MONTREAL -- Around three in ten Canadians (28 per cent) feel life will not return to normal once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to a new study, while more than half feel a vaccine won't be available before 2021.

The Association for Canadian Studies and Leger asked 1,510 Canadians in a web survey if they felt life would return to normal once the COVID-19 pandemic ended, and what they felt changes to everyday life would look like.

Thirty-two per cent of those who felt life would not return to normal felt physical distancing will be the most permanent feature of a post-COVID-19 world.

“People will be more cautious with others” was one answer given while another said people “will fear strangers.”

Remote work (13 per cent) and enhanced hygiene and sanitary measures (12 per cent) were other changes those surveyed felt would become permanent, while just under one-in-10 (nine per cent) felt wearing masks would become normal.

Masks may be part of the new normal

Those over 55 years old were the most adamant (37 per cent of those surveyed) that physical distancing would become the new normal.

As the world races to find a vaccine, the majority of the Canadians surveyed in the study felt a vaccine would come in 2021 (51 per cent), while 18 per cent felt no vaccine would be available before 2022.

The study was conducted from June 19 to 21.