The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the employment and financial situations of many Atlantic Canadians

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the employment and financial situations of many Atlantic Canadians. Life after COVID-19 will be different from how things were prior to the pandemic.

HALIFAX, April 30, 2020: As Atlantic Canada completed its fifth week in a state of emergency and social distancing, Narrative Research reached out to its East Coast Voice online panel to assess public perceptions and behaviours related to COVID-19.  More than 3,200 Atlantic Canadians shared their point of view, and the following provides the final research summary from the study.


Virtually all panelists (98%) consider the Coronavirus to present a serious threat to national and provincial economies. Survey findings also show the pandemic poses a serious threat to Atlantic Canadians’ personal financial situations.

Indeed, close to two-thirds of Atlantic Canadians (63%) consider the outbreak to pose a serious threat to their personal financial situation. Results are generally consistent across the region, though residents in PE are least likely to see the pandemic as presenting a serious threat to their personal financial situation.

When considering how the crisis has impacted Atlantic Canadians financially, residents are most likely to see a negative financial impact on their retirement savings or other investments (54%).  Those with greater household incomes are more likely to have retirement savings impacted (69%), likely due to the fact that they are more likely to have had savings built up prior to the pandemic.

Across the region, four in ten have experienced a decrease in income as a direct result of the pandemic, while three in ten reported that their ability to assist other family members financially has been impacted.

Across the region, just under two in ten have been negatively impacted in their ability to meet their financial obligations – or pay their bills on time.  That impact is most prevalent among those living in households with lower household incomes, and those between the ages of 18 and 34 years.

One in ten residents (11%) reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their ability to pay their mortgage or rent, and that is most prevalent among younger residents (19%).


As provincial governments in Atlantic Canada begin to introduce plans to lift restrictions, results show that four in ten residents (38%) who were employed prior to the pandemic have had their employment negatively impacted by the crisis.

Three percent have permanently lost their job, while two in ten have temporarily lost their job and pay. A similar percentage has lost some employment income. Results are generally consistent across the region, although employees in NL are slightly less likely to be negatively impacted by the crisis, which may be reflective of that province’s higher incidence of public sector workers.

More than half of employed residents (56%) continue to work the same hours and earn the same income, and that is most prevalent in NL.  A small percentage of employed Atlantic Canadians (5%) are working more hours / making more income than prior to the pandemic.

The pandemic has shifted the workplace notably, with half of employed Atlantic Canadians (50%) currently working from home, either full-time or part-time.


Since COVID-19, three in ten Atlantic Canadians (29%) have had someone in their household apply for financial assistance programs, such as employment insurance or an emergency funding program, with residents in NL being least likely to have done so. Across the region, those with lower household incomes, and residents aged 18-34 years, are most likely to have had someone in their household apply for financial assistance programs.

“The pandemic is clearly one situation where Atlantic Canadians are in universal agreement. The impact of this event is bad for personal financial circumstances, the viability of business and the broader regional and national economies,” said Margaret Brigley, CEO & Partner of Narrative Research.  “There is broad agreement that the pandemic will have lasting impact on how society works in the future.”


Looking forward, Atlantic Canadians are consistent in anticipating life after COVID-19 to be different from how things were prior to the pandemic.

Two-thirds believe there will be some permanent changes in how we do things, while one-quarter anticipate life after the pandemic will be fundamentally changed.  Fewer than one in ten expect things to go back to normal afterwards.

Narrative Research,, is one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research companies. As a non-partisan, 100% Canadian-owned research company, Narrative Research is dedicated to providing clients with state-of-the-art research and strategic consulting services. Visit to join Atlantic Canada’s largest panel, and share your opinions. Follow us on Twitter at @EveryNarrative.

This survey was conducted from April 16 to April 19, 2020, with 3,236 Atlantic Canadians, 18 years of age or older, from Narrative Research’s online panel, East Coast Voice. This sample included responses from each Atlantic province (NB: 975; NS: 1,573; NL: 466; PE: 222). Using data from the 2016 Census, the results were weighted by gender, age, and region to reflect these population characteristics in each province. As a non-probability sample (i.e. a panel sample where residents have joined a panel to share their opinions), and in accordance with CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards, a margin of error is not applied.


For more information, please contact:

Margaret Brigley, CEO – 902.222.7066 (M),,


Margaret Chapman, COO – 902.222.4048 (M),