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New poll underlines significant impact of COVID-19 on the finances of British Columbians

Vancouver, BC – As British Columbia prepares to enter phase-three of the COVID-19 re-opening plan, a new Coast Capital Savings poll hosted on the Angus Reid Forum confirms the pandemic has had a significant impact on the employment and personal finances of many British Columbians.

The results also highlight that, while it continues to be a challenging time for a lot of people, most appear to be weathering the storm through a combination of savings, tightening their budgets and government supports.

The online survey hosted on the Angus Reid Forum was conducted between June 17 and June 21, 2020 among 802 Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island residents.

The poll found the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the employment of 38% of working British Columbians in the last three months, while 37% say their personal finances have worsened and 23% say their debt levels have increased over the same period of time.

One-quarter (28%) of respondents who make monthly rent or mortgage payments, say they have  missed or provided partial payment on their rent or mortgage. At the same time, provincial and federal supports appear to have been valuable to 25 per cent of those who are employed or are students, who accessed a top-up or income replacement.

Not surprisingly, the past three months have presented challenges related to budgeting and saving. One in four (27%) respondents suggest their ability to set and stick to budgets got worse, 39% say it’s negatively impacted their ability to contribute to short term savings, while (42%) say they have relied on savings to make ends meet.

“This is an incredibly stressful time for many individuals and families,” said Matt Atkinson, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Coast Capital Savings. “The impact was swift, wide-reaching and significant for those who haven’t accumulated savings or rainy-day fund to help provide a cushion.”

The poll does offer some positive news with three-quarters of respondents saying there has been no change in their ability to meet rent or mortgage obligations, almost three-quarters (72%) say the pandemic hasn’t impacted their ability to set and stick to their budget, and 55% of those who already had a budget, say they are being more diligent with budgeting in response to the COVID-19 implications.  

“It won’t necessarily be a worldwide pandemic that presents the next financial challenge for your family,” continues Atkinson. “It might be a surprise roof leak or the need for expensive car repairs, but it is inevitable that there will be something that you hadn’t budgeted for. Use the motivation and momentum from lessons learned during COVID to reassess your readiness for the unexpected. There are lots of resources, there is no need to figure it out on your own. A great place to start is by having a conversation with your trusted financial advisor.”

About this survey/study

These are the findings of a study/survey conducted by Coast Capital Savings from June 17 to 21, 2020 with a representative sample of 802 online British Columbians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all British Columbians been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About the Angus Reid Forum:

The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership and, in 2018, made history becoming B.C.’s first federal credit union. Owned by its 593,000 members, Coast Capital offers banking and investment services digitally and through its 52 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Okanagan, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a Certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, Coast Capital invests 10 per cent of its bottom line in youth focused community organizations, programs, partnerships and events. The credit union has been recognized as one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and holds a Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation. Coast Capital has a history of introducing innovative products to help their members achieve financial wellbeing including Canada’s first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and Help Extras®, enabling members to invest in their future. To learn more, visit


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