TORONTO -- The COVID-19 pandemic that has transformed how many of us live since it first grabbed attention nearly two years ago is no longer the top issue of concern among Canadians, according to the latest polling from Nanos Research.

The latest issue tracking data found that 17.1 per cent of respondents ranked the “environment” as their top national issue of concern, surpassing the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time since March 2020.

“This week in the Nanos tracking coronavirus was not, I repeat, not the top national issue of concern,” Nik Nanos, founder and chief data scientist at Nanos Research, said on the latest episode of CTV's Trend Line podcast. “It was the environment as what Canadians are worried about and the environment has been on the upswing in the last number of weeks, with concern about coronavirus on the downswing.”

Overall, 14.9 per cent of respondents labelled COVID-19 as their top national issue, with healthcare (11.9 per cent), jobs and the economy (11.1 per cent) and the national deficit (4.7 per cent) trailing behind.

“I think a lot of this has to do with not necessarily the environment being more important, but the coronavirus,” Nanos said. “People (are) feeling a little more comfortable, a little more normalization of people's lives. The kids are back to school. People are thinking about going back to work and as a result, less concern about the coronavirus.”

Pre-pandemic, Nanos polling shows that the environment was the top national concern among Canadians (20.5 per cent), followed by jobs (15.4 per cent), healthcare (12.3 per cent) and the national deficit (4.9 per cent).

During the federal election last month, the environment was among the hot-button issues for the parties.

The Liberals have promised to push the oil-and gas sector and the entire country to net-zero emissions by 2050, to end all plastic waste by the end of this decade and phasing out public financing for fossil fuels.

The party also promised to create a $2-billion fund to diversify the economy in provinces more heavily reliant on natural resources.

The next episode of Trend Line is Oct. 19.