Majority (55%) of Canadians say their Mental Health has been Negatively Impacted by COVID-19

Emotional, Mental and Physical Fatigue (62%) Tops list of COVID-related Mental Health Concerns

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, October 1, 2021 – As summer turns to fall and Canadians contemplate yet another long winter governed by COVID restrictions, a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Sun Life Financial has found that a majority (55%) of Canadians say that their mental health has been negatively (11% very/44% somewhat) impacted by COVID-19.

Among the list of COVID-related issues that is negatively impacting their mental health, six in ten (62%) Canadians say that emotional, mental or physical fatigue is the biggest issue, followed by financial concerns (41%) and concerns over resuming socializing with people (41%). Other issues negatively impacting one’s mental health include: breakthrough COVID infections among those who are double vaccinated (36%), vaccine passports/requirements to access services (24%), school protocols including masks and social distancing (18%), adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines (18%), having time to care for dependents (13%), in-person school closures or virtual learning (13%), taking public transit to work (10%), returning to an office environment (9%), finding childcare once they return to the office (6%), or some other thing (2%). Just 4% say none of these COVID-related issues is negatively impacting their mental health.

Given the prevalence of mental health concerns, it’s interesting to note that nearly four in ten (37%) working Canadians say that they feel unsafe talking about mental health at work. Among those who feel this way, six in ten (62%) believe it’s too personal to talk about, while 55% also indicate that they have a lack of trust that their employer will act appropriately. Other reasons include feelings of shame or embarrassment (50%), fear of discrimination (40%), potentially limiting their career potential (27%), believing their leadership is not supportive (25%), lack of adequate resources (23%), or fear of being fired or furloughed (22%).

Employers must act in order to protect the mental health of their employees or face the consequences of greater turnover. One in ten (11%) Canadians say they’ve left a job due to a lack of mental health support, and 10% say they’ve considered leaving a job due to a lack of mental health supports. Moreover, the example must be set at the top: just 22% say that their CEO or manager has talked about mental health in the last 12 months.

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 13 and 20, 2021, on behalf of Sun Life Financial. A sample of 1,500 Canadians was drawn from the Ipsos I-Say online panel aged 18 and older. The data for Canadians surveyed was weighted to ensure the sample's regional, age, and gender composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5% at 95% confidence level had all Canadian adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to methodological change, coverage error and measurement error

For more information on this news release, please contact:


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2002
Sean.Si[email protected]


About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).


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The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs