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.
Fifty-two percent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian studies, said they are very (nine percent) or somewhat (43 percent) confident that the recovery plan, outlined in last week’s throne speech, will create jobs and strengthen the economy in future.
Thirty-nine percent were not very or not at all confident.
The throne speech appears to have given the governing Liberals a boost, with their support up five points over the past week, to 40 percent of decided voters. The Conservatives had the support of 30 percent, the NDP 17 percent and the Greens five percent.
In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois was slightly ahead of the Liberals, 32 percent to 30 percent.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 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. Seventy-two percent 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 percent 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 four percent 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 percent said they have found working from home to be a very (48 percent) or somewhat (41 percent) positive experience. Just nine percent said it’s been a somewhat or very negative experience.
And 86 percent agreed with the statement, “I am getting used to this new lifestyle and I like it.”
Thirty-one percent agreed that “working from home was great for a while but I now feel the need to go back to the office.” But 32 percent 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 percent of respondents said they are still working from home, while 23 percent said they’re back in their work places and another 29 percent said they never left.
Just five percent of respondents said they’ve lost their jobs permanently as a result of the pandemic. But another 11 percent said they’ve experienced temporary job loss and 12 percent said they’ve lost some income.
Fifteen percent said they fear losing their jobs in the next few weeks.
Fully 86 percent think a second wave of COVID-19 will sweep the country. Indeed, 62 percent said we’ve already entered the second wave and 55 percent predicted the worst of the crisis is yet to come.
Seventy percent said they think it’s very (20 percent) or somewhat (50 percent) likely that Canada will go back into a lockdown similar to last spring. And 61 percent said they’re very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19.
Despite that grim outlook, a total of 60 percent admitted they’ve relaxed some of the safety measures recommended by public health authorities, including physical distancing (40 percent have relaxed), wearing a mask in indoor public places (36 percent), frequent hand washing (35 percent) and avoiding large gatherings (34 percent).
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.
By Joan Bryden