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One-in-three Canadians say they're worse off now than a year ago: poll

Last Updated Mar 25, 2021 at 6:47 pm MDT

OTTAWA – A year into the pandemic, a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute shows a large number of Canadians are hurting financially and uncertain about the future.

For over a year now, COVID-19 has ravaged the Canadian economy, closing thousands of businesses and stripping millions of Canadians of their jobs.

According to the survey, one-in-three Canadians say they are worse off now than they were 12 months ago.

“I think we see a continued amount of anxiety a continued amount of uncertainty among Canadians,” said Angus Reid’s Shachi Kurl.

Ottawa has rolled out numerous subsidy programs to try and soften the financial blow but still, these numbers show Canadians are still wounded and concerned about the future.

The poll also found 62 per cent of Canadians are worried about having enough savings for retirement.

And 53 per cent are worried about losing their job in the near future.

Kurl says she’s seeing a divide in optimism among Canadians.

“You have almost two sides of the Canadian poetical spectrum. One side of which tends to be a little more secure, doing a little bit better, they’re very worried about a deficit, a job growth. And you have another side much more of the view that this isn’t the time to start thinking about or talking about those things.”

Eighteen per cent of Canadians said they are suffering and 25 say the last year has been challenging.

Albertans and Saskatchewanians were most likely to say they are suffering.

In Ottawa, the pandemic has provided a mix of hardship and opportunity according to people we spoke.

“If I’m comparing apples to apples, I’m worse off like everyone,” said one person.

“I think I’m the exception I think I’m a little bit better just because my expenses are lower I don’t have to drive to work , I don’t move too much I stay home most of the time,” another told CityNews.

“Since the pandemic, I haven’t worked at all. I’m a full-time student so it’s a little difficult,” said another.

“I just looked at it as an opportunity to pivot, I actually landed a better job that was at a higher wage,” someone said.

The survey also showing financial stress is highest among Canadians aged 35-54.