4 of 5 Canadians Feel Safe at Work, but Many Believe Workplaces Won’t Return to Normal Until 2022 - Algoma Marketplace

4 of 5 Canadians Feel Safe at Work, but Many Believe Workplaces Won’t Return to Normal Until 2022

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today released the results of a poll examining how Canadians feel about how and where they work during the pandemic. Abacus Data completed the polling for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce by Abacus Data.


Today, slightly more than 1 in 2 Canadians (51 per cent) are still going into the workplace most of the time, with another 12 per cent splitting their time between the workplace and working from home. Only 36 per cent are working from home full time.


Asked when they thought their workplace would return to normal, nearly half of Canadians (45 per cent) did not believe that would occur until 2022.

“It’s clear that Canadians and their employers have been adapting to work and life during the COVID-19 pandemic, doing their part to keep us safe and carrying the Canadian economy on their shoulders. Their pessimism about the return to normal may speak to broader concerns about our country’s slow pace at vaccinating and the need for a concrete plan for what comes next. While they see what good planning looks like in workplaces, they also hope to see our political leaders set a clear pathway out of this pandemic,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s largest business association.


The poll also showed half of Canadians had never worked from home before the pandemic. The pandemic’s shift to remote work may not be as extensive as originally thought, with the data showing a rise from 23% to 36% for those Canadians working mostly from home. While 27% of Canadians said they were working from home some of the time before the pandemic, now only 12% say they are splitting their time between the workplace and home.


For those Canadians going into the workplace, 4 out of 5 feel safe doing so. Conversely, only 1 in 2 of those working from home most or part of the time feel safe about the prospect of returning to their workplaces. The data suggests the majority of Canadians already going into the workplace most of the time are seeing the right safety precautions to keep them feeling safe.

Regardless of where they worked, the key concerns for returning to a workplace full-time were exposure to customers coming into the office and using public transit for the work commute. Not surprisingly, the data shows these concerns are most apparent for those working in small retail/food service businesses dependent on a physical presence. The Canadian Chamber and our members are working hard to support vaccination, rapid screening, and PPE programs across the country to lower the risk of infection from in-person interactions. Today’s data also helps narrow down where smaller businesses should invest in PPE and new processes to help protect their employees and make them more comfortable.

“As vaccines begin to roll out, more and more Canadians are asking what is the bridge between now and completion of mass vaccination? Part of that question is what a return to the physical workplace looks like. Helping employers address their concerns and plan more carefully will help make the transition, whenever it comes, smoother for everyone. The sooner our governments can provide a roadmap, the better,” said Trevin Stratton, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Policy.

The Canadian Chamber and Abacus will next examine what makes Canadians feel safe or unsafe about their current workplace or their return to a physical workplace.


The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadian adults of which 1,056 were currently employed either full-time or part-time from March 25 to 30, 2021. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,000 Canadians is +/- 2.19%, 19 times out of 20.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,056 employed Canadians is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The base sample were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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