Household economic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, experimental estimates, fourth quarter 2020

A highlight of some of the findings reported in this briefing:

  • Disposable income declined for most households in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the largest losses for the lowest-income earners (-10.2%).
  • Compensation of employees—of which wages and salaries make up the largest share—was up in the fourth quarter.
  • The most pronounced wage losses were experienced by the lowest-income (-5.3%) and the youngest (-3.1%) households, as many people in these households work in industries or jobs hard hit by the pandemic.
  • There was a decline in COVID-19-specific support measures and a significant rise in EI benefits in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Overall consumption expenditure was down in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Net saving for many households declined as their disposable income decreased and consumption edged up.
  • The debt-to-income ratio increased the most for households in the lowest income quintile.

 



Financial Anxiety and Stress among U.S. Households: New Evidence from the National Financial Capability Study and Focus Groups

The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the deeply rooted financial struggles that many Americans face. This paper shows that even before the pandemic, a
substantial share of households was already anxious and stressed about their personal finances. The greatest levels of anxiety and stress were expressed by women, young adults,
those with lower income, those with more financially dependent children, those who are not married, and those who are unemployed. In this paper, factors likely contributing
to high levels of financial anxiety and stress are analyzed.



The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the deeply rooted financial struggles that many Americans face. This paper shows that even before the pandemic, a
substantial share of households was already anxious and stressed about their personal finances. The greatest levels of anxiety and stress were expressed by women, young adults,
those with lower income, those with more financially dependent children, those who are not married, and those who are unemployed. In this paper, factors likely contributing
to high levels of financial anxiety and stress are analyzed.

Unconnected: Funding Shortfalls, Policy Imbalances and How They Are Contributing to Canada’s Digital Underdevelopment

In an effort to understand the challenges and opportunities facing civil society and community organizations working to improve the quality of Canada’s internet, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) commissioned research firm The Strategic Counsel to conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment of stakeholder perceptions of the nation’s digital philanthropy landscape.
The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals. The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals – the connecting of Canadians to the internet in an affordable and reliable manner so that they can comfortably and knowledgeably participate in an increasingly digital economy and society. The research also found that these goals and the challenges surrounding them have only become more pressing with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis that has pushed nearly every aspect of our daily lives online.



Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

In August 2018, the Government of Canada announced Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy included a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal's target of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Opportunity for All included the adoption of the Market Basket Measure (MBM) as Canada's Official Poverty Line and the creation of the National Advisory Council on Poverty (Council) to report on progress made toward the poverty reduction targets.

This is the first report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty. It continues Canada's discussion on poverty by bringing forward the voices of individuals with lived expertise of poverty. It details progress toward our poverty targets and recommends improvements to our poverty reduction efforts.



Labour Force Survey, February 2021

February Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of February 14 to 20.

In early February, public health restrictions put in place in late December were eased in many provinces. This allowed for the re-opening of many non-essential businesses, cultural and recreational facilities, and some in-person dining. However, capacity limits and other public health requirements, which varied across jurisdictions, remained in place.

Restrictions were eased to varying degrees in Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia on February 8, although a curfew remained in effect in Quebec. In Ontario, previous requirements were lifted for many regions on February 10 and 15, while the Toronto, Peel, York and North Bay Parry Sound health regions remained under stay-at-home orders through the reference week. Various measures were eased in Manitoba on February 12.

In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador re-introduced a lockdown on February 12, requiring the widespread closure of non-essential businesses and services.



Labour Force Survey, January 2021

After the December Labour Force Survey (LFS) reference week—December 6 to 12—a number of provinces extended public health measures in response to increasing COVID-19 cases. January LFS data reflect the impact of these new restrictions and provide a portrait of labour market conditions as of the week of January 10 to 16.

In Ontario, restrictions already in place for many regions of southern Ontario—including the closure of non-essential retail businesses—were extended to the rest of the province effective December 26. In Quebec, non-essential retail businesses were closed effective December 25 and a curfew implemented on January 14 further affected the operating hours of some businesses.

As of the January reference week, existing public health measures continued in Alberta and Manitoba, including the closure of in-person dining services, recreation facilities and personal care services, as well as restrictions on retail businesses.

Restrictions were eased between the December and January reference weeks in two provinces. In Prince Edward Island, closures of in-person dining and recreational and cultural facilities were lifted on December 18. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the surrounding area, restrictions on in-person dining were eased on January 4.



Report on the Charities Program 2018 to 2020

The charitable sector is a major social and economic force, offering vital services to Canadians and people around the world. The Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate employs an education-first approach and client-centric philosophy. It aims to promote compliance with the charity-related income tax legislation and regulations in order to support charitable giving and development of the sector, while protecting charities and the public from abuse.

This report provides an update on the Directorate’s activities over the past two years, including the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Mapping Toronto’s Digital Divide

This report analyzes Toronto's home internet and device access, quality, affordability, and usage, during pandemic closures of businesses, schools, and community organizations.

Read this report to help you:

  • Understand the demographics and geographies of who is not connected or cannot afford home internet in Toronto, with comparisons to provincial and national data, how they get online, and where in Toronto they live. 
  • Unpack the digital divide beyond basic access: speed, affordability, quality, and devices per household member.
  • Identify gaps in existing programs and services meant to close the digital divide.



Labour Force Survey, December 2020

December Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of December 6 to 12.

As of the reference week, public health measures introduced earlier in the fall remained in place in Manitoba and much of Quebec. These included the closure of many recreation and cultural facilities and in-person dining services, as well as various degrees of restrictions on retail businesses.



Inter-generational comparisons of household economic well-being, 1999 to 2019

This study of data from the Distributions of Household Economic Accounts compares households' economic well-being from a macro-economic accounts perspective, as measured by net saving and net worth for each generation when the major income earner for a household in one generation reached the same point in the life cycle as the major income earner for a household in another generation. The study finds that while younger generations have higher disposable income and higher consumption expenditure than older generations when they reached the same age, their net saving is relatively similar. As well, younger generations' economic well-being may be more at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic since they depend more on employment as a primary source of income, they have higher debt relative to income, and they have less equity in financial and real estate assets from which to draw upon when needed.



Labour Force Survey, November 2020

November Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of November 8 to 14.

In September and October, many provinces began introducing targeted public health measures in response to rising COVID-19 numbers. In early November, restrictions related to indoor dining and fitness facilities were eased in Ontario, while in Manitoba new measures affecting restaurants, recreational facilities and retail businesses were introduced. Much of Quebec remained at the "red" alert level in November, leading to the ongoing closure of indoor dining and many recreational and cultural facilities.



COVID-19 Resources for people with disabilities

National Disability Institute (NDI)'s Financial Resilience Center offers resources and assistance to help those with disabilities and chronic health conditions navigate financially through the COVID-19 crisis.

Resource topics include:

  • Information on the COVID-19 stimulus
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Public benefits
  • Managing money
  • Housing, food and healthcare
  • Scams



Real Money, Real Experts Podcasts

Real Money, Real Experts is a personal finance podcast written and produced by AFCPE (Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education). Their membership community offers a place for financial counsellors and financial fitness coaches to share best practices, solve similar struggles, and access tools and resources.

Recent episodes include the following topics:

  • Economic Self-Sufficiency: How Financial Professionals Support Individuals with Disabilities
  • Empowering Communities after COVID-19
  • Where Race & Gender Intersect: Why the Wealth Gap is Widening and How to Help

 



Race, Ethnicity, and the Financial Lives of Young Adults: Exploring Disparities in Financial Health Outcomes

Young adults of color, particularly those who are Black and Latinx, have borne a disproportionate share of economic hardship, as decades of systemic racism have made their communities more vulnerable to the effects of these crises. This report shares new data on the financial lives of young adults, focusing on Black and Latinx young adults, in order to inform policies, programs, and solutions that can improve financial health for all.



The Early Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Credit Applications

This report documents the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on credit applications, which are among the very first credit market measures to change in credit report data in response to changes in economic activity. Using the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel, how applications for auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, and other loans changed week-by-week during the month of March, compared to the same time in previous years was studied.



Beyond Hunger: the hidden impacts of food insecurity

This report illustrates the hidden impacts of food insecurity in people’s lives through a survey of 561 people in 22 communities across Canada. The people interviewed shared that food insecurity makes them ill, breaks down relationships, makes it harder to get stable work, and fully participate in society.



Labour Force Survey, October 2020

October Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of October 11 to 17. By then, several provinces had tightened public health measures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Unlike the widespread economic shutdown implemented in March and April, these measures were targeted at businesses where the risk of COVID transmission is thought to be greater, including indoor restaurants and bars and recreational facilities.

Employment increased by 84,000 (+0.5%) in October, after growing by an average of 2.7% per month since May. The unemployment rate was 8.9%, little changed from September.

Employment increases in several industries were partially offset by a decrease of 48,000 in the accommodation and food services industry, largely in Quebec.



Labour Force Survey, September 2020

The September Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of September 13 to 19. At the beginning of September, as Canadian families adapted to new back-to-school routines, public health restrictions had been substantially eased across the country and many businesses and workplaces had re-opened. Throughout the month, some restrictions were re-imposed in response to increases in the number of COVID-19 cases. In British Columbia, new rules and guidelines related to bars and restaurants were implemented on September 8. In Ontario, limits on social gatherings were tightened for the hot spots of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa on September 17 and for the rest of the province on September 19.