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Many Canadians barely keeping afloat financially as coronavirus Emergency Benefit applications open

Last Updated Apr 6, 2020 at 6:37 am PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

Canada Emergency Response Benefit opened for applications on Monday to help those struggling through COVID-19 pandemic

27 per cent of respondents to Angus Reid Institute say they are barely keeping their heads above water financially

Angus Reid Institute finds 87 per cent of those polled say the worst is yet to come on the economic front

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some of the millions of Canadians who have lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are going online Monday morning to apply for some federal cash.

And according to new data from the Angus Reid Institute, this Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is taking effect at a time when a lot of people are barely keeping their heads above water financially.

Twenty-seven-per-cent — more than one-in-four Canadians polled — have described their personal financial situation as in “bad shape” or “terrible shape”.

Contrarily, only 12 per cent of respondents said they were in “great shape” financially amid the crisis, while 61 per cent said they were “in good shape, but worried” about the pandemic “lasting a long time.”

(Courtesy of The Angus Reid Institute)

No matter how you’re positioned, the vast majority of those polled said they believe the worst is yet to come on the economic front.

CERB payments could start appearing in people’s bank accounts as early as this week. Those who qualify will receive $2,000 per month for the next four months.

In order to keep the online application system from crashing, only people born in January, February, and March are being asked to apply on Monday.

The site warns because of the high number of applications, there may be technical difficulties.

For the very people this benefit is supposed to help, the Angus Reid survey has found that among those who said they were worse off, less than half – 45 per cent – believed the programs as part of the federal government’s almost $100-billion response will actually help them “a lot.”

“Even with these benefits in place, critics have noted that a significant number of unemployed Canadians will not be eligible for the CERB, underscoring the gaps that many Canadians are experiencing,” the survey results read.

(Courtesy of The Angus Reid Institute)Younger workers are hit particularly hard, with 70 per cent reporting they’ve lost hours or their jobs completely because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, small businesses also continue to struggle amid the pandemic. On Friday, an Insights West poll found 43 per cent of small businesses in B.C. shuttered due to the crisis. It has been called a “serious situation” by the pollster, with only 27 per cent of small businesses reporting they were still operating, but having difficulties.

-With files from Mike Lloyd