Many worry about precarious finances amid second wave

By Mark Burgess | October 27, 2020 | Last updated on November 29, 2023
2 min read
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More than four in 10 Canadians say their financial position isn’t strong enough to endure a second wave of Covid-19, according to an industry group’s survey, and almost one-third are worried their finances won’t recover from the crisis.

Leger conducted an online survey of more than 1,500 Canadians in mid-September for financial planning organization FP Canada. Covid-19 cases have since risen in many parts of the country, forcing some governments to renew restrictions on businesses.

More than one-third of respondents said they’ve had to draw from savings or take on new debt to cover expenses since the onset of the pandemic. Yet, only 41% said they’re worse off than before the pandemic began.

The economic recovery from the pandemic has been described as K-shaped by some economists: those able to work remotely and hold onto securities since the spring have fared well, while millions of others lost their jobs and relied on government support. Savings rates have risen, retail sales have rebounded and the housing market has been red hot in many regions since the summer.

But the pandemic has disproportionately affected women and young people, with unemployment highest among those groups. The FP Canada survey found that respondents in the “sandwich generation” — Canadians in their 40s and 50s who have children and also care for elderly parents — are most worried about their financial health.

The survey also found that younger Canadians were most reliant on government benefits. More than half of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they had borrowed to make up for shortfalls, and 15% had turned to family for help.

Another survey from accounting industry group CPA Canada showed similar results. Roughly one-third of respondents to the Nielsen survey conducted in the middle of September said their income and savings are lower since the onset of the pandemic. One in five said they plan to retire later because of Covid-19.

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Mark Burgess

Mark was the managing editor of from 2017 to 2024.