARLIER this month, the Broadbent Institute commissioned Abacus Data to conduct a national public opinion survey to explore the kind of recovery agenda Canadians want the federal government to set in response to the pandemic.

1. Almost half (45%) think the worst of the pandemic is still to come and only 19% think the worst is behind us.

2. Most Canadians believe the pandemic has had negative impacts on many aspects of life, including the availability of good-paying jobs, the ability to prepare for retirement, housing affordability, and wealth and income inequality in Canada.

3. Almost all Canadians (82%) believe that the wealth of Canada’s richest people is better off or has not been impacted by the pandemic while most think the economic and social well-being of youth, racialized Canadians, and women have been negative impacted.

4. 65% of Canadians believe “the pandemic has highlighted problems with how the economy and social policies are run in Canada and major changes are needed to ensure that these problems do not happen again if there is another crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.”

5. Given this, half (54%) of Canadians want to see the federal government announce bold new ideas for how to fundamentally improve people’s lives and deal with climate change. 36% want the federal government to announce some changes, but nothing that fundamentally changes how things are done. 10% want the government to keep the direction it set before the pandemic and change very little.

6. There is a broad and deep desire from Canadians to see a post-COVID recovery agenda that helps make Canada more self-sufficient on manufacturing/growing key products, one that puts people first, improves public services, helps transition to a low-carbon economy, and forces the richest in Canada to help pay for the new investments.