Canadians back continued government stimulus, finds KPMG survey

13 April 2021 3 min. read
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Most Canadians (77%) continue to support major stimulus spending to kick-start the country’s economy, according to a recent survey from KPMG Canada. The consulting firm surveyed 1,000 Canadians between March 17-20.

"The vast majority of Canadians want government to launch a major stimulus program to get our economy moving again," said Mary Jo Fedy, national leader, enterprise, KPMG Canada. "But they also want those investments centred around areas that will drive sustained health and prosperity in the country.”

Nearly 90% of respondents said they want future spending to be prudent, targeted, and focused on initiatives that grow the economy. A quarter of Canadians said they want investments to be directed to healthcare and life sciences, and a similar proportion said they want investments in domestic manufacturing.

The pandemic has obviously heightened the importance of the above two sectors in the eyes of Canadians – as self-sufficiency in critical goods and healthcare resilience have been spotlighted as major pain points. More than 90% of Canadians also want the government to create incentives to “buy Canadian” – both to restart the economy, as well as to build domestic capacity for critical needs.Canadians back continued government stimulus, finds KPMG survey

“The last year has seen unprecedented challenges to our health, communities, and economy, and most Canadians believe government will need to continue playing an active role until we've crushed Covid and our economy finds its feet again," Fedy added.

Confidence in a 2021 economic recovery fell 4% from January, with 64% very confident the overall Canadian economy would bounce back this year.

Economic recovery is heavily reliant on a swift and effective vaccination effort. Canada’s vaccine rollout, however, has been pedestrian compared to the turbo-charged campaign in the US – with the country reliant on vaccine shipments from the US and Europe, and handcuffed by inefficient distribution processes. Canada has distributed approximately 8 million doses, administering one dose to 19% of the population and fully vaccinating just 2.2% (part of a perhaps ill-advised strategic decision to administer as many first doses as possible and then delay the second dose well beyond the recommended maximum timeframe).

Canada’s businesses are also contending with yet another round of lockdowns, as Covid-19 daily cases rise to their highest levels ever, driven by the spread of more contagious variants. Some industries, including hospitality and leisure, have been effectively closed for a calendar year in major urban centers such as Toronto.

The US, meanwhile, has distributed 187 million doses, given at least one dose to 36% of the population, and fully vaccinated 22%. An Oliver Wyman report expects the US to reach herd immunity by early-to-mid-summer.

Nonetheless, Canadians remain reticent to reopen the US border just yet. Barely one quarter of respondents said it’s time to start thinking about reopening the Canada-US border.