Canadians continue to support major stimulus to help kick-start the country's economic recovery but want future government spending to be prudent, targeted and focused on initiatives that will grow our economy, finds a recent KPMG in Canada survey.

"The vast majority of Canadians want government to launch a major stimulus program to get our economy moving again," says Mary Jo Fedy, National Leader, Enterprise, KPMG in Canada. "But they also want those investments centred around areas that will drive sustained health and prosperity in the country. The areas they would like targeted are, not surprisingly, healthcare and domestic manufacturing – two key sectors whose importance to the country was highlighted during the pandemic."

Key Survey Findings:

  • 77 per cent believe we need government to step in with a major stimulus program to get our economy back to pre-Covid levels, down from 82 per cent in a January poll conducted by KPMG
    • 25 per cent want investments in healthcare/health sciences, down 9 per cent
    • 24 per cent want investments in domestic manufacturing, up 2 per cent
  • 89 per cent say future spending must be prudent, targeted and focused on initiatives that will grow our economy
  • 88 per cent say small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada have been the economic victims of the pandemic and government needs to do more for them, up 1 per cent from January
  • 93 per cent want government to create incentives to "buy Canadian" to restart our economy and ensure we build necessary domestic capacity to supply our critical needs, up 1 per cent.

Vaccine rollout brings optimism, but questions about Canada's economic recovery remain

Canadian confidence that the economy will recover this year has slipped a little, with those very confident of a rebound in 2021 falling 4 per cent since January. But the recent ramp up in vaccine rollout has the nation more optimistic that we will see sustained growth in the latter half of the year.

"Now that vaccine programs are gaining momentum, we are seeing growing optimism that better days are ahead," says Ms. Fedy. "But many individual Canadians and businesses still have a big hole to dig out of and will need further support. 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."

Ms. Fedy notes that no matter what is contained in the upcoming federal budget, the pandemic has reshaped the Canadian economy, placing pressures on companies across all sectors to operate digitally – in both the way they create and sell their products and services.

"Some companies have been able to adapt and make this change effectively, but others have struggled and will need support to build their digital capabilities and workforces," adds Ms. Fedy. "The Canadian economy has an opportunity to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient that ever with the right kinds of investments and leadership."

While Canadians are optimistic that vaccines will get their lives and the economy back on track soon, one thing they are not ready for is a reopening of the border with the United States. Barely one quarter of Canadians said it is time to start thinking about resuming normal traffic between the two nations.

Other poll findings

  • 64 per cent of Canadians are very confident the overall Canadian economy will recover in 2021
  • 91 per cent are hopeful widespread vaccinations by July will boost the economy in the latter half of the year
  • 84 per cent believe our economy has been forever changed – all businesses, no matter how small, need to be able to operate online
  • 91 per cent say the pandemic has shown a real need for Canadian businesses to improve their online presence and service
  • 28 per cent say it in now time to think about reopening the border with the U.S.

KPMG's professionals are available to provide insights and commentary on the upcoming 2021 federal budget.

About KPMG in Canada's Outlook Survey / Confidence Survey

KPMG surveyed 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ from March 17 to 20, 2021 to discern changes in the public's confidence in and attitudes toward the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows a survey of over 4,000 Canadians in January 2021 examining public sentiment on the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. For each study, KPMG leveraged the AskingCanadians panel by Delvinia through its methodify online research automation platform.

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP, a limited liability partnership, is a full-service Audit, Tax and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians. For over 150 years, our professionals have provided consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services to Canadians, inspiring confidence, empowering change, and driving innovation. Guided by our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better, KPMG employs nearly 8,000 people in over 40 locations across Canada, serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently ranked one of Canada's top employers and one of the best places to work in the country.

The firm is established under the laws of Ontario and is a member of KPMG's global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a private English company limited by guarantee. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information, see home.kpmg/ca

For media inquiries:

Nancy White
National Communications
KPMG in Canada
(416) 777-3306
(416) 876-1400
nancywhite@kpmg.ca