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Most Canadians pessimistic about economy, international travel in the future: survey – Global News



New research suggests that while Canadians feel COVID-19 will have negative consequences on mental health and the economy, they feel it will be good for online shopping and public mask-wearing once the pandemic is over.

The findings are from a phone survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan.

Read more:
Canada still ‘a long way off’ from COVID-19 economic recovery, experts say

It asked about 1,000 people during the first two weeks of March what kind of long-term impacts they thought the health crisis would have on different areas of life.

“Given that vaccinations are now starting to roll out, people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said research director Jason Disano.

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“It seems like a great opportunity to really get a sense of how people are feeling in terms of what life may or may not look like post-COVID.”

Specifically, people were asked to imagine a world where COVID-19 was under control, and to pick whether they thought the virus would have a positive or negative effect or no impact at all on a certain category.

Click to play video: 'Report: COVID-19 variants heighten risk of hospitalization and death'

Report: COVID-19 variants heighten risk of hospitalization and death

Report: COVID-19 variants heighten risk of hospitalization and death

Researchers said the survey had a 3.1 per cent margin of error, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20 nationally.

Some of the results weren’t surprising, said Disano, like those about mental health and well-being.

About 72 per cent of respondents predicted COVID-19 would have a negative effect, compared to 18 per cent who felt it would be positive.

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More than 60 per cent also felt pessimistic about how the pandemic will affect the economy and international travel, while 52 per cent said it would be bad for personal finances.

“No one really knows what the economy is going to look like post-pandemic,” said Disano.

He said some of the data he found most interesting were about children’s education. Despite 63 per cent of people feeling like the virus will have positive changes on the delivery of online education, 54 per cent thought it would be bad for children’s learning.

Read more:
Canadian economy posts worst showing on record in 2020

“I do think there’s a bit of concern around — are the students who are either K-12 or post-secondary, are they going to be behind where they could be or should be, at this point in their educational careers?” said Disano.

On the brighter side, he pointed out that 61 per cent of people thought COVID-19 would be good for the willingness of people to wear masks in public after the pandemic.

“I would assume people, when they were responding to this question, were thinking about things like the influenza virus,” said Disano.

“Perhaps masking may become not necessarily widespread, but perhaps more common.”

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The survey also said 76 per cent of people felt the pandemic would be positive for online shopping, and 72 per cent reported the same for alternate workplace arrangements.

Opinions on other topics were more mixed. About 37 per cent of people thought there will be both good and bad changes to domestic travel because of the virus, while 23 per cent said they didn’t know.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 Pandemic: Online sales proving crucial for small business survival'

COVID-19 Pandemic: Online sales proving crucial for small business survival

COVID-19 Pandemic: Online sales proving crucial for small business survival – Nov 28, 2020

Overall, Disano said, the research indicates people feel differently about how the pandemic will impact their lives, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about what communities will look like once they are no longer threatened by the virus.

“I think there’s going to be a degree of onus on policy-makers, on politicians, on public-health officials to provide more information to Canadians in terms of what they see post-pandemic Canada looking like.”


© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Canadian retail sales slide in April, May as COVID-19 shutdown bites



december retail sales

Canadian retail sales plunged in April and May, as shops and other businesses were shuttered amid a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Statistics Canada data showed on Wednesday.

Retail trade fell 5.7% in April, the sharpest decline in a year, missing analyst forecasts of a 5.0% drop. In a preliminary estimate, Statscan said May retail sales likely fell by 3.2% as store closures dragged on.

“April showers brought no May flowers for Canadian retailers this year,” Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a note.

Statscan said that 5.0% of retailers were closed at some point in April. The average length of the closure was one day, it said, citing respondent feedback.

Sales decreased in nine of the 11 subsectors, while core sales, which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicles, were down 7.6% in April.

Clothing and accessory store sales fell 28.6%, with sales at building material and garden equipment stores falling for the first time in nine months, by 10.4%.

“These results continue to suggest that the Bank of Canada is too optimistic on the growth outlook for the second quarter, even if there is a solid rebound occurring now in June,” Mendes said.

The central bank said in April that it expects Canada’s economy to grow 6.5% in 2021 and signaled interest rates could begin to rise in the second half of 2022.

The Canadian dollar held on to earlier gains after the data, trading up 0.3% at 1.2271 to the greenback, or 81.49 U.S. cents.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto, editing by Alexander Smith)

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Canadian dollar notches a 6-day high



Canadian dollar

The Canadian dollar strengthened for a third day against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, as oil prices rose and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reassured markets that the central bank is not rushing to hike rates.

Markets were rattled last week when the Fed shifted to more hawkish guidance. But Powell on Tuesday said the economic recovery required more time before any tapering of stimulus and higher borrowing costs are appropriate, helping Wall Street recoup last week’s decline.

Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so its economy is highly geared to the economic cycle.

Brent crude rose above $75 a barrel, reaching its highest since late 2018, after an industry report on U.S. crude inventories reinforced views of a tightening market as travel picks up in Europe and North America.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2271 to the greenback, or 81.49 U.S. cents, after touching its strongest level since last Thursday at 1.2265.

The currency also gained ground on Monday and Tuesday, clawing back some of its decline from last week.

Canadian retail sales fell by 5.7% in April from March as provincial governments put in place restrictions to tackle a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said. A flash estimate showed sales down 3.2% in May.

Still, the Bank of Canada expects consumer spending to lead a strong rebound in the domestic economy as vaccinations climb and containment measures ease.

Canadian government bond yields were mixed across a steeper curve, with the 10-year up nearly 1 basis point at 1.416%. Last Friday, it touched a 3-1/2-month low at 1.364%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Toronto Stock Exchange higher at open as energy stocks gain



Toronto Stock Exchange edged higher at open on Wednesday as heavyweight energy stocks advanced, while data showing a plunge in domestic retail sales in April and May capped the gains.

* At 9:30 a.m. ET (13:30 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 16.77 points, or 0.08%, at 20,217.42.

(Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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