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Three-quarters (78%) believe Canada is in a recession that most feel will last till the end of 2021 (20%) or later (46%); at the same time, a strong majority (67%) indicate their personal financial situation is good or very good, higher than pre-pandemic (62%).

Vancouver, BC —Despite perceptions of an existing bleak economic environment in Canada due to COVID-19, the majority of British Columbians are feeling pretty good about their own financial situation now and in the future according to our most recent “2020 Canadian Economic Insights, BC Focus” report.

The devastating financial impact of COVID-19 is apparent when we measure perceptions of existing economic conditions in Canada. Most BC residents (78%) believe we are either ‘definitely’ (29%), or ‘probably’ (49%), in a recession, with a few either not sure (11%) or who don’t think we are in one (10%). Most believe it won’t be over anytime soon either; 46% think the recession will persist past 2021, and 18% are not sure when it will end. The remaining 36% think it will end sometime in 2021, including 20% who think it will end at the end of 2021.

This negative perception of the economy is a marked contrast to sentiment just before the pandemic hit. In February of 2020, 58% of BC residents rated their confidence in the Canadian Economy as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, compared to only 23% currently. On the flip-side, 68% now think the economic conditions are ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ compared to only 37% in February.

Unlike any previous waves of economic confidence tracked, there is a wider disconnect between perceptions of the overall economy versus perceptions of BC residents’ own financial situation. Two-thirds (67%) describe the state of their household finances today as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, a number that is shockingly an improvement relative to the number pre-pandemic (62%) back in February 2020.

Despite fears of a second COVID-19 wave, there appears to be some optimism for the future, as a slightly higher number of British Columbians feel that their personal finances will improve in the next six months (17%) versus the number who say it will decline (15%), and most (62%) believe it will stay the same. It’s encouraging to see that 20% of those who describe their current situation as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ see things improving; still, while 41% of this group think it will stay the same, 31% of this segment unfortunately thinks things will get worse over the next six months.

Reflecting the overall positive views of their own financial situation, BC residents are actually less worried about some aspects of their financial situation than they were pre-pandemic. While half of BC residents (50%) are currently worried about paying their bills, this is down 8 percentage points since pre-pandemic. Similarly, 46% are worried about carrying a balance on their credit card; this is down 6 points in the same time period. Some areas are relatively unchanged: 69% of British Columbians are currently they are worried about the value of their investments, and 41% are concerned about being able to pay their mortgage or rent. The two areas where consumers are slightly more worried are their employers running into financial trouble, as 43% share this concern, up 12 points from 31% pre-pandemic and the safety of their savings, up 5 points from February to 64%.

“What is becoming more and more evident during this pandemic is the fact that it is negatively impacting only a minority of the population in British Columbia,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “It’s really shocking the massive disconnect between the negative sentiment towards the overall economy versus the positive perception of most people’s personal finances. The lucky ones who have pandemic-proof jobs are spending less on vacations, live events, and are saving more which has created a bit of a disconnect to those who are faring poorly during this pandemic.”

The full report of Insight West’s 2020 Canadian Economic Insights, BC Focus report is available for download here.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 24 out of 25 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 22 – 23, 2020 among a sample of 1000 BC residents. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West