Now Or Never

Making ends meet during a pandemic: How these Canadians are fighting to get by

Meet Canadians whose lives and bank accounts have been upended by the pandemic, and what they're doing to get by.
The pandemic has upended the lives - and bank accounts - of thousands of Canadians. (Connie Monana/Vanessa Kuzina/Valerie Favreau)

This past year has been financially devastating for many Canadians. 

In January alone, 213,000 jobs were lost across the country. And more than 200,000 small businesses could shut their doors permanently due to the coronavirus.

Behind these staggering statistics, there are real people whose lives and bank accounts have been upended by the pandemic. And on this episode of Now or Never, you will meet some of them: 

  • Flight attendant Valerie Favreau was on a plane working when she found out she'd been laid off. How that sent her family into a tailspin, and forced Valerie to make hard choices about her identity and her future.  
  • Superette Foods is a tiny, neighbourhood corner store that's been a fixture in Nanaimo, BC for 44 years. Manager Shari Sorensen was worried that the shop may not make it through the pandemic - until the community rallied together to save it. 
  • Like thousands of temporary foreign workers, Connie Monana sends a big chunk of her income back home to her parents in the Philippines each month. But after nine years of living in Canada as a nanny, Connie still faces an uncertain future here - and very little savings.
  • Zandile Chiwanza makes a living writing about finances, but at the start of 2020 she had just one dollar in her savings account. How COVID forced her to get serious about saving, and face her guilt around money head on.
  • Vanessa Kuzina and Chris Young took a big financial risk when they uprooted their lives in Winnipeg to move to Toronto for a job opportunity. But then the pandemic hit. How they are still grappling with the consequences of that today.