Almost 39% of Canadians are financially “worse off” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 18% are “better off.”
The index uses polling data by the Angus Reid Group, which surveyed over 2,000 Canadians from September 1 to September 8. The study found that those who are worse off are nearly four times more likely to say their debt load is “overwhelming” and that feeding their family is “challenging.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the affordability gap, intensifying economic disparities across the country,” the report notes.
Of the people surveyed, there is a “clear divide” between Canadians who are losing ground versus those whose financial situation hasn’t changed, or improved during the pandemic.
According to the report, Canadians are more likely to have had their personal finances worsen this year if they are self-employed (60%), employed part-time (44%), have experienced layoffs or reduced salary during the pandemic (67%), or have an income under $50,000 (42%).
“For the past three years, the BDO Affordability Index has shown that Canadians are struggling more and more with the cost of living,” said Doug Jones, President of BDO Canada Limited.
“Faced with COVID-19; however, the perception of affordability has changed. Canadians are saving and cutting back on spending, but they are also finding it more difficult to keep up with debt. These factors will likely put long-term stress on families and the economy.”
The survey also found that two-thirds of Canadians with debt can’t keep up with debt payments or have to sacrifice parts of their budgeting.
Residents of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario were more likely to accrue debt during the pandemic.