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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Would you go to the office coughing and sneezing if you feared for your job?

One-in-five would do exactly that, according to a new survey by the Canadian Payroll Association. Meanwhile, one-third of Canadians who have not lost their job due to COVID-19 are still fearful it could happen. These are alarming statistics as many fear a second wave of COVID-19 could happen come the fall.

Not surprisingly, 58 per cent of the working 4,000 Canadians surveyed also feel more stressed about their finances due to the pandemic.

The fear is very real and for good reason. Companies in many cases are not meeting their revenue targets projected at the beginning of the year and cost reductions will likely kick into gear come the fall and winter. Cost reductions quickly translates into job losses. Some sectors of the economy are showing signs of improvement but the progress to open things up has been bumpy at best.

The economy is expected to contract this year 6.8 per cent this year and return to growth in 2021, according to S&P Rating Agency. But that is little comfort to 54 per cent of Canadians witnessing the impact of the pandemic on their workplace, according to the Payroll Association. 

Credit Canada also highlights in their Financial Realities Poll many Canadians are still focused on short-term money goals. Paying bills is the top priority for over half of Canadians (54 per cent), followed by cutting back on spending (44 per cent).

The government benefits have been a welcomed relief for families who have been struggling.  However, once the CERB comes to an end, credit companies come calling and mortgage deferrals are off the table, the financial flexibility for some families will be gone. The worrisome part of the Financial Realities Poll, is that six in 10 still don't view an emergency fund as a top priority. The very thing that could provide families with a financial lifeline should they need it.

Financial stress for Canadians was already a concern and COVID-19 has amplified the situation. Many are simply running on survival mode. 

To the extent you can try to take back control of your financial situation the better you might be should a second wave of the pandemic hit or the potential you feared of losing your job turns into reality. ​

As families struggle financially we could see more generations coming together to save on costs as they scramble to to figure out next steps.