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New poll shows growing support for a shorter workweek in Canada

New poll shows growing support for a shorter workweek in CanadaFrancesco Carta fotografo / Moment / Getty Images

As many Canadians adjust to new working conditions, a new poll indicates more and more Canadians support a shorter workweek as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend their working lives.

According to a new study by the Angus Reid Institute, the majority of applicants were in favor of the change.

More than half of Canadians (53 per cent) surveyed by the non-profit research centre said they felt it would be a good idea to make a new 30-hour workweek standard in Canada.

According to the study, the concept of a shorter workweek, much like that of the universal basic income, finds its highest levels of support among younger Canadians.

Asked if Canada would consider a four-day workweek after the pandemic is over, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not rule it out.

 “Right now we’re very much focused on getting through this particular crisis, and we’ll have plenty of time to talk about particularly creative ideas on moving forward, but I’m not going to speculate on what any of them might be,” he said at his daily briefing.

The shorter workweek approach to business has been gaining more and more attention. Not long-ago Andrew Barnes, founder of the New Zealand company Perpetual Garden made headlines around the world when he decided to give his employees a paid day off from work every week.  

“This is all about working smarter, not working longer,” said Barnes, whose firm manages wills, trusts, and estates. We have this perception that you’ve got to work five days a week, 9-5. What we are really talking about is changing how people are behaving when they are at the office,” he told CNBC’s The Exchange.

In other words, he believes employees perform better and are much happier. They still get 100% of their salary, but only work 80% of the standard hours. And ever since his experimented, plenty of other studies have backed him up, showing the pros outweigh the cons.

Whether or not a four-day workweek will become the standard in Canada remains to be seen but with 2020 bringing so much change in the world, anything is possible.

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