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From Angus Reid Institute

Canadians’ expectations post-pandemic

Study canvasses views on social issues, representation in media, trust in justice system

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June 9, 2022 – Canadians values and social expectations are not fixed, they’re a constantly evolving target for public policy to approximate and bring to life. Politicians often try to capitalize on the moment to generate momentum for sweeping changes. So, how do Canadians feel after two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic?

A new study from the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with Government House and Vancouver Foundation, finds increased enthusiasm for social supports, more concern about environmental protection, and an ever-creeping secularism in Canadian society.

Indeed, comparing recently gathered data with that from a landmark 2016 study done by ARI, it is evident that a notable shift has taken place. The percentage of Canadians who prefer “more public support for the disadvantaged” has increased six points (51% to 57%), while those who prefer a system that “rewards hard work and initiative” has subsequently fallen in the faceoff (49% to 43%). Amid growing and well-documented concern about climate change, the percentage of residents who prefer a focus on environmental protection versus economic growth has likewise shifted. The environmental aspect is now the priority of 63 per cent, while 37 per cent say economic concerns are paramount.

These and other shifts in Canadian perspectives help to portray how the country can change over a five-year period. Though only a capture of a moment in time, these new realities are nonetheless key measures of expectations and values.

For media, who strive to tell these stories, the challenge is a disconnect with a portion of the audience. Using the Angus Reid Institute’s Canadian Values Index – a composite measure of progressive and conservative values across a spectrum – one can see that those on the Centre-Right and Right of the Index are vastly more likely to say that the stories they care about are not being told, and they are not being represented. Canada is made up of myriad perspectives, and 84 per cent of Canadians say that news media should reflect a range of different views and leave it up to viewers to decide what is of value.

That said, Canadians also express considerable doubt about their own compatriots’ ability to discern fact from fiction. Nine-in-ten (91%) say they are worried about people’s ability to tell what is real and what is fake in an increasingly online environment.

There should be...

Graph showing support for items in this survey

More Key Findings

Facts are facts

Seven-in-ten Canadians say that facts are real, established ideas or concepts. Three-in-ten disagree, and say that facts are subjective.

3 in 5: the news does a good job

Three-in-five (61%) say that news media do a good job of presenting stories and facts as they are, while 39 per cent say most of the stories in the news can’t be trusted.

Quebecers trust their courts

Quebecers are more likely to have confidence in their province’s criminal courts than residents of other provinces. There, more than half (54%) say they have complete or a lot of confidence in that system.

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Nov. 8-15, 2021 among a representative randomized sample of 4,000 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

The survey was conducted in partnership with, and paid for jointly by, ARI, Government House and Vancouver Foundation.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by the Canadian Values Index, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here. 

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

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From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org

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