Canadian Manufacturing

Recovery plan inspires confidence but Canadians like working from home for now: Poll

The vast majority of Canadians who've been working from home aren't eager to rush back to their work places as cases of COVID-19 surge across the country

September 29, 2020  The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government’s economic recovery plan has inspired some confidence that it will create jobs and a stronger economy in future, a new poll suggests.

But, in the meantime, the vast majority of Canadians who’ve been working from home aren’t eager to rush back to their work places as cases of COVID-19 surge across the country.

52% of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian studies, said they are very (9%) or somewhat (43%) confident that the recovery plan, outlined in last week’s throne speech, will create jobs and strengthen the economy in future.

39% were not very or not at all confident.

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The throne speech appears to have given the governing Liberals a boost, with their support up five points over the past week, to 40% of decided voters. The Conservatives had the support of 30%, the NDP 17% and the Greens 5%.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois was slightly ahead of the Liberals, 32% to 30%.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also appears to have tapped into the public mood when he predicted that a second wave of COVID-19 this fall will potentially be worse than the first wave last spring, which sent the country into lockdown. 72% of respondents agreed with his dire assessment, offered during a televised address to the nation following the throne speech.

Fear of a worse second wave may explain why 82% of respondents who’ve been working from home said they’d prefer to commute to work only when needed and continue working from home “much more often” in the coming weeks. Only 4% said they’d prefer to return to their usual commuting schedule.

The poll suggests Canadians have also found they’re quite happy working from home.

A whopping 89% said they have found working from home to be a very (48%) or somewhat (41%) positive experience. Just 9% said it’s been a somewhat or very negative experience.

And 86% agreed with the statement, “I am getting used to this new lifestyle and I like it.”

31% agreed that “working from home was great for a while but I now feel the need to go back to the office.” But 32% said that if ordered to go back to their work places, they’d look for another job where they could work from home.

Overall, 32% of respondents said they are still working from home, while 23% said they’re back in their work places and another 29% said they never left.

Just 5% of respondents said they’ve lost their jobs permanently as a result of the pandemic. But another 11% said they’ve experienced temporary job loss and 12% said they’ve lost some income.

15% said they fear losing their jobs in the next few weeks.

Fully 86% think a second wave of COVID-19 will sweep the country. Indeed, 62% said we’ve already entered the second wave and 55 per cent predicted the worst of the crisis is yet to come.

70% said they think it’s very (20%) or somewhat (50%) likely that Canada will go back into a lockdown similar to last spring. And 61% said they’re very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19.

Despite that grim outlook, a total of 60% admitted they’ve relaxed some of the safety measures recommended by public health authorities, including physical distancing (40% have relaxed), wearing a mask in indoor public places (36%), frequent hand washing (35%) and avoiding large gatherings (34%).

The online poll of 1,514 adult Canadians was conducted Sept. 25 to 27; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.