The majority of Canadians who have been working from home are not eager to return to the work place as COVID-19 cases surge, in a Sept. 29, 2020 story. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Recovery plan inspires confidence but Canadians like working from home for now: Poll

Fear of a worse second wave may explain why workers want to work from home

OTTAWA — The federal government’s economic recovery plan has inspired some confidence that it will create jobs and a stronger economy in future, a new poll suggests.

But, in the meantime, the vast majority of Canadians who’ve been working from home aren’t eager to rush back to their work places as cases of COVID-19 surge across the country.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian studies, said they are very (nine per cent) or somewhat (43 per cent) confident that the recovery plan, outlined in last week’s throne speech, will create jobs and strengthen the economy in future.

Thirty-nine per cent were not very or not at all confident.

The throne speech appears to have given the governing Liberals a boost, with their support up five points over the past week, to 40 per cent of decided voters. The Conservatives had the support of 30 per cent, the NDP 17 per cent and the Greens five per cent.

In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois was slightly ahead of the Liberals, 32 per cent to 30 per cent.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also appears to have tapped into the public mood when he predicted that a second wave of COVID-19 this fall will potentially be worse than the first wave last spring, which sent the country into lockdown. Seventy-two per cent of respondents agreed with his dire assessment, offered during a televised address to the nation following the throne speech.

Fear of a worse second wave may explain why 82 per cent of respondents who’ve been working from home said they’d prefer to commute to work only when needed and continue working from home “much more often” in the coming weeks. Only four per cent said they’d prefer to return to their usual commuting schedule.

The poll suggests Canadians have also found they’re quite happy working from home.

A whopping 89 per cent said they have found working from home to be a very (48 per cent) or somewhat (41 per cent) positive experience. Just nine per cent said it’s been a somewhat or very negative experience.

And 86 per cent agreed with the statement, “I am getting used to this new lifestyle and I like it.”

Thirty-one per cent agreed that “working from home was great for a while but I now feel the need to go back to the office.” But 32 per cent said that if ordered to go back to their work places, they’d look for another job where they could work from home.

Overall, 32 per cent of respondents said they are still working from home, while 23 per cent said they’re back in their work places and another 29 per cent said they never left.

Just five per cent of respondents said they’ve lost their jobs permanently as a result of the pandemic. But another 11 per cent said they’ve experienced temporary job loss and 12 per cent said they’ve lost some income.

Fifteen per cent said they fear losing their jobs in the next few weeks.

Fully 86 per cent think a second wave of COVID-19 will sweep the country. Indeed, 62 per cent said we’ve already entered the second wave and 55 per cent predicted the worst of the crisis is yet to come.

Seventy per cent said they think it’s very (20 per cent) or somewhat (50 per cent) likely that Canada will go back into a lockdown similar to last spring. And 61 per cent said they’re very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19.

Despite that grim outlook, a total of 60 per cent admitted they’ve relaxed some of the safety measures recommended by public health authorities, including physical distancing (40 per cent have relaxed), wearing a mask in indoor public places (36 per cent), frequent hand washing (35 per cent) and avoiding large gatherings (34 per cent).

The online poll of 1,514 adult Canadians was conducted Sept. 25 to 27; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.


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