Many British Columbians’ finances, debt worsening under COVID-19: poll

A woman checks out a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on April 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A new poll is painting a clearer picture of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on British Columbians’ finances.

The poll, commissioned by credit union Coast Capital Savings, focused on residents of Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

It found that nearly four in 10 British Columbians (38 per cent) reported the coronavirus had impacted their employment.

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Nearly as many respondents — 37 per cent — said their finances had worsened under the pandemic, while just under a quarter (23 per cent) said their debt levels had increased.

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More than a quarter of the poll’s respondents (28 per cent) said they had missed or made a partial rent or mortgage payment.

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A quarter of respondents took advantage of government wage top-ups or income replacement.

According to the poll, the grim economic conditions have had a negative effect on British Columbians’ ability to budget and save.

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More than a quarter (27 per cent) said they were having trouble sticking to a budget. Thirty-nine per cent said the pandemic had affected their ability to contribute to savings, while 42 per cent said they actually had to dip into savings to keep afloat.

As of June 21, the federal government had paid out more than $52 billion in pandemic-related benefits to Canadians.

The poll was conducted among 802 members of the Angus Reid Forum between June 17 and June 21. The pollster says it has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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