More than half of Canadians support the idea of shortening the standard work week, according to the results of a survey released by the Angus Reid Institute Friday.

Asked if they think it is a good idea to make a new 30-hour work week, also known as a four-day work week, standard in Canada, 53 per cent of respondents answered yes. That’s more than twice the number of both those who said it’s a bad idea (22 per cent) and those who said they are not sure or can’t say (25 per cent).

This represents an increase in support of six percentage points compared to 2018, when in a separate study conducted by the institute, 47 per cent of respondents said they thought a four-day work week is a good idea.

The increase in support may be driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it has presented for many unemployed Canadians, according to the study. 

It found that Canadians who have applied for emergency government aid such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are more likely to support the idea of shortening the work week.

Almost three in five, or 58 per cent, of respondents who are government-aid applicants said a four-day work week is a good idea. That compares to 50 per cent of those who have not applied for aid programs.

The idea of a shortened standard work week is not new. But, the study noted, it has recently gained traction after the announcement of a pilot project in a Nova Scotia municipality, and after New Zealand’s prime minister promoted the four-day work week as a way to boost domestic tourism.

The survey was conducted online among 1,510 Canadian adults, between June 8 and June 10. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.