A new report says COVID-19 has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots in Canada, amplifying the economic disparities that existed pre-pandemic.
The affordability index by BDO Canada Ltd. found that while one in five Canadians say they are better off, nearly two in five say their personal finances deteriorated during the first wave.
The index, based on polling data by the Angus Reid Group, found that those who are worse off are nearly four times more likely to say their debt load is overwhelming.
The report underscores a yawning chasm between Canadians who are losing ground and those whose financial situation has improved during the pandemic or hasn’t changed.
Doug Jones, president of BDO Debt Solutions, says the affordability index shows Canadians are struggling more and more with the cost of living.
He says COVID-19 has prompted Canadians to cut back on spending and save more, but that people are also finding it more difficult to keep up with debt.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says government will keep investing to ‘shoulder debt’ over Canadians
“These factors will likely put long-term stress on families and the economy,” Jones says in a statement. “Now is the time to keep a close eye on household budgets and avoid debt whenever possible.”
The survey found that two-thirds of Canadians with debt cannot keep up with their debt payments or have had to make sacrifices in their budgeting.
While this typically involves foregoing non-essential “nice-to-have” purchases like entertainment or recreation, the survey found that nearly a quarter of Canadians forego essentials like food or clothing.
The survey also showed that residents of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario were more likely to accrue debt during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Canadians who are saving more tend to be young, university educated and earn more than $100,000, the survey found.
This cohort tended to shift spending away from non-essentials such as restaurants and travel into savings — reducing concerns about debt.
The Angus Reid poll, in partnership with BDO Canada, included 2,047 Canadian adults surveyed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 8. According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canadians must reduce contacts by 25 per cent to flatten 2nd wave curve, officials say – CBC.ca
Canadians must reduce the number of close contacts they have with other people by 25 per cent in order to suppress the second wave of COVID-19, according to new federal modelling on the spread of the coronavirus released today.
At a news conference in Ottawa, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the number of people being infected continues to increase across the country, even as some regions tighten restrictions.
“If we increase, or if we even maintain our current rate of contact with others, the epidemic in Canada is forecast to continue increasing steeply,” said Tam.
“To bend the epidemic curve and reduce transmission to lower levels … we must really reduce our number of contacts as much as possible.”
Reducing those interactions by 25 per cent would bring the pandemic under control in most regions, according to the modelling.
The projections show the number of COVID-19 cases could rise from the current level — 230,547 as of 11:20 a.m. ET today — to 262,000 by Nov. 8, with up to 300 people expected to die from complications of the disease during that time.
While it has been increasing, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 remains below the peak of about 3,000 per day observed during the first phase of the pandemic. Tam said this is most likely because the vast majority of recent cases have been among young people who have experienced less severe illnesses, and because of the better availability of treatments.
The number of deaths also has continued to gradually increase over the past several weeks — but at a slower rate than it did during the first wave.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged people to continue following public health guidelines — particularly those that call for people to physically distance and reduce close contacts with others.
“When you’re thinking of seeing people outside your household, ask yourself, ‘Is this absolutely necessary?'” said Trudeau.
“I know that the situation is frustrating. I know it’s hard. But it is temporary.”
Health officials to reveal latest projections for COVID-19 spread in Canada – CBC.ca
Federal health officials will release details from the latest COVID-19 modelling today that could indicate whether the caseloads are expected to continue rising or if efforts to flatten the epidemic curve are working.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo will reveal the projections at a press conference starting at 11:30 a.m. CBC News will carry it live.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also be in attendance.
The last round of projections, released on Oct. 9, predicted the national caseload would climb to 197,830 by Oct. 17, with up to 9,800 deaths. The announcement came one day after the country recorded a record 2,400 new cases.
WATCH: Health officials reveal latest federal modelling on COVID-19
National numbers have since surpassed those projections. As of 11:20 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 230,547 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, with 27,289 of those active. Provinces and territories listed 193,158 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,100.
While the numbers on both hospitalizations and deaths have increased recently, they have done so at a slower rate than during the first phase of the pandemic.
Canadian economic growth cools to 1.2% in August – CBC.ca
The Canadian economy grew in August as real gross domestic product rose by 1.2 per cent in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
That marked the fourth straight month of growth following the steepest drops on record back in March and April amid pandemic lockdowns. August’s figure was down from the 3.1 per cent expansion seen in July.
The August number was still ahead of what forecasters had been expecting. According to financial data firm Refinitiv, economists had been predicting growth of 0.9 per cent for the month.
Despite the recent string of growth, overall economic activity is still about five per cent below February’s pre-pandemic level, Statistics Canada said.
September growth is forecast
Preliminary information from Statistics Canada indicates real GDP was up 0.7 per cent in September, with increases seen in the manufacturing and public sectors, as well as in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.
“This advanced estimate points to an approximate 10 per cent increase in real GDP in the third quarter of 2020,” Statistics Canada said. Back in the second quarter, the country’s GDP shrank by 11.5 per cent in the three-month period between April and June.
Assuming the economy contracts in October and November as a result of a resurgence of coronavirus cases, fourth-quarter GDP looks likely to undershoot the Bank of Canada’s “tepid” forecast for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of one per cent, said CIBC Capital Markets senior economist Royce Mendes.
“It appears that the economy was slowing more than expected heading into the fourth quarter, and the most likely outcome now suggests that GDP barely advanced during the period,” Mendes said in a commentary.
BMO chief economist Doug Porter said the way forward has been deeply clouded by the second wave and renewed restrictions, so growth will cool considerably in the fourth quarter.
“However, we suspect that with ongoing massive fiscal support, less restrictions than earlier, and, simply, that consumers and businesses have learned to operate in this new environment, the late-year setback should be relatively mild,” Porter said. “In fact, we continue to expect modest growth overall for [the fourth quarter].”
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