A new poll shows nearly half of Albertans are feeling the financial pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Angus Reid Institute, 46 per cent of Albertans feel worse off about their finances than they did a year ago, which marked the highest rate of any province.
Nationally, about 34 per cent of Canadians feel they are worse off than they were a year ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Angus Reid classified 24 per cent of Albertans as financially “suffering,” on a four-step scale called the “personal finance index.”
The personal finance index is based on responses to five items, including the current personal financial situation, future financial situation, concern over job loss, stress about money and credit card debt.
Nearly 12 per cent of the Albertans polled were in the top classification of “thriving,” while 32 per cent felt “secure” and 31 per cent were “challenged.”
“While considerable portions of each region of the country have suffered since the coronavirus hit Canada, these challenges have hit some provinces harder than others. In Alberta and Saskatchewan one-in-four residents fall within the suffering category, while at least half in each are suffering or challenged,” the report read.
Country-wide, only about 18 per cent of Canadians were deemed to be “suffering,” according to the results of the poll.
With the federal budget set to be released on April 19, Angus Reid also asked poll takers about top economic priorities. In Alberta, 62 per cent of people surveyed said they wanted the government to promote jobs and economic priorities and 33 per cent said the government should be paying down the deficit.
Across all respondents, 43 per cent of Canadians wanted either improved social programs or controlled costs in areas such as real estate and food.
The online survey was conducted from Feb. 26 to March 3 and polled over 5,000 Canadian adults.