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British Columbians feeling financial impact of coronavirus: survey

Forty-one per cent of British Columbians said the crisis has impacted their ability to pay rent.
Forty-one per cent of British Columbians said the crisis has impacted their ability to pay rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Many British Columbians are feeling the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, a new survey has found.

According to the survey by Insight West, 69 per cent of British Columbians have seen their RRSP or savings negatively impacted and 40 per cent of business owners have seen the finances of their business negatively affected.

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Fifty-four per cent of British Columbians said they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including 11 per cent, who said it has had a “major negative impact.”

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Forty-one per cent said the crisis has impacted their ability to pay rent, while 29 per cent said their ability to pay their mortgage has been affected. Thirty-one per cent said the crisis has hampered their ability to cover household expenses.

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Thirteen per cent said they are going into debt to cover their expenses in the short term and six per cent said they are likely to declare personal bankruptcy.

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Insights West president Steve Moscrop warns that more bad news could be on the way, as “leading indicators are lagging and have not yet fully baked in the economic impact of the virus on the economy in B.C. yet.”

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“The vast economic toll has yet to be fully felt in British Columbia,” he said.

B.C.’s unemployment rate now sits at 11.5 per cent. From April 2019 to April 2020, the province has lost 420,900 jobs.

Three million jobs have been lost across the country since the start of the COVID-19 shutdown, Statistics Canada said last week.

Survey results are based on an online study earlier this month among a sample of 747 B.C. residents. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

— With files from Richard Zussman