In September 2020, Abacus Data completed a nationally representative survey with 1,000 Canadian youth aged 15 to 30.
The purpose of this research was two-fold:
1. To understand the impacts and perspectives of the pandemic thus far for Canadian youth.
2. To explore their ideas for recovery from the pandemic.
Youth were asked questions about how they feel about their lives right now, their perspectives on the long-term and short-term impacts on their lives, and what they want to see in a recovery plan. Findings include:
1. Compared with 2019, Canadian youth are still likely to say their lives are at least ok but fewer describe their lives as good, especially those who are younger. They have been managing to weather the storm, but it won’t be without consequences.
2. The pandemic has caused fundamental shifts to education, employment, and financial situations of Canadian youth, but above all else it has fundamentally altered the structure of their lives and the supports they can access. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the very framework of young Canadian’s lives.
3. Looking long-term, youth are facing worry and uncertainly about their futures, but are keenly aware that there are others who may be facing greater challenges. Like most predictions about the general population, the impacts of the pandemic on youth are likely going to be long-lasting.
4. Aside from a global pandemic there have been growing concerns about other issues in our society, and Canadian youth are paying attention to these too. These have added compounding stresses to the lives of youth. Overall, there is awareness and concern about the growing number of social issues beyond the pandemic.
5. Youth want a comprehensive recovery policy that focuses on those most in need, providing long-term solutions that not only address the consequences of the pandemic, but the pre-existing inequalities as well. Youth want a plan that deals with the issues faced by their peers but one that doesn’t leave anyone out, particularly those in marginalized communities and those who were facing challenges even before the pandemic began.