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As few as 20 per cent of Canadians remain mostly working from home: latest data

The percentage of Canadians working most of their hours from home has shrunk over time, dropping to roughly 20 per cent in November 2023, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

That’s compared to about 40 per cent of Canadians working mostly from home in April 2020, after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 30 per cent in January 2022.

By contrast, about seven per cent of Canadians worked from home most of the time in January 2020, before the pandemic struck this country.

With more people working from home and stay-at-home orders implemented during the pandemic, public transit use saw a sharp decline, which put financial pressures on urban transit systems, the report notes.

From January to April 2020, the number of passenger trips in urban transit systems across the country fell from 163.9 million to 25.7 million.

The percentage of commuters using public transit fell from 12.6 per cent in May 2016 to 10.1 per cent in May 2023.

Some non-teleworkers may have also moved away from public transit and started commuting by car due to reduced commute times and traffic observed during the pandemic.

Greenhouse gas emissions likely took a dive during the pandemic as well, with more people staying at home rather than commuting into work.

The statistics agency notes there are diverse preferences among Canadian workers when it comes to working from home.

Of all employees usually working from home, almost one in four would ideally work a greater portion of their hours from home than they did in one week in August 2023, according to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada at the time.

By comparison, about one in eight said they would ideally work a smaller proportion of their hours from home than they did during that time.

The report also suggests that by eliminating or reducing the need to commute, the increases in telework triggered by the pandemic potentially generated time savings for many Canadians. 

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