COVID-19: Angus Reid study suggests pandemic has pulled Canadians apart

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A recent Angus Reid study found four in five Canadians say they think the pandemic has pulled people further apart, rather than bring them together. – Mar 12, 2022

Through losing loved ones, anxiety about the future and deciding whether you want the vaccine or not, a lot has changed two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you had asked them in March, April or May of 2020 that there was really a sense that the pandemic had brought us together, people were sacrificing and staying home,” said Dave Korzinski, research director for Angus Reid Institute.

But over time, that sentiment started to wane, as a new study by the Angus Reid Institute suggests 82 per cent are saying the pandemic has divided people.

Read more: Angus Reid poll suggests half of Canadians feeling outpaced by rising living costs

Out of the 2,550 people who participated in the survey, two-thirds say the level of compassion demonstrated by Canadians for one another has weakened.

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Through gyms closing, having to isolate and a lack of normality, over half of those surveyed by Angus Reid say their mental health has gotten worse.

“I think one of the biggest issues that we’re seeing now is the economic aspect of people’s mental health and the stress that it’s putting on them,” Korzinski added.

However, according to the study, women between the ages of 18 and 55 were hit the hardest — the main reason being working from home and having to juggle that with taking care of children in some instances.

Read more: Saskatchewan COVID-19 survivor shares struggles with long COVID symptoms

The study notes that there were many who had to bounce back and forth between in-person and online learning.

“People with children who are in that five to 12 age range where we see the highest levels of stress and the most difficult experiences in terms of mental health,” Korzinski explained.

Despite all these factors, some in the province say there have not been major improvements when it comes to supports in the workplace after discovering ways that can benefit workers and businesses.

Lori Johb, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), stated in a release distributed by the SFL on Friday the Saskatchewan government has “made it clear that they have not learned any lessons from the worst health crisis in Canadian history.

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“Workers have been on the front lines from the very beginning. They’re the ones that risked everything to go to work every single day when we really didn’t know what we were dealing with,” said Johb in an interview with Global News.

Read more: Saskatchewan businesses mandate respect among customers as COVID-19 restrictions change

She continued by saying workers in the province are being left without access to paid sick leave, proper PPE and necessary information they need to ensure they are being kept safe at work.

“I think that there needed to be more done. Workers needed to be respected more and I think that there were a lot of things that could’ve been done differently.”

While many believe things will not go back to what we remember as “normal,” some still hope lessons have been learned and the new normal is better.

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