Social Democracy

What Kind of Economic Recovery do Canadians Want?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread anxiety and concern for Canadians across the country. As they look ahead to the economic recovery, most are looking for a bold and ambitious recovery.

Canadians want a recovery that is fair and ensures the richest among them contribute and pay their share. A recovery that helps make Canada more self-sufficient and strengthens the public health care system. They want a recovery that ensures that corporations use public funds to support workers and not enrich executives or shareholders.


Canadians say spend what’s needed to make Canada more self-sufficient and fair with a better social safety net

Canadians, by a 2 to 1 margin, want governments to spend whatever is required to rebuild and stimulate the economy, even if it means running large deficits for the foreseeable future, according to a new poll conducted by Abacus Data for the Broadbent Institute. The study is the most detailed one to date on the kind of recovery Canadians want.

Canadians also widely support an economic recovery that meet specific criteria, including:

  • Building Canada’s ability to produce key products like food and medical supplies domestically instead of relying on global markets (79% extremely or very important). 
  • Investing in strengthening the health system, including universal public pharmacare (72% extremely or very important).
  • Not letting richer Canadians off the hook for contributing their fair share (71% extremely or very important).
  • Helping people who need it the most (71% extremely or very important). 
  • Focusing on helping people and preventing corporations from using funds for excessive executive pay, stock buy-backs, or increased dividends (70% extremely or very important). 

“Canadians want a recovery that is fair, focused on people, and builds up our resilience for future challenges,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.

When it comes to Canada’s social safety net, a resounding 97% think that the long-term care system for ageing Canadians needs improvement. Improvements to the availability of paid sick days and livable wages, as well as greater access to income supports and employment insurance also received broad support, 90% and 88% respectively.

“The coronavirus pandemic has tested the country’s safety net, sometimes with concerning results”, remarked David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, “now Canadians want to see significant work to improve the supports we depend on in tough times.”

The poll also tested and found strong support for a wealth tax (75%), and 8 in 10 Canadians (81%) believe that companies receiving government assistance should be required not to use foreign tax havens, and not use the money for excessive salaries, share buybacks, or increasing dividends, rather than allowing companies to decide how best to run their businesses.

Canadians also believe governments should provide financial assistance and debt relief to municipalities to help with budget shortfalls (77%).

The survey was conducted online with 2,280 Canadians aged 18 and over from May 1 to 6, 2020. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20.  

You can read the full survey report below. 

Download Abacus May2020 - Report