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Survey shows financial optimism fading because of COVID-19

CALGARY (CityNews) – Years of growing financial optimism has been snuffed out by COVID-19.

That’s according to a new poll which shows Alberta and Saskatchewan have the bleakest outlook.

The poll by Angus Reid showed one in five Canadians now expect to be worse off a year from now.

Jennifer Myers, an Ontario mother of two recently spoke to CityNews about how hard it has been to find a job despite all her years of experience.

“The biggest challenge right now is that a lot of people are not hiring because they’re laying off people they already have. I’ve thought about just taking anything”

With 15 years in automotive experience, finding a job closer to her Georgetown, Ontario home after her maternity leave at the end of 2019 seemed like a relatively straightforward exercise.

“I had something on the go that was supposed to start just after the March break and that’s when COVID hit, and the guy ended up having to lay people off so he couldn’t hire me even if he wanted to,” said Myers.

There have been interview opportunities, although the line of questioning sometimes strays from qualifications to questions about how she plans to balance being the primary caregiver for her kids.

“You don’t know how an employer is going to handle it or even if they’ll take you on, and again they don’t have to say ‘Oh, I’m not going to hire you because you’re a mom and you may have to leave because of COVID and school and be off for 14 days’, they can just say, ‘Sorry you’re not the right fit we’ve found somebody else’ and probably someone with no children.”

When it comes to the prospects for 2021, the Angus Reid numbers show Alberta and Saskatchewan are the most pessimistic with half of Albertans saying they’re worse off now than they were a year ago.

The same number of low-income Canadians are also expecting things to get worse…

Quebecers and Ontarians feel most optimistic, but people in those provinces aren’t without their challenges.

For Myers, the stress is mounting, with the search putting a strain on homelife and while things are hard, she believes it will all work out.

“But the longer it goes on, and now we’re getting into school and cold and flu season, the pressure is on and I feel the pressure is on the moms, the women, the most.”