North American and global economies are wilting in the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, nearly three-quarters of Canadians think an economic depression is coming — or already here.
A third (34%) believe an economic depression is coming within 12 months, while another 38 percent believe we’re already in one, according to a YouGov survey of more than a 1,000 Canadians.
The question posed to Canadians defines an economic depression as an extreme recession that lasts three or more years or which leads to a decline in real gross domestic product (GDP) of at least 10 percent in a given year.
Canada’s depression fear is even higher than in the United States, where 61 percent believe a sustained downturn will happen in the next 12 months or is already taking place.
As the economy slips, it appears Canadians are more likely to believe their country is ready, compared to Americans. A little more a third (36%) of Canadians say the country in general is somewhat or very prepared for an economic depression, while 28 percent of Americans say so of their country.
However, the majority of Canadians (54%) don’t think the country is ready for a depression, compared to 63 percent of Amercicans who don’t think their country is ready.
As for personal preparedness, 44 percent of Canadians say they’re somewhat or very prepared. Those over 55 years old are much more likely to say they’re prepared (53%) and those 18-34 are less likely (35%). Nearly half (48%) of Canadians in general are not very or not at all prepared.
Impact of Trudeau and Trump
Roughly two in five (37%) Canadians believe the politics of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- which includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy -- are making a depression at least somewhat more likely. Nearly a quarter (23%) disagree and believe his policies are making a depression less likely. Roughly a quarter (26%) think his policies have no impact on the likelihood of a depression.
Looking to the United States, more than half (56%) of Canadians believe the policies of President Donald Trump are making a depression at least somewhat more likely, while 15 percent say his policies are making it less likely. The same number (15%) believe his policies make no difference.
Methodology: Total sample size was 1,013 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 24 - 29, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Canadian adults (aged 18+).