The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Canadians work and live – and with those changes come new insurance challenges, a report from Aviva Canada found.
For its How We Live Report, Aviva Canada conducted an online survey with Leger, surveying 2,500 Canadians aged 18 and above about their lives and aspirations during and post-pandemic. One of the most telling findings of the report is that 60% of Canadians who have relocated cited the COVID-19 pandemic as an influential factor in their decision – with about 26% of those who have work-from-home arrangements flocking to the suburbs or small towns."
But this relocation trend to far-flung areas has a knock-on effect on driving habits, as more companies are requiring their employees to return to the office. This can be tricky, as 18% of Canadians told Aviva Canada that their transportation habits had changed since COVID-19.
“We’re starting to see the boomerang effect of the pandemic in terms of the distances people are driving,” said Aviva Canada EVP and managing director of personal insurance Phil Gibson. “Consumer driving distances dropped when COVID-19 first struck, due to work from home. But now return to work has translated into driving greater distances than before.”
The report also alarmingly found that while many Canadians have been spending on home décor during the pandemic, a good 28% of respondents said that they do not have any idea what their contents insurance covers.
Other key findings of the report include:
- The dream of homeownership is still alive for Canadians: 32% are currently living in their first home (compared to 22% in 2020). Over half of those respondents are between the ages of 25 and 44.
- Last year, homeowners had a fairly accurate understanding of the value of their home. This year, skyrocketing housing prices have resulted in Canadians overestimating the value of their home – especially in hot markets like Ontario where homeowners estimated 53% higher than the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
- When homeowners were asked if their home has increased in value since March 2021, Canadians remained optimistic. Most homeowners (81%) believe their property has increased in value (compared to 55% last year). Regionally, homeowners in Ontario and Quebec are much more likely to indicate this.
- Fewer Canadians are renovating. In the last year, 11% of Canadians improved their home space through renovations, compared to 17% the year prior. Changes to the backyard remained the most popular renovation.
- 47% of Canadians purchased new home décor during the pandemic, followed by 43% who bought new cooking equipment and 41% who purchased new technology for their home.
- Driving has become more popular among Canadians. Many who aren’t currently driving are anticipating using a motorized vehicle in the next year (54%), and 23% of Canadians are expecting their mileage to increase.
- More than half of Canadians are choosing to use their own vehicle for transportation (52%), followed by walking (14%), taking a bus (12%) or taking the subway (8%).
- Since the beginning of 2022, 47% of the Canadian workforce stated that they had fully returned to a designated workspace, 25% say they adopted the hybrid model, while 28% are now working permanently from home. Those in Ontario are more likely to work from home full-time (32% vs. 23% for the rest of Canada).
- Older Canadians reportedly enjoy returning to the workplace more than their younger counterparts. 61% of those aged 18-34 who returned to working in-person stated they found it difficult to concentrate and adjust to normal working conditions – this is 7% higher than the average Canadian.