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Impacts of the Pandemic on Personal Finances: A Preliminary Assessment

Series: Survey of Household Finances in a Time of Pandemic – Part 1

 

For the past two months Quebec and the rest of Canada have been under a shelter-in-place regime because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this point, decision makers have very little data to inform decisions on how to follow through on the support measures already in place. In fact, aside from the Labour Force Survey, which is monthly, our toolkit of household statistics is collected on a much longer cycle (one or several years). Administrative data from our governments are currently difficult to access. Furthermore, they fail to give a full picture of personal finances in that they lack data on household spending, assets, and indebtedness. It might, for example, prove important to know who is receiving federal assistance, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), or whether households having suffered job losses were able to use credit or savings to meet their needs. From a macroeconomic perspective, it could be important to understand how household spending has changed since consumption is such a large part of GDP. It could also be important to measure households’ expectations regarding the future.

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