Carleton University announces recipients of the 2020 Pollara Statistical Confidence Awards

Since 1998, Pollara Strategic Insights has provided annual bursaries to the top statistical methods students in the political science departments at Canadian universities. Recipients must demonstrate sophisticated proficiency with advanced statistical methods as well as excellence in using these techniques to illuminate deep insights and distill a clear understanding of the human motivations and dynamics at play within public opinion datasets.  

At Carleton University, the Pollara Statistical Confidence Award is given to those political science students who produce the best quantitative analysis papers at an advanced stage of their studies.  

This year’s Carleton recipient is Daniel Turenne, a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management program. Congratulations Daniel!  

Carleton’s award announcement and more information on the recipient’s research paper can be found on the Carleton University Department of Political Science webpage

Mental Health Research Canada’s latest survey reveals dramatically increased levels of anxiety and depression remained high even at end of first wave

October 1, 2020 – Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) today released the results of a second major survey from their ongoing series of surveys devoted to tracking and exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians’ mental health. MHRC’s first survey, conducted in April 2020, revealed that the proportion of Canadians reporting high levels of anxiety and depression had quadrupled and doubled, respectively, compared to pre-COVID levels. This second survey reveals that these dramatically increased levels of anxiety and depression remained high in Late August – before the second wave had emerged, when COVID restrictions had been relaxed and cases were relatively low.   

These are just some of the results from this study, based on an online survey conducted among a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=4,010 adult Canadians from August 21-31, 2020. The first MHRC survey on this subject matter was conducted amongst N=1,803 adult Canadians in April 2020. On behalf of MHRC, Pollara Strategic Insights designed, conducted, and analysed the results of these surveys. The next survey in this series will be fielded in October, in order to gauge the impact of COVID-19’s second wave upon the mental health of Canadians.  

Some of the key findings emerging from this second major survey are as follows:  

  • Despite the reduction in lockdown restrictions and in new COVID cases between April and August, high levels of anxiety and depression remained steady – if slightly increased – across Canada (anxiety: 20% in April vs. 22% in August; depression: 10% in April vs. 13% in August).
  • Nearly two-thirds of Canadians who indicated a high level of anxiety or depression would be classified as having a moderate to severe level of psychological distress according to the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Of those in the severe category, the highest proportions were found among men and people living alone.
  • Teachers (K-12) are experiencing high levels of anxiety. In Late August – prior to the second wave – 25% of teachers were reporting high levels of anxiety, compared to just 5% prior to the pandemic. Teachers were also pessimistic about their levels of anxiety over the next two months. Their concerns about contracting the virus (44%) and social isolation (50%) are having an outsized negative effect upon their mental health.
  • While some factors – especially economic stress – that were negatively affecting mental health have been reduced, the activities previously cited by Canadians as having the most positive impact on mental health are no longer effective. Interaction with family members and entertainment are now having either a neutral or a negative effect on mental health. This may indicate that the effect of these positive activities is not long-lasting if the underlying cause of stress is not adequately addressed.
  • Prescription medication is reported by Canadians to be the most common treatment for mental health: 60% of people who indicate a mood or mental disorder diagnosis use prescription medication, with only one-fifth of this group receiving counselling or psychotherapy from a professional.
  • 17% of Canadians are currently accessing mental health services – almost half the proportion who were accessing mental health supports before the pandemic (32%), largely due to reduced access to family doctors and in-person one-to-one mental health services.

  Please visit the MHRC website to download the full report of the survey findings.

IFIC and Pollara Release 2020 Canadian Mutual Fund and ETF Investor Survey

September 21, 2020 – The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and Pollara Strategic Insights today released the results of their annual Canadian Mutual Fund and Exchange-Traded Fund Investor Survey, which has tracked attitudes, expectations, and behaviours of Canadian investors since 2006.

The survey continues to explore confidence in mutual funds and ETFs, the value of advisors, understanding and engagement in fees, and satisfaction with CRM2 statements. For the first time, this year’s survey gauges investor attitudes toward responsible investing.

“The annual Pollara survey enables us to better understand Canadian investors and work towards policy outcomes that best serve their needs,” said Paul Bourque, President and CEO, IFIC. “It is particularly interesting to note the strong interest in responsible investment as we continue to work towards greater clarity with respect to the strategies, products, and terminology related to this approach.”

“During these uncertain times, it is positive to see that investors continue to place a great deal of confidence in mutual funds,” said Lesli Martin, Vice President, Pollara Strategic Insights. “It is also encouraging to see that both mutual fund and ETF investors have shown increased satisfaction with CRM2 statements.”

Key Findings include:

  • Confidence in mutual funds by mutual fund investors is at an all-time high, with 92% of respondents stating that they are somewhat confident, confident, or completely confident in mutual funds.
  • The use of advisors for purchasing mutual funds has declined steadily since 2016, with 75% of investors stating that they work with an advisor in 2020.
  • Satisfaction with advisors remains very high for both mutual fund investors, at 96% and ETF investors, at 98%.
  • Satisfaction with the quality of information in CRM2 statements increased from last year across all key measures for mutual fund investors and ETF investors, including clearly showing the rate of return and clearly showing the fees paid.
  • One-quarter of both mutual fund and ETF investors currently own responsible investments.
  • A majority of both mutual fund (61%) and ETF (61%) investors who do not currently own responsible investments indicate they are somewhat likely, likely, or very likely to include these investments in their portfolio in the next few years.  

Pollara conducted telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 randomly-selected mutual fund holders and 500 ETF holders who are eighteen years of age or older and make all or some of the decisions regarding investment purchases in their households.

For more details, please download the full report in English or French.  Also, please visit the IFIC website for their press release and spokespeople


Canadian women almost twice as likely as men to have lost job due to COVID-19

September 10, 2020 – Our latest survey measuring the impact of COVID-19 on society reveals that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, with job losses being reported by almost twice as many women (11%) as men (6%).   

The study also found that two-thirds of Canadians – including working women and men – found it stressful managing children, family, and work during the lockdown. However, a third of women have considered quitting their jobs in order to manage these household issues, compared to less than 20% of men.

Pollara Strategic Insights is proud to partner with The Prosperity Project on this important study. On behalf of The Prosperity Project, Pollara conducted an online survey among a randomly-selected, reliable sample of 1,002 adult Canadians from August 21-24, 2020. A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Demographic and regional quotas were used to ensure reliable and comparable sub-segment analysis, and the data was weighted by the most current gender, age, and region Census data to ensure the sample reflects the actual population of adult Canadians.

The study found that “homemaking” duties – childcare, assisting with homework, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning –  continue to be largely executed by women. The prevalence of traditional household roles continues to act as an ongoing barrier to women’s careers, and this has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notably, women were more likely than men to feel guilty about not spending time with their children. Women were also more likely to feel stressed about juggling work and family responsibilities, leading them to be more likely to turn down jobs, overtime, and promotions – and, in some cases, leave the workforce entirely.

For the full report of the study findings, please visit The Prosperity Project.  

Concerned that people are not following safety protocols, most Ontarians fear second wave of COVID-19

August 31, 2020 – In our latest survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division (CMHA Ontario), Pollara has found that eight-in-ten Ontarians are concerned about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 (84%) and that such a resurgence would “put us back where we started” (85%).

Worries about the unsafe behaviour of others may be behind these concerns. Ontarians are concerned that other people are not following physical distancing guidelines (84%) and becoming too relaxed about COVID protocols too quickly (83%). Consequently, they are also concerned about coming in contact with people who are not taking the proper precautions (78%).

These are some of the findings from a new Pollara Strategic Insights survey conducted for CMHA Ontario from July 23 – August 2, 2020. The online survey was conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,002 adult Ontarians. The dataset was weighted according to standard statistical techniques in order to ensure the sample accurately reflected the demographic and geographic distribution of Ontarians according to the most recent Census.  Online surveys are not officially assigned a margin of error.  A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of +3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

As we saw in our May 2020 poll for CMHA Ontario, Ontarians continue to believe that the province may face a serious mental health crisis once the pandemic is over (66%; -3 since May). Only half (50%) feel confident that they would be able to find mental health supports for themselves or family members (if needed), but this represents a 6-point increase since May.

Among Ontario’s parents, nearly eight-in-ten are worried about their children contracting COVID-19 at school (78%) and infecting other household members (79%).  Two-thirds (64%) are concerned about their own anxiety about their children returning to in-class learning in September.

When it comes to education, 61% of parents are concerned COVID protocols will have a negative impact on learning. However, more than six-in-ten are also worried about their child’s motivation and productivity (67%) when learning remotely from home and their child’s ability to learn in the home environment, in general (63%).

For more findings from this survey, please see the article in the Toronto Star or visit the CMHA Ontario website.

Most Canadian parents are sending their kids back to classrooms, but half have concerns and misgivings about the safety of their province’s plan

August 20, 2020 – Released in today’s Toronto Star, Pollara’s national survey of Canadian parents of schoolchildren reveals that while most are likely to send their kids back to in-class learning, about half have significant concerns and misgivings about the safety of their provincial government’s COVID-19 back-to-school plan. Indeed, more than a third prefer that the plan be improved to reduce COVID-related health risks, even if it delays the start of school.  

While many Canadians may have thought that back-to-school would be a time of reduced stress for parents, these findings suggest that the new school year is shaping up to be the opposite – a time of significantly higher stress due to concerns for children’s safety in the face of COVID-19.    

These are some of the findings of a new online survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights between August 11-16, 2020 amongst a randomly-selected sample ofN=879 Canadian parents with at least one child aged 16 or under who is enrolled in kindergarten, elementary school, or secondary school. Online surveys cannot officially be assigned a margin of error. A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ± 3.3%, 19 times out of 20.  The data were weighted to ensure that the sample reflect the gender and region distribution of the target population.

Overall, provincial government COVID-19 back-to-school plans are not inspiring high approval or confidence outside of Quebec. Nationally, about half (52%) of parents of schoolchildren approve of their provincial government’s back-to-school plan, with a third (35%) disapproving. Moreover, less than half of parents are confident (47%, vs. 43% not confident) that their province’s plan will protect their children from COVID-19.

  • Approval ratings vary across the country, with only Quebec and Manitoba registering majority approval. Parents in Ontario (46% approve vs. 42% disapprove) and Alberta (50% approve vs. 40% disapprove) are the most likely to disapprove of their provincial government’s plans. Notably, Quebec parents are – by far – the most likely to express approval (69% approve and 21% disapprove).
  • Parents in Alberta (38% confident vs. 54% not confident), BC (39% vs. 47%) and Ontario (43% vs. 48%) are the least confident that their provincial government’s plan will protect their children from COVID-19.  

When considering elements of their provincial government’s plan, a majority of parents believe it is based on the advice of health experts, but half feel the plan is rushed (50%), with overly large class sizes (53%) and inadequate social distancing (53%). Notably, less than half (39%) say their province’s plan is well thought out and detailed and only a quarter (27%) feel it is sufficiently funded.

  • Quebec parents are – by far – the most positive about all elements of their provincial government’s plan, whereas those in Alberta, Ontario, and BC have the most negative impressions.

Despite these concerns and criticisms, seven-in-ten (70%) parents say their schoolchildren are likely to return to in-class/in-school learning, whereas 14% say they are going back to online-only. A significant proportion (11%) are unsure. Another 3% say they are opting to home school their children themselves, and 3% say they will not allow their kids to return to school in any capacity until it is safe for them to return to in-class learning.

  • Ontario parents are the least likely to say their children will return to in-class/in-school instruction (63%) and the most likely to say their children will be opting for remote/online-only education instead (21%). On the other hand, Quebec parents (79%) are the most likely to send their children back to in-class learning.
  • Secondary school parents (74%) are more likely to send their children back to an in-class setting than parents of younger children (Elementary parents: 68%; Kindergarten parents: 66%).
  • Among parents sending kids back to an in-class setting, the main reasons for this choice are their view that educational progress, mental health, and socialization are important – and best achieved in-class.

However, although most parents are likely to send their kids back to the in-person classroom, only four-in-ten (43%) feel their provincial government’s plan is the best plan possible and should be attempted as-is. More than a third (36%) feel the plan is too risky and should be improved – even if it means delaying school start. Another 15% feel that COVID-19 still presents too great of a threat to permit to allow kids to return to in-class learning.

  • In Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the prevailing sentiment is that their current back-to-school plans are the best possible approach and should be attempted. However, in the other provinces/regions, parents are split or express plurality preference for improving the safety of the plan, even if this would delay the start of the school year.

For more details, including provincial/regional results, please see our report and the article in the Toronto Star.

Canadians want federal government to Buy Canadian instead of Amazon and to encourage the public to do the same

August 17, 2020 – Canadians overwhelmingly prefer that the federal government contract with Canadian companies (82%) rather than Amazon (7%) in order to distribute COVID-19 related goods, like personal protective equipment (PPE), to Canadians and Canadian institutions. This survey result provides further evidence that the trend toward localism – which has been accelerated by the pandemic – makes “Buy Canadian” a default position for federal procurement, wherever possible.

These are some of the recently-released findings from an online survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,912 adult Canadians. These results are from the May 21– May 25, 2020 wave of Economic Dashboard – Pollara’s ongoing national economic syndicated study available to subscribers. Online samples cannot officially be assigned a margin of error. A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ± 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The dataset was statistically weighted by current gender, age, & region Census data, in order to ensure the sample reflects the actual population of adult Canadians.

The survey also found that nine-in-ten (90%) Canadians agree that the federal government should encourage the public to buy from Canadian companies in order to better support the country’s businesses and economy as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Moreover, 83% support the federal government encouraging the public to Buy Canadian instead of buying from Amazon in order to better assist the economic recovery.

Three-quarters (75%) of Canadians also feel that Amazon cannot guarantee COVID-free products because they sub-contract delivery to other companies.

For additional results and survey details, please see the report excerpt.

Canadians more likely to get Fall 2020 flu shot because of COVID-19

August 11, 2020 – According to our recent survey assessing Canadian intentions and attitudes regarding the flu shot, 57% say they are definitely or probably getting the flu shot for the upcoming flu season – a notable increase from the 45% who say they received last season’s shot. The cohort of Canadians who intend to get the flu shot this Fall includes 26% of Canadians who did not get the shot last season.  Notably, a third (34%) of Canadians say they are more likely to get the flu shot this year because of COVID-19, whereas just 7% are less likely.

These are some of the findings of an online survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,912 adult Canadians from May 21 to 25, 2020. Online samples cannot officially be assigned a margin of error. A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ± 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. Although flexible demographic and regional quotas were employed to ensure reliable and comparable subsegment analysis, the data was weighted by current gender, age, & region Census data, to ensure the sample reflects the actual adult population of Canada.

Pharmacies continue to be the most likely place for immunization this upcoming flu season (41%), with 34% saying they will go to their doctor’s office. When deciding where to get immunized this flu season, physical distancing (80%), PPE usage (80%), and limits on number of people allowed on the premises at a time (76%) are the most important considerations for Canadians.

Notably, convincing Canadians of the efficacy and safety of the flu shot remains a challenge for governments and health policy leaders. Although 54% believe the flu shot does an effective job of preventing the flu, almost half remain unconvinced. A quarter (27%) feel it is ineffective, 6% feel it does more harm than good to patient health, and 13% are unsure. 

For more details on the survey findings, including the full report and provincial results, please visit the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA) website.

Pandemic Boon to Gas and Convenience Stores Reversing

Pollara Strategic Insights has partnered with Caddle to launch Convenience & Gas Shopper Intelligence – a new syndicated study that provides subscribers with unprecedented insights into C&G shopper patterns throughout the pandemic and onwards.  Since April 8, 2020, our study has been tracking these shoppers’ behaviours and attitudes. The wave one results – compiled over multiple surveys through April to June – are now available.

During the peak of the pandemic, C&G stores were used by many as an alternative to shopping for fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in traditional grocery stores., but as pandemic numbers decrease, so too does the incidence of C&G shoppers.

In April, 78% of adult Canadians were shopping FMCG in C&G stores. During this month, the incidence was higher among shoppers from younger generations (86% among Gen Z, 83% among Millennials).

In June, as COVID-19 restrictions eased, the percentage dropped to 70%. The share of younger Canadians shopping in C&G dropped to 72% among Gen Z and 78% among Millennials.

In general, during the past 3 months, shoppers’ price sensitivity has increased. However, this is less of a concern for regular C&G shoppers who are willing to pay more given C&G stores’ location and ease of shopping.  Amongst those not shopping in C&G stores, higher prices and the perception that C&G stores are not as clean or safe as traditional grocery stores are among the top barriers.

During April and May, the items most purchased in C&G stores were food essentials, such as bread and milk. In the past month, purchases of these items have decreased significantly.

As summer unveils and pandemic numbers remain stable, products within the categories of RTD/cold drinks, confectionery, snacks in general, and lottery, rise to the top as the items most purchased.

How will C&G shoppers’ attitudes and behaviours change as we move into a new normal? How will a resurgence of COVID-19 impact current trends?  Future waves of this study will highlight for subscribers how to prepare for, cater to, and maintain new C&G shoppers.

For more insights, including profiles of key C&G shopper segments, download the full report. If you are interested in subscribing to future C&G Shopper Intelligence quarterly reports, please contact MarioCaceres@pollara.com.  

Eight-in-ten Canadians support federal government investment in aerospace industry

July 9, 2020 – Only 18% of Canadians are very or somewhat familiar with the contributions that the Canadian aerospace industry makes to the national economy. However – when told of the economic benefits of the aerospace industry ($31 billion in revenue, contributed more than $25 billion to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product, provides jobs to 215,000 Canadians) – almost all (91%) Canadians agree that it is very (46%) or somewhat (45%) important that the industry remain in Canada (91%).

These are some of the noteworthy findings from a new survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC)The survey was conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,517 adult Canadians between July 6th and 7th, 2020.  

When informed that Canada’s aerospace industry ranking recently dropped from 5th to 7th in the world, more than eight-in-ten Canadians (85%) feel that is important for Canada to invest in its domestic aerospace industry. When hearing that Canada’s ranking in this industry has slipped from fifth to seventh place, the vast majority (85%) of Canadians feel that it is very (39%) or somewhat (49%) important that our aerospace industry remains competitive on a global scale.  

Likewise, 85% also feel it is very (36%) or somewhat (50%) important that Canada invest in this industry, similar to other countries like Hong Kong, France, Germany and the USA.  

Not surprisingly, eight-in-ten (78%) of Canadians strongly (35%) or somewhat (44%) agree that the federal government should develop a comprehensive Aerospace Strategy to ensure the industry’s long-term future and protect the more than 215,000 jobs and financial contribution to Canada.     

Majority of Canadians have been victim of a cybercrime

Cyber Security

July 9, 2020 – Cybersecure Policy Exchange (CPX), Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, and the Ryerson Leadership Lab today release their report Advancing a Cybersecure Canada, which includes the results of a national survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights.

The survey sought to understand Canadians’ experiences, choices, and priorities toward their cybersecurity and digital privacy. Among the findings, the survey discovered that 58% of Canadians report being the victim of at least one cybercrime. The survey also uncovers fascinating results across a comprehensive array of technological spheres, including social media, internet of things (IoT), and biometrics. 

Pollara conducted the online survey amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=2,000 adult Canadian from May 14-22, 2020. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The dataset was weighted by gender, age, and region according to most recent Census in order to ensure the sample accurately reflects the actual adult Canadian population.

The CPX report addresses cybersecurity and digital privacy – some of the most pressing challenges facing Canada today. In it, the CPX lay out their immediate areas of focus, share their most-up-to-date understanding of the challenges that technology presents to Canadians; and share research on Canadians’ usage and attitudes toward a range of technologies. The report marks the launch of CPX’s plans to actively support and convene public engagement and policy development through research and close engagement with government, academia, industry, and civic institutions on the urgent challenges facing Canada.

For more survey results, download and read the free CPX report.

Environment and nature conservation remain high public priorities amidst COVID-19

Covid Environment

July 7, 2020 – Although the country faces ongoing public health and economic crises due to COVID-19, seven-in-ten (72%) Canadians still feel that protecting natural ecosystems and habitats (and the animal and plant life that they support) should be a major or moderate priority for the federal government.

This is one of the many noteworthy findings from a new survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the International Boreal Conservation Campaign and the Indigenous Leadership Initiative. The online survey was conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=3,019 adult Canadians. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate within ± 1.8%, 19 times out of 20 (95%). The dataset was weighted according to the most recent Census in order to ensure the sample represented the gender, age, and regional proportions of the actual adult general population.  

Historically, national crises – especially recessions – have been witness to a significant decline in public support for environmental action. Yet, despite the unprecedented impact and challenge of COVID-19, Canadians currently remain committed to conservation and fighting climate change. Of course, about nine-in-ten feel that the economy (91%), health care (90%), and responding to the pandemic (88%) should be major or moderate priorities for the federal government. However, clear majorities also feel the same about protecting natural ecosystems and habitats (72%), reducing social inequality (72%), and fighting climate change (65%).

Moreover, when considering the federal government’s economic recovery initiatives, 72% want the government to rebuild the economy while introducing change to how the economy operates and generates growth – either through new approaches (39%) or a fundamental transformation (33%). Only 16% want the federal government to introduce measures designed to simply rebuild the pre-COVID economy.

Indeed, most Canadians feel it is very or somewhat important that the federal government’s economic recovery measures include investments in renewable energy sources (76%), nature-based climate solutions like planting trees and creating new protected areas (74%), anti-climate change initiatives (71%), nature conservation and stewardship (70%), cleaner modes of transportation (70%), Indigenous communities (65%), and Indigenous land stewardship (57%).

As part of the federal government’s economic recovery measures, seven-in-ten (72%) Canadians also support funding and investing in Indigenous stewardship, including Indigenous Guardians – trained local experts who manage lands and waters, test water quality, restore species like caribou and salmon, and monitor development such as mine sites or forestry projects. Just 13% express opposition.

Additionally, 84% of Canadians feel it is very or somewhat important that the federal government invest in measures that will protect 30% of lands, rivers and lakes by 2030. Seven-in-ten feel the same about investing in measures that reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 (71%) and implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commission (70%).

For more details from this study, including the report and associated commentary, visit the IBCC website.

Canadians accept legalizing psilocybin “magic” mushrooms for terminally ill

June 23, 2020 – In a new poll conducted for TheraPsil, Pollara Strategic Insights has discovered that 64% of Canadians express top-of-mind acceptance (41% approve, 23% are ambivalent) of “the federal government legalizing psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal use by people who are suffering from a terminal illness, such as terminal cancer”.  Moreover, after provided information about psilocybin clinical trials amongst patients with depression or a terminally ill condition, acceptance rises to 78% (59% approve, 19% are ambivalent).

These are the results of an online survey conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,509 adult Canadians on June 12th and 13th, 2020. Online surveys cannot have a margin of error assigned. A probability sample of this size is considered accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted based on the latest Census to ensure the data is representative of the gender, age, and regional distribution of the adult Canadian population.  

On a top-of-mind basis, 41% of Canadians approve (23% strongly, 17% somewhat) of the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms – “also known as magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, or shrooms” – for medicinal use by terminally ill patients. An additional 23% express ambivalence, effectively providing tacit approval. Together, the approving and ambivalent segments represent an almost two-thirds (64%) majority who express acceptance of this legalization proposal. Only 23% disapprove (18% strongly, 5% somewhat), and 14% are unsure.

Once respondents are provided information on the results of clinical psilocybin studies, approval rises to a clear majority (59% – 34% strongly, 25% somewhat). Two-in-ten (19%) remain ambivalent. Together, these segments represent an almost eight-in-ten (78%) majority who express acceptance of this legalization proposal when exposed to this information:

Recent clinical studies have shown that psilocybin – the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms –  has helped treat end-of-life distress for terminally ill patients. The results of the studies showed that psilocybin produced large and significant decreases in depression and anxiety, and increases in measures of quality of life, life meaning, death acceptance, and optimism.  

Some terminally ill Canadians are asking the federal government for access to psilocybin.  They argue that since Canadian law gives terminally ill patients the right to die with medical assistance, they should also give them the right to try psilocybin in an effort to improve their quality of life.  

These survey results align with findings from the March 2020 wave of Pollara’s Cannabis in Canada subscription-based syndicated study, which found that six-in-ten (60%) Canadians accepted (38% approve, 22% ambivalent) the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for general medicinal use, only with a prescription from a medical professional. Notably, only 42% felt the same (21% approve, 21% ambivalent) about legalizing magic mushrooms for recreational use. However, that acceptance level is only 9 points lower than we found for recreational cannabis about 19 months prior to legalization (March 2017: 51% – 41% approve, 10% ambivalent). Now, acceptance of legal recreational cannabis is 70% (March 2020: 49% approve, 21% ambivalent).

For more information and details from the TheraPsil poll, please see their press release and website.

Canadian Views on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

June 8, 2020 – Cybersecure Policy Exchange, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, and the Ryerson Leadership Lab today release The Race to Trace: Security and Privacy of COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps. Contact tracing is one of the most discussed and misunderstood policy issues today. This report explores the issue and policy dynamics, reveals Canadian attitudes towards the use of this technology, and provides recommendations for the responsible use of contact tracing in a way that builds and earns public trust.  

The report is based on a dialogue with policymakers, technologists, academics, and think tanks – as well as a national survey of 2,000 Canadians – conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the Ryerson Leadership Lab.

Download the survey results and the report’s recommendations.

New national survey for Mental Health Research Canada reveals rising levels of anxiety and depression due to COVID-19 crisis

May 19, 2020 – Mental Health Research Canada recently launched their year-long study, “Mental Health in Crisis: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Canadians,” with their first national survey of more than 1,800 adult Canadians. The objective of this research program – which will continue with regular tracking surveys – is to generate solid data that will help policy makers, governments, and service delivery agents tailor programs to meet the needs of Canadians during the current crisis.  

Conducted on behalf of MHRC by Pollara Strategic Insights, the results reveal public perceptions of their level of anxiety and depression before and during the current crisis. The study identifies the health, economic, employment, and lifestyle factors that Canadians feel are positively and negatively influencing their mental health. It also captures reported increases in consumption of alcohol, cannabis, and illegal drugs.    

Some of the study’s findings include:  

  • High levels of anxiety have quadrupled and high levels of depression have doubled.
  • Residents of Atlantic Canada and Ontario report highest increases in anxiety (+28% and +27%, respectively), with the Prairies reporting the lowest increase (+20%). Similarly, reported increases in depression levels are highest in Atlantic Canada (+13%) and Ontario (+12%); with Quebec reporting the lowest increase (+5%).
  • Nearly half of Canadians diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (48%) or depression (45%) feel the positive impacts of communicating with friends and family, but are also feeling the negative impacts of self-isolation (44% both).
  • 57% of Canadians diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression accessed mental health supports before the outbreak. Of these Canadians, 45% currently access mental health supports.
  • 57% of recently unemployed Canadians report their mental health has been negatively impacted by job loss.
  • Canadians with children are much more likely to report that interactions with family members in their household are having a positive impact on their mental health (46%) than those without children (26%).
  • Canadians report an increase in consumption of alcohol and cannabis since the outbreak, but feel the impact on their mental health is relatively neutral at this point.
  • Canadians with children younger than age 18 are more likely to increase their consumption of alcohol (36%) and illegal drugs (25%) since the outbreak than those without children (25% and 13%, respectively). Increased use of cannabis is about the same across both cohorts: those with children (31%); those without (29%).

Download and read the full report for this comprehensive survey at the MHRC website.  

New CMHA Ontario survey reveals majority of Ontarians believe mental health crisis will follow COVID-19

Toronto, May 11, 2020 – Seven out of 10 Ontarians (69 per cent) believe the province is headed for a “serious mental health crisis” as it emerges from this pandemic and nearly eight out of 10 (77 per cent) say more mental health supports will be necessary to help society, according to new poll results released today.

This data comes from the first of three polls Pollara Strategic Insights is conducting on behalf of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division.

CMHA Ontario is looking to evaluate how Ontarians’ perceptions of their mental health are changing as they come out from underneath the pandemic. Two more surveys will follow in the coming months as restrictions loosen around COVID-19 and the economy continues to re-open.

Pollara’s research shows that 79 per cent of people in the province worry about what the future will look like after the outbreak is over, 87 per cent are worried about the impact on the older generation, and 71 per cent are worried about the younger generation.

Nearly everyone (90 per cent) is concerned about COVID-19’s impact on the economy and 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the impact the outbreak has on their personal finances.

One finding of note is that while 67 per cent of Ontarians are worrying about the mental health impact on family and friends, fewer Ontarians – 53 per cent – are concerned about their own mental health.

“Stigma is likely playing a role in this self-reporting in that it’s much easier for Ontarians to admit concern for their physical health or for others than their own mental health,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario.

“This may explain why, in spite of prevalent negative feelings, more people in Ontario express concern with their physical health [39 per cent] than those who express concern with their mental health [23 per cent],” she said.

“We look forward to the next phases of this research to gain a broader understanding of how the pandemic has affected our province and how we can best move forward to support Ontarians as they address mental health and addictions issues,” Quenneville said.

Pollara’s online research of 1,001 Ontario residents over 18 was conducted from April 16-23. It carries a margin of error of ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Additional findings:

  • Three-fifths (58 per cent) believe the mental health of themselves, those in their household (55 per cent) and friends and family outside their household (59 per cent) are negatively affected by the pandemic.
  • People are more likely to feel their mental health (36 per cent) has worsened than their physical health (26 per cent) during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • A quarter (23 per cent) of Ontarians are consuming more substances such as alcohol, tobacco or cannabis. Among those who are consuming these substances, 29 per cent have changed the time of day when they consume.
  • The things we recommend to stay mentally healthy are taking a hit. For example, 36 per cent of Ontarians say their diet has gotten worse, while 48 per cent say exercise habits have worsened.
  • Despite trying to make a daily routine, 59 per cent are finding it hard to be productive while in self-isolation. This is true of those who are currently employed and those not working.
  • Eight per cent have had to deal with themselves or friends and family members testing positive, or losing a friend or friend or family member to the virus.
  • 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about catching the virus, while 70 per cent are concerned about losing family or friends to COVID-19.
  • 40 per cent of respondents or an immediate family member have lost work hours or pay while nearly a third (28 per cent) have been laid off.
  • 65 per cent are concerned about the impact on students’ education.

About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our 28 local CMHA branches, together with community-based mental health and addictions service providers across the province, serve approximately 500,000 Ontarians each year.

For more information, contact your local CMHA branch, visit the CMHA Ontario website, or contact:

Justin Dickie
Communications Officer
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
T: 416-977-5580, ext. 4175
E: jdickie@ontario.cmha.ca

New Pollara Report Goes Deep on Covid-19 Impact on Canadians

April 8, 2020 — With Canada and the world struggling through the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pollara Strategic Insights conducted an in-depth national survey of Canadians in order to understand their emotions, concerns, expectations, behaviours, and perspectives on government responses.

The study provides insight into the depth of the pandemic’s impact upon Canadians’ personal finances, employment situation, family and social life, worklife, and consumer activity. It also reveals to what degree the public is committed to self-isolation and social distancing.

Read our full report.  Read the article in the Toronto Star.

Economic Outlook 2020: Canadians in psychological recession, while struggling with cost of living

February 28, 2020 — The results are in for the 25th annual edition of Pollara Strategic Insights’ Economic Outlook Study – Canada’s longest-running study of the public’s perceptions and expectations of the economy and their personal financial situation. And, it reveals somewhat improved – but still negative – sentiment and expectations among Canadians.

Although the Great Recession has long been in Canada’s rear-view mirror, Canadians have not actually felt that the economy was out of recession, except in 2018. Currently, just under half (47%) of Canadians feel that the economy is in recession – a notable decline of 9 points since 2019. However, only 37% (+5) feel we are in a period of growth.  

Canada’s economy is often a see-saw tale of regions. During the oil boom of 2010-2014, Albertans were highly positive about the economy, while Ontarians were negative and pessimistic in the face of relatively high unemployment. Currently, Alberta and Saskatchewan stand out amongst the provinces with very negative perspectives on the economy, while Quebecers are displaying high confidence.

Contextually, to the eyes of Canadians, the grass does not appear to be greener elsewhere.  Canadians are more likely to have a negative expectation for both the U.S. and global economies than for their own economy. This negative view of the world around them may provide the public with some cold comfort.

The public’s assessment of their own personal financial situation remains stable compared to last year. Overall, half continue to hold their own, while a third (32%) are losing ground. Just 12% say they are getting ahead.

Although job loss concerns are relatively low outside of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the cost of living continues to be an issue across the country. For two years now, a plurality (45%) of Canadians report that their household income is falling behind the cost of living. Four-in-ten (41%) are keeping pace.  Just 8% are outpacing it – which is what is needed to contribute to savings, retirement investments, and consumer spending.

See the full details in our report, as well as further perspective via Jason Kirby’s article in Maclean’s.

Ontario Liberals begin 2020 on top, as NDP decline and PCs hold steady

January 15, 2020 – Our latest sounding of the Ontario provincial political landscape reveals that the Liberals are beginning the new year – and entering an upcoming leadership convention – in first place, with a slight lead over the PCs.

The Liberal brand (33%) remains strong in Ontario, as they continue to rebound from their 2018 electoral loss despite not yet having a new official leader. Since May 2019, the Liberals have increased their support among Ontario’s decided voters by 7 points, and by a total of 13 points since the 2018 election.   

Conversely, the NDP (27%) have shed 4 points of support since May 2019, and a total of 7 points since 2018.

Meanwhile, the PCs (29%; -1) – who posted a double-digit decline in support in May 2019 compared to their 2018 election result – have stopped the bleeding and held steady.

For more details, see our report, data tables, and today’s article in the Toronto Star

Pollara’s Third Annual Municipal Satisfaction Report

December 18, 2019 — In our annual municipal satisfaction survey, six-in-ten (63%) Canadians express overall satisfaction with their local government. Two-thirds or more are satisfied with the quality (66%) and range (69%) of the services provided by the municipal tier of government. Overall, these satisfaction levels are moderate rather than intense in nature.

Across the provinces, Quebec and BC provide the highest satisfaction ratings, whereas Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan are home to the lowest satisfaction ratings.

Within Ontario, the GTA 905 Belt and Southwest post the highest satisfaction ratings, whereas the lowest ratings are found in Hamilton/Niagara and the North. Both the Southwest and the North have posted significant improvements in their satisfaction scores. Satisfaction levels in the City of Toronto are similar to the overall Ontario average.

For the full detailed results, please see our report

SOCIALscape 2019: Canada’s definitive measurement of social media and messaging usage patterns

December 12, 2019 — Pollara proudly presents the fourth edition of SOCIALscape, Canada’s definitive measurement of social media and messaging usage patterns. 

Although almost all (90%) adult online Canadians use social media, usage and activity remains primarily Facebook-based. Each of the other platforms has significantly lower membership share and usage frequency.Eight-in-ten (80%) Canadians continue to use Facebook, whereas each of the secondary tier platforms – Instagram (43%), Twitter (42%), Pinterest (41%), and LinkedIn (36%) – claims about half or less the market penetration enjoyed by Facebook.

Canadians are not as active on social media as commonly assumed, and are much more likely to be wallflowers – that is, passive readers – than active posters. However, both posting and re-posting/sharing frequency is on the rise across all platforms.

Canadian social media users spend an average of 6 hours per week on social media. Most are primarily connected to family, friends, and peers on social media, but more than half are connected to at least a few companies, products, or brands. When posting, humour (41%), personal news (35%), and current events (32%) are the top topics. Just 17% of social media users post about politics/government.

Most Canadian social media users report seeing ads in their social feeds – consumer goods/services and retail stores are the most prevalent subject matter, but survey invitations and political parties, candidates, and causes are also in the ad mix – although somewhat less so. The majority of users will click on an ad for more information at least some of the time, especially for surveys, retail stores, and consumer goods/services. 

When it comes to evaluating the social media experience, most social media users agree that it is a “fun” and “cool” place, it exposes them to different views, and it lets them stay connected to friends and family. However, most feel that people are more negative and hostile on social media than in real life, and worry that social media is fostering hate and violence in society.

Nevertheless, the positives – or the enduring power of FOMO – appear to outweigh the negatives, as less than one-in-ten social media users and Facebook users are seriously considering quitting social media in general or Facebook specifically.

When it comes to messaging apps, almost all (90%) adult online Canadians use at least one such service. Facebook Messenger (70%) is the leading app, followed by basic SMS texting (59%).

However, these dominant platforms do not lead in terms of usage frequency on a platform-by-platform basis. While Facebook Messenger had the highest overall user incidence, only 41% of Messenger users report sending messages on a daily basis. Similarly, the proportion (53%) who text at least on a daily basis also trails the incidence of users (59%).

Comparatively, although just 30% of Canadians use Apple’s iMessage service, six-in-ten (58%) iMessage users send messages at least daily and 77% do so at least weekly. Similarly, WhatsApp users – just 29% of Canadians – are also more likely to send messages daily (43%) than Facebook Messenger users.

For more details and insights, please read our overview report. 

Pollara’s Third Annual Hospital Reputation Ratings Report

December 6, 2019 — Our annual hospital reputation benchmarking survey reveals that a slim majority of Canadians hold a positive impression of their primary hospital – overall and in terms of quality of care. 

Across the provinces, BC, Quebec, and Alberta residents provide the highest impression ratings, whereas Manitoba is home to the lowest impression ratings.

Within Ontario, the Southwest and East provide the highest impression ratings, whereas Hamilton/Niagara provide the lowest impression ratings.

For the full detailed results, please see our report

Carleton University announces recipients of the 2019 Pollara Statistical Confidence Awards

Since 1998, Pollara Strategic Insights has provided annual bursaries to the top statistical methods students in the political science departments at Canadian universities. Recipients must demonstrate sophisticated proficiency with advanced statistical methods as well as excellence in using these techniques to illuminate deep insights and distill a clear understanding of the human themes and dynamics at play within public opinion datasets.

At Carleton University, the Pollara Statistical Confidence Award is given to those political science students who produce the best quantitative analysis papers at an advanced stage of their studies.

This year’s Carleton recipients are Michael E. Campbell, a doctoral student in Political Science, and Zoe McKnight, a recent graduate of the Political Economy MA program and currently a policy analyst at the Labour Program at Employment and Social Development Canada. Congratulations Michael and Zoe!

Carleton’s award announcement and more information on the recipients’ research papers can be found on the Carleton University Department of Political Science webpage

Mackenzie Investments releases results of Retirement Transition Challenges Survey

November 14, 2019 – Mackenzie Investments today released the results of a study that shows that there is a significant need and opportunity for Canada’s financial advisors to help Canadians better understand the details involved in making the transition to retirement – in addition to their assistance and guidance in saving and investing for retirement.

Between September 18 – 20, 2019, Pollara Strategic Insights conducted the online survey on behalf of Mackenzie Investments amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=1,518 adult Canadians. Online samples cannot be assigned a margin of error. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

The study found that six-in-ten (61%) Canadians – and about half (47%) of Baby Boomers – want to know more about what is involved in making the transition to retirement. This finding is not surprising given that less than a quarter say they are very familiar with how the Canada Pension Plan works, when and how to convert their RRSPs to RRIFs, and how they’ll be taxed in retirement.  

“Canadians in general, and Boomers in particular, are seeking advice on the details involved in making the successful transition to retirement,” said Carol Bezaire, Vice-President, Tax, Estate & Strategic Philanthropy, Mackenzie Investments. “This provides Canada’s financial advisors with a tremendous opportunity. As people approach retirement it’s clear that there’s more of a premium put on the value of advice as areas like tax and estate planning and optimizing investments during retirement take on added importance.”

Confirming the need for advisors to provide additional education and assistance regarding the transition to retirment, seven-in-ten (72%) of Canadians – including 74% of Boomers – felt it was time to put more emphasis on helping people better understand all the components of successful retirement planning, beyond simply saving.

“It’s a particularly important time for Canada’s Boomers.  Not only are they having to learn a whole new set of rules as they approach retirement but many are also managing the complexity of inheriting significant sums as the world goes through the largest transfer of wealth in history,” added Ms. Bezaire. “An advisor can play an important role in helping clients successfully stickhandle this critical life stage.”

For more information, please see Mackenzie Investments’ press release or the articles about the study in Investment Executive and Wealth Professional Canada.

Clean Energy Canada releases Federal Election 2019 Exit Poll

Clean Energy Canada is today releasing the key findings from a massive exit poll conducted among more than 5,000 Canadians who voted in the 2019 Federal Election. The research study reveals insights into the key influences driving voters’ ballot decisions and their preferences and priorities for the minority parliament.

On behalf of Clean Energy Canada, Pollara Strategic Insights conducted an online survey among a randomly-selected, reliable sample of 5,002 adult Canadians who reported voting in the 2019 federal election. The survey of voters was conducted from October 23-25, 2019. A margin of error cannot be applied to online samples. A probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +1.4%, 19 times out of 20. Quotas and statistical weighting were applied to ensure the sample accurately represents the actual voting electorate in the 2019 federal election, based upon Elections Canada statistics, in terms of the provincial distribution of voters and the provincial and national distribution of political party support.  

The study clearly identifies that the 2019 federal election was decided more by party/leader orientations – and the values associated with these brands – than by issues.

  • Four-in-ten (41%) of voters primarily based their ballot choice on a desire to see a party form majority government (30%) or a leader become Prime Minister. Moreover, another 21% based their vote on wanting to avoid another party or leader from forming government.
  • Another quarter (24%) based their vote on a desire to see their party of choice form/lead a minority government (18%) or have influence in a minority government or parliament (6%).
  • Just 12% based their vote on a specific policy or issue.

Although parties/leaders – and the values associated with their brands – were the primary influence upon vote choice, policies and issues shape political brands. Thus, we asked voters to rate a range of issues in terms of each issue’s influence on their ballot decision. The primary issues were largely rooted in affordability, fiscal, and economic concerns.

Climate change and the carbon tax rank among the top secondary issues influencing voters’ ballot decision. However, climate change was among the top 5 most influential issues for Liberal, NDP, Green and Bloc voters. Conversely, it was among one of the least influential issues for Conservatives and PPC voters – although, on a related note, the carbon tax was more influential among these cohorts.

When considering the re-elected Liberal minority government’s new term, half (50%) of voters feel enacting policies to fight climate change should be the top (14%) or a major (36%) priority. Moreover, two-thirds (67%) of Canadian voters want the Liberal Government to “enact the climate change policies they campaigned on” (37%) or “stronger climate change policies than they campaigned on – to do more at a faster pace on this issue” (30%).

  • Throughout the study, Liberal, NDP, Green, and BQ voters consistently provide higher support for action on climate change. Notably, Conservative voters as well as residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan – the provinces that would be most directly impacted by such policies – are consistently more likely to express opposition.

For more information and insights, please see Clean Energy Canada’s press release and the full report.

The 2nd Annual Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers Report

In partnership with The Ontario Caregiver Organization, The Change Foundation has released the 2019 Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers report – the second annual survey of caregivers across Ontario. This year’s report builds on the 2018 report and for the first time shows trends in the caregiver experience in Ontario. 

As the official research partner for this important groundbreaking study, Pollara Strategic Insights designed, executed, analysed, and reported on both waves of research. For the 2019 study, we conducted an online survey of 805 self-reported caregivers in Ontario, aged 16 years of age and older, between June 26th and July 9th. The caregivers surveyed were Ontarians who, in the past 12 months, have cared for someone who needed support due to frailty, palliative care, long-term illness, long-term recovery from accident or surgery, degenerative diseases, physical or mental disability or old age related disorder.

Some of the key insights gleaned from this latest wave of research include the following:

  • More caregivers find the process of organizing care difficult.  While similar numbers of caregivers are involved in organizing care, in 2019 56% of caregivers find the process difficult, compared to only 39% in 2018.
  • The impact on finances is more pronounced in 2019, as 32% said they had faced financial hardships compared to 22% in 2018.
  • There are no differences in who the caregivers are caring for when comparing the results from last year. That is, most caregivers are caring for parents who are dealing with aging-related health conditions.
  • In 2018, we found that just over half of caregivers were part of the sandwich generation – they care for an aging parent and are also parents to young children under 18 years old. That number remained the same in the 2019 survey.
  • Emotional support and help with transportation are still the top tasks performed by caregivers, followed by household tasks and scheduling appointments.
  • Most caregivers continue to have a positive outlook towards caregiving and are generally coping well. But 31% are not coping well emotionally, and the high levels of stress and negative emotions we found in 2018 remain unchanged.

The insights from last year’s report have already made tremendous impact by identifying that caregivers want one point of access for information. To address this need The Ontario Caregiver Organization recently launched the Caregiver Helpline – a 24/7 resource that caregivers can call or engage in a live chat between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday to Friday, to find local supports, get information about caregiving and get other important knowledge that caregivers have told us they need.

For more insights and information, please download the report via The Change Foundation caregivers web portal.

IFIC releases 14th annual Canadian Investor Survey

Annual survey expanded to include ETF investors

The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and Pollara Strategic Insights today released the results of their annual survey of investors – the Canadian Mutual Fund and Exchange-Traded Fund Investor Survey. The survey, which has been expanded to include responses from both mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) investors, has been tracking investor attitudes, expectations and understanding since its inception in 2006.

This year’s survey features insights on a number of topics including confidence in mutual funds and ETFs, advisor satisfaction, use of online brokerages and robo-advisors, fee knowledge, and satisfaction with fee and performance statements.

“The Pollara research provides valuable insights that helps to inform and guide many of IFIC’s key policy initiatives over the year, and the addition of ETF data provides a more comprehensive understanding of the investment funds landscape,” said Paul Bourque, President and CEO, IFIC. “I’m pleased to see that knowledge of fees has shown a significant increase over the past two years, and we hope that the insights gained through our ongoing research will ultimately help firms evaluate and improve their disclosure practices.”

“The addition of the ETF investors in the study this year has provided interesting insights into the differences between these investor types,” stated Lesli Martin, Vice-President of Pollara Strategic Insights. “It is positive to see that, while investors are becoming more confident in their product choices, they are also becoming more discerning about the information they want to see.”

In recent years, the survey has been adapted to provide insights into client knowledge and behaviour following the introduction of CRM2 regulation. While confidence in knowledge of fees continues to increase among mutual fund investors, there has been a decline in those investors reporting that the statements are easy to understand, going from 82% in 2017 to 67% in 2019.

Key Findings:

  • Both mutual fund and ETF investors show a high level of confidence in the product and its ability to meet financial goals (91% and 88% respectively).
  • Investors have high levels of satisfaction with their advisor; 81% of mutual fund investors and 91% of ETF investors are satisfied or completely satisfied with the advice they receive and 85% of mutual fund investors and 87% of ETF investors agree that their advisor’s advice is worth the fees.
  • Among mutual fund investors, the incidence of fee discussions significantly increased in 2019, with 88% now reporting that they discussed at least one fee topic with their advisor.
  • Awareness of online brokerages among mutual fund investors has increased by 9% to reach 71% this year, though usage remains consistent at 29%; ETF investors are much more likely to have used them (67%).

Pollara conducted telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 randomly-selected mutual fund holders and 500 ETF holders who are eighteen years of age or older who make all or some of the decisions regarding investment purchases in their household.

To access the full Canadian Mutual Fund and Exchange-Traded Fund Investor Survey, please visit IFIC.ca or pollara.com.

To learn more, read the full report in English or Français.  

About IFIC

The Investment Funds Institute of Canada is the voice of Canada’s investment funds industry. IFIC brings together 150 organizations, including fund managers, distributors and industry service organizations, to foster a strong, stable investment sector where investors can realize their financial goals. By connecting Canada’s savers to Canada’s economy, our industry contributes significantly to Canadian economic growth and job creation.

For more information, please contact:

Pira Kumarasamy
Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
IFIC
pkumarasamy@ific.ca
416-309-2317

Lesli Martin
Vice President, Public Affairs
Pollara Strategic Insights
leslimartin@pollara.com
416-921-0090 ext. 2207

More than half of Canadians report having a chronic illness, and a third are not receiving appropriate treatment

HCIC McGill

July 23, 2019 — The latest white paper based on the 13th edition of the Health Care in Canada (HCIC) survey was released today. Co-authored by members of the Pollara and HCIC Coalition teams, the paper focusses on analysing the HCIC survey findings as they relate to chronic disease. 

In the 2018 HCIC survey, more than half of Canadians reported having one or more chronic illnesses; with cardiovascular disease, arthritis, lung disease and mental health disorders, singly or in concert, the most common diagnoses. Despite increasing recognition and concern among the body politic, the prevalence of dementia remains comparatively low. Disappointingly, in the management of chronic diseases, only 66 percent of adults currently report they always or often receive appropriate treatments. The dominant reasons reported by patients for non-receipt of appropriate therapy are prolonged wait times, lack of affordability of care, and lack of understanding support from healthcare professionals.  

For more findings and analysis, download and read the white paper.

Established in 1998, the HCIC Survey is Canada’s longest-running, most in-depth survey of the public, general/family physicians, specialists, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, and health care administrators. It identifies and tracks perceived strengths, areas of concern, key current issues, and opportunities for improvement in health care quality, accessibility and affordability.

The 2018 edition is the 13th wave of the study, with additional regular waves of research scheduled in the years ahead. This edition of Canada’s report card on the health care system looked at a variety of issues including opinions about chronic disease prescription usage, timeliness of access to health care, challenges faced by non-professional caregivers, and options for end-of-life care and the opioid crisis.

More information about the 2018 and previous editions of the HCIC study, including links to all data, findings, and reporting, are provided here.  

Since its inception in 1998, the HCIC survey has been conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, supported by the HCIC survey partners, with principal funding from Merck Canada. The HCIC survey partners and sponsors are a broad group of national, multi-institutional health care stakeholders including many of the country’s top professional associations, not-for-profit health organizations, and institutions: the Canadian Cancer Society; Canadian Home Care Association; Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association; Canadian Medical Association; Canadian Nurses Association; Canadian Pharmacists Association; Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation; McGill University; Health Charities Coalition of Canada; HealthCareCAN; Innovative Medicines Canada; Institute of Health Economics; Studer Group Canada; Merck Canada; Strive Health Management; and, CareNet Health Management Consulting.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

What Canadians Believe: From science and spirituality to conspiracies and the supernatural

July 21, 2019 — Pollara Strategic Insights recently surveyed 2,002 Canadians about their beliefs across a range of serious and not-so-serious subjects that are popular in today’s media and entertainment or perennial undercurrents within the zeitgeist. The survey covers topics rooted in science, spirituality, physics, conspiracy theories, and the supernatural.

Throughout the results Canadians exhibit a very strong allegiance to, and confidence in, science, whether it be belief in evolution, The Big Bang, climate change, dinosaurs, or the likelihood that artificial intelligence will surpass that of humans.

Many Canadians are also spiritual, expressing belief in a soul and/or a higher power. 

Despite the prevalence of anti-vaccination activists, flat earth theorists, and zombie fiction in today’s headlines and entertainment, very small proportions of Canadians adhere to these beliefs. Similarly, few believe in longstanding conspiracy theories such as the fake moon landing and Elvis being alive. 

Nevertheless, given that Canadians tend to disregard such propositions and generally display a need for evidence, some of the results may prove surprising – especially how many Canadians believe in ghosts, dowsing, and psychic powers.

To learn more read our report.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

 

The Single Event Sports Betting Craze Heats Up!

Sport's betting and Gaming Research

July 18, 2019 — There is a quote attributed to Henry Ford that states, “Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built.’’  There is no doubt that betting on that race began immediately after that second car was built.

The Canadian Gaming Association estimates that Canadians wager around $10 billion illegally every year on sports, with much of the money flowing to offshore online sports books. Canadians are spending a sizable amount of money illegally to bet on sports because they can make a single-game wager.  Sports betting has been legal in Canada for over 30 years through government-regulated sports lottery products, but you have to bet a three-game parlay in most cases. 

A recent study by Pollara of over 1,250 Canadians indicates that in the past year alone, almost one in five (18%) placed a bet on sports involving real money.  A further 14% placed a wager online and 12% bet on fantasy sports online.

Ontario has the highest percentage of
sports betting enthusiasts with one quarter (23%) placing a bet on sports and
16% betting on sports online.  All other
provinces also had substantial participation with between 12% to 15% betting on
sports.

While the 40-year-old plus age group has sizable foothold on the traditional lottery and gaming market, sports betting is more likely a pastime of the 18-39-year-old group.  Almost one third (32%) of the 30-39-year-old group has placed a bet on sports in the past year.

Betting money on the outcome of a single sports event is now legal in many U.S. states. Many other states have legislation pending or are looking into legalizing betting on the outcome of single game sporting events.

In Canada, bills to amend the law to allow single event sports betting have not made it to a vote in the Senate. Another push for a change to sports betting laws is likely eminent in light of the changes in the U.S.

That is why we have launched Sports Betting
in Canada – the definitive study covering all aspects of sports betting in
Canada. Our study will measure and track the size of the current and potential
sports betting market covering both parlay and single events wagers. This study
will look at the issues behind illegal sports betting and whether Canadians
support legalizing single event sports wagering in Canada.

The study will explore current and
potential sports betting behaviour, concerns with single event sports wagering,
and how Canadians feel about the current landscape and a change to legislation.
We will also explore the myths and truths about sports wagering, test the
impact of a range of messages/information to frame legalization, and provide
guidance on how best to position this policy in way that garners the highest
levels of consumer and public support.

To subscribe to our study or learn more about the details, please see our prospectus

A third of Canadians hold negative, intolerant views of marginalized, minority groups

July 18, 2019 — In Acceptance and Intolerance in Canada – our definitive, in-depth study of Canadian perceptions and attitudes regarding marginalized and minority groups in the country – we found that a third (33%) of Canadians hold explicitly negative, intolerant views of at least one group in society. However, we also found that an additional quarter (23%) of Canadians express somewhat more subtle forms of prejudice and bigotry.   

Conducted over the course of 7 waves of research throughout 2018 and 2019, Acceptance and Intolerance in Canada is a subscription-based, in-depth syndicated study that has uncovered and tracked Canadian perceptions and attitudes regarding women, visible minorities, religious minorities, Indigenous Canadians, LGBTQ2 and transgender Canadians, Canadians with disabilities, and immigrants.

Most (67%) Canadians are positive or neutral about all 14 groups tested in this study, whereas a third (33%) express some degree of negativity or intolerance. But, while four-in-ten (44%) view everyone and themselves equally, a quarter (23%) rate their race, religion, or sexual orientation higher than other groups, revealing an arguably less overt form of prejudice and intolerance.

While some demographic groups are less tolerant than others, neither gender, age or region is a major factor in determining levels of tolerance.  Instead, exposure or proximity to different groups in society is – by far – the most powerful predictor of intolerance. A secondary and meaningful driver of intolerance is education – which can be an indirect form of exposure, introducing information about other communities and viewpoints. Although those facing economic instability or decline are somewhat more likely to be intolerant, income does not emerge as a strong driver of intolerance in our advanced statistical analysis.   

To learn more, read our overview report

In Search of the Middle Class: Class Identity and Financial Stability in Canada

July 9, 2019 – In the 5th and latest wave of In Search of the Middle Class: Class Identity and Financial Stability among Canadians, Pollara has found that most Canadians feel Middle Class, but that they don’t feel financially secure.

Most Canadians continue to identify as “Middle Class” on a “gut” level, but just four-in-ten feel this way when considering their place in a 4-class hierarchy. Thus, political appeals to this class identity are most effective when general and superficial. 

And, what is the state of Canadians’ personal financial situation? Overall, it appears that salaries and wages are not keeping up with a fairly positive job situation and the cost of living. Indeed, the public’s cash flow appears very tight. Just 8% feel financially secure and only 31% say they are getting ahead with some savings, whereas a majority (61%) say they are just getting by with no savings (46%) or falling behind on their monthly expenses (15%). About half say that their financial situation (50%; +6) and quality of life (47%; +9) have declined, and that they are having trouble making ends meet (49%). Notably, two-thirds of Canadians feel their income has not kept pace with their cost of living, although fewer feel this way than last year (67%; -11 since 2018).

And, if there was suddenly no household income, 37% of Canadians feel their household could survive just 1 month before they would run out of the money required to pay for necessities and bills. This figure climbs to almost half (46%) after 2 months without any income. 

There are some bright spots in the study. As alluded to above, most Canadians report high levels of job stability, as just 12% report a household job loss in the past 12 months and only 14% feel that a household job loss is somewhat or very likely to happen in the next 12 months. There are also caveats. Although job stability is quite high, income is not stable for all Canadians – a quarter (26%) have experienced income variability in the past 12 months.

Finally, the study found further illustration of Canadians’ tight cash flow. To learn more about Canadian views on class identity and their personal finances – including their financial planning, saving, spending, and borrowing patterns – please read our report

For additional analysis of the political implications of these sentiments, please see the Maclean’s article about this study.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

DEVICEscape 2019: Canada’s definitive measurement of device ownership and usage patterns

June 21, 2019 — In our inaugural edition of DEVICEscape – Canada’s definitive measurement of personal device (and streaming service) ownership and usage patterns – we see 2019 as a period of flux in terms of the prevalence of old and new technology. 

Not surprisingly, the smartphone reigns supreme in terms of device ownership (81%) and usage (76% use at least occasionally; 58% use daily), but it is followed closely by the long-time mainstays of the laptop (81%; 76%; 44%) and desktop (73%; 65%; 43%) computer. The mobility and streaming revolution is in full effect, with smartphones, laptops, tablets, and movie/TV streaming services atop the ranking.

Yet, despite the ascendance of smartphones, seemingly ancient technology like the landline telephone persists. Six-in-ten (63%) Canadians report having one, with 59% using it at least occasionally. However, just 25% use it on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the smartphone has replaced its predecessor: the internet and app-deficient cellphone (35% own; 28% use at least occasionally; 11% use daily). 

Older technology like DVD players (73%) are more prevalent than their next generation format: the Blu-Ray player (48%). However, paid subscriptions to movie/TV streaming services like Netflix (66%) are close to exceeding both disc-based approaches to viewing entertainment. Most importantly, these streaming services are used more frequently than disc players, as 61% watch them at least occasionally and 49% watch them at least weekly. DVD players (58%; 14%) especially lag these usage patterns in terms of weekly usage, and Blu-Ray players (37%; 11%) further trail.

Despite the popularity of movie/TV streaming services, their audio-only cousins notably lag those services in terms of adoption and usage. Streaming music services like Google Play or Apple Music (34% paid subscription; 28% use at least occasionally) and satellite radio services like SiriusXM (29% paid subscription; 22% use at least occasionally) are about half as popular as the likes of Netflix.

Comparatively, the good old-fashioned in-home (not in car), standalone radio does not yet seem to be going anywhere, as 61% of Canadians own one, 52% listen to it at least occasionally, and more use it daily (17%) and weekly (26%) than a paid music streaming service (13%; 20%) or a paid satellite radio service (9%; 15%).

To learn more about these devices and streaming services, as well as ownership and usage patterns for Smart TVs, PVR/DVRs, video game consoles, vinyl record and cassette players, and the new smart speaker category (ex. Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod), read our report.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

One year after Ford: Governing for the base revives Liberal and Green fortunes

May 16, 2019 — In our latest sounding of the Ontario political scene, the Ford PCs (30%) have posted a double-digit decline in decided vote intent compared to their 40.5% showing in last year’s Ontario provincial election. The NDP are at equal strength in terms of overall vote intent, and holding steady since 2018 (33.6%).  

Meanwhile, the Liberals have rebounded – from 19.6% at the 2018 ballot box to 26% now, despite being led by an interim leader (John Fraser). And, the Green Party is approaching a record high in public polling (11%) that doubles their share of the vote last year.    

For more analysis, see our report or today’s article in the Toronto Star.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Gaming operators need new, attractive, social skill-based games to win over younger customers

Online Gaming

May 14, 2019 – Our recent study on Canadian participation in traditional and emerging gaming and gambling activities has revealed some significant behaviour patterns and intentions among differing age cohorts.  As lottery and gaming operators look to the future for gaming options to generate continued revenue streams, more of the same does not seem to be the answer. 

While government and privately run online sites for traditional gaming products have delivered some reward, more work will need to be undertaken to attract younger players to these sites.  Some strategic implications from our preliminary research are as follows:

  • Traditional gaming products and delivery methods are less attractive to younger age cohorts (under 30 years of age) while current game offerings made available online are most attractive to the 30-39 year-old age group and then drop off progressively through the older age groups.
  • Younger gamers are more likely to play online multiplayer games, Fortnite, and Minecraft as well as other online social games. However, they also participate to some degree in traditional games both online and offline, just not a rate that will sustain current gaming revenues.
  • Gaming operators and government lottery enterprises will need to develop new, attractive, social skill-based games if they are to win over younger customers to the degree that the current game offering attract entrenched older players.


These are just some of the findings from a recent national survey conducted by Pollara. For additional research findings, see our report excerpt.

Pollara will be launching three new subscription-based syndicated studies in the next few months:

The Future of Gaming in Canada– our groundbreaking research study which will illuminate how player behaviour will change in the future. It highlights which new technology-driven gaming opportunities will succeed and fail – and among which player segments.

iGaming in Canada syndicated study – the country’s definitive study of online gaming will measure and track the size of the current and potential online gaming market, provide online player segment profiles, and identify online player preferences, demands, and areas of growth.  

Moment of Truth: Gaming Establishments – our real-time feedback tool that measures the experience and satisfaction of casino, racetrack, and bingo hall customers via their smartphone when they are on-site or as they depart.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Since cannabis legalization, Canadians report minor increase in usage and significant increase in policy acceptance

May 4, 2019 – Our first survey about cannabis since legalization took effect has revealed remarkable changes in public attitudes as well as notable behaviour patterns among users. As legalization appears to have been ushered in with minimal controversy, a large proportion of Canadians have moderated their stance and concerns regarding the policy and the drug. Nevertheless, this has not translated into reefer madness, as there is a minor increase in reported usage levels.  

  • Public acceptance of legalization is widespread, and has grown significantly since July 2018 (64%; +10 compared to July 2018). Acceptance is based on four-in-ten (43%; +8) Canadians providing explicit approval of the policy, and two-in-ten (21%; +2) expressing ambivalence. Acceptance of legalization has also grown significantly in Quebec – where residents are now split on the matter rather than clearly opposed, as they were prior to October 2018.      
  • Public concerns remain, especially about drug-impaired driving and youth usage. However, these and other concerns have declined significantly in the post-legalization period compared to 2017 and 2018.
  • There is a minor but notable increase in usage. Just under two-in-ten Canadians (18%; +5 compared to July 2018) report using marijuana in the past 12 months. However, just 3% of Canadians report using the drug for the first time since legalization.
  • Since legalization, most (57%) past 12-month users report that they have only obtained cannabis legally. Two-in-ten (22%) report buying/getting cannabis both legally and illegally, and one-in-ten (10%) report obtaining it illegally only. Moreover, intent to buy cannabis legally (14%) in the next 12 months is twice as popular as intent to buy it illegally (7%).

These are just some of the findings included in the Wave 4 report of Pollara’s subscription-based syndicated study Cannabis in Canada – the definitive barometer of public and user opinion trends and behaviour patterns on one of Canada’s most prominent public policy topics. Since March 2017, subscribers to the study have received fresh in-depth insights into public and user engagement, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours as they relate to cannabis policy, products, brands, and retail experience.   For additional research findings, see our short excerpt from the Wave 4 report and the recent article in the Toronto Star.

If you are interested in subscribing, please contact us.  

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Alberta Election 2019 Final Report: A Straight (Pipe)line to Power

April 18, 2019 — In addition to our election polling featured in Maclean’s, we also surveyed Albertans about a range of different political perceptions and policy priorities in order to capture insights into voters’ mindsets – including their demands, expectations, and priorities for their new provincial government.

Please download our  report, co-authored with our friends at Enterprise, to see these insights, an overall analysis of the campaign, and what to expect from the new Kenney UCP Government.

Alberta Election 2019 Final Report: What Happened? What’s Next?

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

Leading researcher Richard Leigh-Bennett joins Pollara team

Pollara Strategic Insights is proud to announce that Richard Leigh-Bennett has joined our growing team as Vice President.

A market research veteran and leader for more than 30 years, Richard brings to Pollara his extensive research experience working for clients in the private and public sector, in Canada, the U.S., the UK, Europe, Asia/Pacific, South America and the Caribbean.  

Based in Ottawa, Richard will be Pollara’s lead representative for federal government clients as well as private and association sector clients in the National Capital Region.  

He also assumes the leadership of our growing tourism and gaming research practices, applying the expertise he has honed while conducting research studies for the largest destination marketing organizations and dozens of lottery regulators and operators throughout North America.    

Prior to joining Pollara, Richard was a Senior Vice President at Harris/Decima and also ran his own research consultancy.  

Stay tuned for Pollara announcements about some of our new research insights offerings in the gaming and tourism sectors, which we will be developing with Richard over the coming months.

Ontarians approve of how their municipal councils voted on cannabis retail opt-in/opt-out

March 3, 2019 — Recently, the provincial government of Ontario required all Municipal Councils in the province to hold votes to decide whether to opt-in (allow) or opt-out (ban) of allowing bricks-and-mortar cannabis retail stores in their community. The deadline to hold these votes was January 22, 2019. Conducted from February 6-11, 2019, Pollara’s survey of 2,163 Ontarians reveals that residents of both opt-in municipalities and opt-out municipalities approve of their council’s decision.

From a macro perspective, Ontario’s municipal councils have voted according to the preferences of their communities regarding the decision on whether to opt-in (allow) or opt-out (ban) of allowing cannabis retail stores in their municipality.  Although councils voted differently on the issue, about half of the residents in opt-in municipalities (54%) and opt-out municipalities (53%) approve of their respective council’s decision. Just three-in-ten in the opt-in (31%) and opt-out (33%) communities disapprove of how their municipal council voted. 

However, although they approve of opting out and effectively banning cannabis retail stores in their community, about half (54%) of residents in opt-out communities also support their councils reviewing the experience of opt-in communities and holding another vote on the issue in 12-18 months.  Just 30% oppose holding a review and another vote, preferring to simply continue with the ban. For more information about the study, please see our report. 

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

Americans attracted to, and want more, films and TV shows focused on social issues and causes

January 24, 2019 — In a new survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights for Tirota, 80% of American movie and TV viewers say they are attracted to movies and documentaries addressing important social issues or causes, and 80% also feel that the entertainment industry should produce more movies and TV series exploring such issues.

Pollara conducted the online survey among a randomly-selected national sample of N=1,000 adult Americans who had seen at least one recently released movie or viewed a current episodic TV show over the past 12 months. The survey was conducted between November 28 and December 3, 2018.

Among the 53% who reported going to the movies at least once per month, 40% had seen three or more social issue-focussed films over the past 12 months.

Nine-in-ten (90%) feel that movies can play an important role in informing people about social issues, and 77% feel that movies and TV shows with this focus are all the more important given the current political climate.

“The survey evidences a strong preference for purpose-driven content across key demographics, including age, gender, ethnicity, education level and even political outlook,” said Pollara President Craig Worden. “Americans don’t always agree on the substance of an issue, but there is a clear desire for substantive content and engagement.”

Notably, social issue-focussed films and TV shows are on an equal footing with the news media in the eyes of movie and TV watchers. When asked who they trust most to truthfully and fairly represent social issues, equal proportions of Americans choose filmmakers (27%) and the news media (27%). Just 4% trust politicians, and 43% trust none of the above.

For further details, see article in the Hollywood Reporter or survey releases at Tirota and Tiller.

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

Public Approval for USMCA Declines Slightly after GM Oshawa Plant Closure

January 17, 2019 — After GM announced the closing of their Oshawa plant, many pundits assumed that public approval for the newly re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – would plummet. However, our latest survey on this issue reveals that is not the case.

Compared to October 2018, we now see a slight decline in public approval for USMCA and the Trudeau Government’s handling of the negotiations – with disapproval largely holding steady and uncertainty increasing more than disapproval.

  • Canadians who hold an opinion on the matter are split – as about half approve of the USMCA deal (48%) and the Trudeau Government’s handling of the negotiations (50%).
  • Consistent with our previous waves of research on free trade deals and foreign policy matters, about 20-25% of the public tends to answer Don’t Know/Unsure to these questions, likely reflecting a lower level of public engagement or comfort with such subject matter.

A slightly slimmer plurality (35%; -4) of Canadians – 45% of those with an opinion – feel that the Trudeau Government got the best possible deal, but the proportion who feel they should have continued negotiating for a better deal (31%) remains unchanged.

  • Instead, there are slight increases in the proportions who are opposed to any free trade agreement (12%; +2) or express uncertainty in their opinion on the matter (22%; +2).

Regionally speaking, it is notable that Ontarians – residents of the province that is home to the shuttered GM plant – continue to provide among the highest approval levels throughout the survey.

See the full details in our report and associated data tables.

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

Economic Outlook 2019: Canadians in Psychological Recession

January 13, 2019 — The results are in for the 24th annual edition of Pollara Strategic Insights’ Economic Outlook Study – Canada’s longest-running study of the public’s perceptions and expectations of the economy and their personal financial situation. And, it reveals that the public mood has turned anxious and negative.

Although the Great Recession has long been in Canada’s rear-view mirror, Canadians did not actually feel that the economy was out of recession until last year. However, the positive outlook of a year ago has proven short-lived, as Canadians are once again in a psychological recession as they head into 2019. Similar to the 2017 edition of this study, half (56%, +21) feel the economy is in recession, with just a third (32%; -18) correctly perceiving it to be in a period of growth.

  • These negative perceptions of the economy are found across all provinces/regions.
  • Far more Canadians feel the country is experiencing a mild (48%) than a severe (9%) recession.
  • And, among those who believe Canada is in a recession, most (48%) expect it to be of a relatively short duration – either 6-12 months (25%) or 13-18 months (23%).  This is a more positive expectation than in previous years, when Canadians who believed the economy was in recession tended to expect a long period of economic difficulty.

Most Canadians hold a neutral-negative outlook for 2019, expecting the Canadian economy and employment levels to remain unchanged or to worsen. Less than two-in-ten expect improvements.

  • Contextually, the public holds somewhat more negative expectations for the U.S. and global economies.

These negative views of the economy are consistent with the public’s assessment of their personal financial situation, where perceptions and expectations have turned negative since last year.

  • Overall, half continue to hold their own, but more are now losing ground (31%; +7) than getting ahead (13%; -8).
  • When considering how their household income will perform vis-à-vis the cost of living in 2019, Canadians are notably less optimistic than last year: 44% (+6) expect to fall behind compared to 42% (-4) who expect to keep pace.

See the full details in our report and associated data tables, as well as further perspective via John Geddes’ article in Maclean’s.

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

 

Second annual Aviva Fraud Report reveals Ontario auto insurance policyholders are increasingly supportive of actions to combat fraud

December 4, 2018 — Aviva Insurance today released their second annual Aviva Fraud Report, containing new polling data about auto insurance fraud in Ontario. The survey findings demonstrate that Ontario auto insurance policyholders remain aware of fraud and supportive of government and law enforcement initiatives to fight it – and increasingly so on both counts, when compared to the 2017 survey.

Pollara Strategic Insights conducted the online survey on behalf of Aviva Insurance. A total of N=1,500 adult Ontarians with a current auto insurance policy were surveyed from October 15 to 24, 2018. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error, but a probability sample of this size would be considered accurate within +2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Some of the key findings in the report include:

  • 88% think that auto repair shops inflate the cost of vehicle repairs, compared to 77% in 2017.
  • 86% of Ontarians support government and law enforcement agencies investing more resources to investigate and prosecute fraudulent claims, compared to 78% in 2017.
  • 86% of Ontarians feel that more needs to be done to combat fraud.
  • 73% believe that cracking down on fraud would reduce their current auto insurance premium.

See the Aviva press release for further study details and spokesperson information. Visit Aviva’s dedicated insurance fraud website to download the full 2018 Aviva Fraud Report.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Majority of Canadians with opinion of USMCA are satisfied with final deal and Trudeau Government’s handling of NAFTA negotiations

November 23, 2018 — Our latest poll for Maclean’s – and our third survey on the NAFTA negotiations and resulting USMCA free trade agreement – reveals that a majority of Canadians who hold an opinion on the subject have positive views of the USMCA deal and the Trudeau Government’s handling of the NAFTA negotiations with the Trump Administration.

A four-in-ten plurality (42%) of Canadians approve of the new USMCA free trade agreement, whereas just over a third (36%) disapprove. However, among those holding an opinion about the deal, a majority (54%) express approval.

  • About two-in-ten (22%) either do not have an opinion or are unsure. This is consistent with our previous waves of research on the NAFTA negotiations as well as most public opinion research on free trade deals and foreign policy matters, wherein 20-25% of the public tends to answer Don’t Know/Unsure to these questions, likely reflecting a lower level of public engagement or comfort with this subject matter.

Almost half (46%) of Canadians feel USMCA will be good (30%) or a mix of good and bad (16%) for Canada. Among those holding an opinion on this front, 55% feel it will be good (36%) or both good and bad (19%) for the country.

  • Canadians hold somewhat lower expectations of the deal’s impact upon their province, with 40% expecting it will be good (27%) or a mix of good and bad (13%) for their province.
  • Almost half (45%) of Canadians feel the deal will be good (35%) or good and bad (10%) for Mexico.
  • Three-quarters (75%) feel the deal will be good (69%) or good and bad (6%) for the U.S.

Nearly half (47%) of Canadians – and 54% of those with an opinion – approve of the job the Trudeau Government did in the NAFTA/USMCA negotiations. Four-in-ten (39%) disapprove, and 14% are unsure.

A plurality (39%) of Canadians – and 49% of those with an opinion – feel that the Trudeau Government got the best possible deal, whereas 31% feel they should have continued negotiating for a better deal. Another 10% were opposed to any free trade agreement, and 20% are unsure.

  • Regionally speaking, positive assessments of the deal and the government’s performance are most likely to be found in Ontario, BC, and Atlantic Canada, followed by Alberta. Negative assessments are most likely to be found in Quebec, whereas middling sentiment is found in Manitoba/Saskatchewan.

See the full details in our report and associated data tables, as well as further perspective via John Geddes’ article in Maclean’s.

Sign-up for our newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.

The Change Foundation Releases Findings of Landmark Survey of 800 Ontario Caregivers

November 15, 2018 — The Change Foundation today released their Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers report, detailing the findings of their first annual survey of 800 caregivers in the province – that is, those family members, friends, or neighbours who provide care to someone without pay.

Pollara Strategic Insights is proud to be The Change Foundation’s research partner in this landmark multi-year project, leading design, execution, and analysis of annual surveys of caregivers as well the creation, management, and moderation of an advisory panel of 100+ caregivers – hosted within Dialogue, our online panel management and qualitative discussion forum platform.

The Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers report is the first of its kind in Ontario. It provides a profile of caregivers, their experiences, and their needs. The objectives for this study were to understand:

  • who caregivers are;
  • who caregivers are caring for;
  • what tasks caregivers are responsible for;
  • where caregivers are turning for information and support;
  • how caregiving impacts the lives and health of both the caregiver and the care receiver;
  • how caregivers feel about their role as part of the healthcare team; and
  • what additional supports or information could help caregivers in their role.

The report can be downloaded from The Change Foundation’s website. In addition to hosting the annual survey reports, their Spotlight on Caregivers webpage will be updated regularly with caregiver stories and additional analyses of the survey data. Check it often.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

A Majority (55%) of Canadians Prefer a Pharmacare Program that Complements rather than Replaces Existing Drug Plans

October 19, 2018 — The Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada today released the results of a national survey about pharmacare. Pollara Strategic Insights conducted the online survey of 4,173 adult Canadians on behalf of the Association from July 27 to August 3, 2018.

The study found that public engagement on this subject is low, as pharmacare is not a top-of-mind policy or health care priority for Canadians. Thus, the public do not have a clear notion of the specifics of how pharmacare would be executed or the coverage it would provide.

When asked, most (84%) Canadians express conceptual support for a national universal prescription drug program, generally speaking. However, pharmacare is ranked a lower, less urgent, and less deserving priority than most other health care and non-health care issues tested in the survey.

When considering specific approaches to pharmacare, a majority (55%) prefer a program that maintains existing drug plans and either exclusively focusses on providing coverage to those without a plan (20%) or covers those without a plan and allows those with a plan to bill their insurer first and the government second (35%).

Only 30% prefer a program that covers all Canadians and replaces existing government and private plans, and just 15% prefer a program that only focusses on Canadians who face extreme or catastrophic circumstances that require expensive drugs.

For more details, including regional results, please see our report: Pharmacare in Canada: An Overview of Key Findings

Also, see today’s Toronto Star article: Pharmacare is not a top health-care priority for Canadians

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Federal Political Scene, Fall 2018: Liberals hold 6-point Lead over Conservatives, with NDP, Greens, and PPC Trailing

October 12, 2018 — In our latest poll for Maclean’s, the Liberals (40%) hold a six-point lead over the Conservatives (34%) among decided voters, with the NDP (12%) and Greens (7%) trailing. The newly-founded People’s Party (PPC) registers 2%. Within Quebec, the BQ and Québec Debout record 15% and 1% support, respectively.

When considering the party leaders, four-in-ten (39%) Canadians feel that Justin Trudeau would make the best Prime Minister. Just over a quarter (27%) feel the same about Andrew Scheer. Less than one-in-ten (8%) prefer Jagmeet Singh. Just 5% feel that Maxime Bernier would be the best PM, but this level of support is more than double the voter support for his party. Two-in-ten Canadians are unsure which of the party leaders would make the best PM.

Given the newness of the PPC, it is not surprising that Maxime Bernier’s party currently ranks low among decided voters. However, the poll suggests there is potential for the party to grow beyond its current standing. Notably, 19% of Conservative voters already consider it a second choice. And, among the five current issues explored in this poll, 5% of Canadians share the PPC’s stances on all issues and 11% share all but one of the party’s policy positions.

Among the key findings:

  • Almost six-in-ten (58%) Canadians feel that interprovincial trade barriers should be eliminated, whereas just 12% feel they should be maintained.
  • Half (50%) of Canadians feel that health care should continue to be primarily funded and provided by public sector institutions, and only a quarter (25%) feel that people should be able to pay to receive health care services from private sector care providers.
  • Just under half (49%) of Canadians feel that supply management is good for Canada, whereas, only two-in-ten (20%) feel it is bad.
  • Four-in-ten (39%) Canadians are supportive of regional development and aid programs, whereas a quarter (24%) are opposed.
  • The public is split on the federal government’s approach to multiculturalism, as 38% feel it should continue to help ethnocultural communities and celebrate diversity and 37% feel it is going too far on this front – causing division and disunity.

Read the Maclean’s article: Trudeau’s Next Challenge: Free Trade at Home

For more details, including regional results, please see our report: Federal Political Scene, Fall 2018

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Common Good Retirement Initiative – Pollara Survey of Not-For-Profit Employers and Employees finds Strong Demand for Flexible Sector-Wide Retirement Plan

October 5, 2018 — The Common Good Retirement Initiative today released the results of their national survey of employers, employees, contractors, and freelancers in the not-for-profit and charitable sector. On behalf of Common Good, Pollara Strategic Insights designed, executed, and analysed the results of the study, which was conducted from May to September 2018.

The survey was designed to identify employer and employee needs, challenges, attitudes, and preferences regarding retirement savings and planning – and, ultimately, to provide guidance to Common Good as they strive to build the best possible retirement plan for the sector. In total, 441 employers and 504 employees (including contract and freelance employees) from the sector participated in the survey.

Among the key findings:

  • Six-in-ten non-profit or charitable sector employees say their employer offers no retirement benefits.
  • More than eight-in-ten sector employees feel that offering a workplace retirement plan should be a priority for employers.
  • Plan portability as well as applicability to all types of workers (including freelancers) were among the most valued and preferred features for a sector retirement plan.

To learn more, download the report from the Common Good website.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

With recreational cannabis legalization on the horizon, Canadians accept the new policy despite concerns

October 3, 2018 — With two weeks to go until recreational marijuana is legal, a slim majority (54%) of adult Canadians accepts the new policy. This acceptance is based on a third (35%) providing explicit approval and two-in-ten (19%) expressing ambivalence – effectively providing tacit approval. Four-in-ten (42%) disapprove, and 4% are unsure.

Majority acceptance exists despite the fact that 53% of Canadians have some concerns about legalization and relatively few (13%) report using cannabis in the past 12 months.

Notably, based on expressed intent, legalization appears likely to spur minimal increase in marijuana usage – especially regular usage – at least in the early stages. Less than two-in-ten (17%) say they are likely to buy marijuana through the new legal retail system, including just 5% of those who have never tried it. Among those expressing some likelihood of buying legally, just 12% expect to do so on a regular basis. However, post-legalization opportunities, experiences, and orthodoxy may impact public attitudes and behaviours over the course of time.

These are some of the findings included in the Wave 3 report of Pollara’s subscription-based syndicated study The Public Lens: Legalizing Marijuana – the definitive barometer of public opinion on one of Canada’s most prominent public policy topics. Since March 2017, subscribers to the study have received fresh, semi-annual insights into public and user engagement, perceptions, and attitudes about marijuana as well as their expectations, concerns, support levels, and preferences regarding legalization and various policy elements (ex. timelines, age limits, retail approaches, home growing regulations, pricing, taxation, pardons, edibles, oils, and infused beverages).

For additional research findings, see our short excerpt from the Wave 3 report.

The next wave of the study will be fielded 1-3 months after legalization, with a focus on post-legalization perceptions, experiences, usage patterns, and public/consumer demands on governments, producers, brands, and retail operations. Results will only be available to subscribers. If you are interested in subscribing, please contact us.

Sign-up for the Pollara e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on our latest insights.

Annual IFIC – Pollara Mutual Fund Investors Survey (2018) sees Highest Confidence in Mutual Funds in 13 Years of Tracking Research

September 27, 2018 — The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and Pollara Strategic Insights today released the results of their 13th annual survey of mutual fund investors – the Canadian Mutual Fund Investor Survey. In each year since 2006, IFIC has engaged Pollara to conduct the survey.

The survey was initiated to provide better data around the attitudes and opinions of Canadian mutual fund holders, to identify their needs, expectations, behaviours, and opinions, and to track these over time. The research provides helpful insights into a number of issues including: methods of purchasing mutual funds, the advisor’s role, use of alternative purchase channels, impressions regarding fees, and the use and perceived value of CRM2 statements.

“IFIC invests heavily in research to understand the interaction of policy, regulation and market forces, and this research forms the foundation of IFIC’s evidence-based insights,” said Paul Bourque, President and CEO, IFIC. “A key take away from this year’s Pollara study is that, despite positive results in some areas related to fee understanding, there is room for improvement with the annual reports on fees and performance that investors receive. These results underscore how important it is for us to continue to focus our energies on improving disclosure effectiveness.”

“This year’s study found that confidence in mutual funds has reached the highest point in the past 13 years of our annual tracking research,” stated Craig Worden, President of Pollara Strategic Insights. “It is notable that investor confidence is reaching such heights while we are also finding that mutual fund investors are significantly more aware of CRM2.”

With respect to fee understanding and CRM2 statements, 7 in 10 investors are confident that they understand their mutual fund fees. While investors say they had fewer general conversations about fees and commissions compared to last year, specific conversations about fees paid to the firm and MERs have increased and have consistently increased since the beginning of CRM2. 84% of mutual fund investors who have read their statements report that their CRM2 statements “clearly show the rate of return on my account”.

However, there was a 10% decrease in the number of investors who say the reports are easy to understand (down to 72%) and an 8% decrease in the number who say the statements provide all the necessary information (down to 74%). While there was a slight improvement from last year in those that say the statements “clearly show fees I pay to my advisor’s firm or dealer firm” it remains an overall low number, at 53%.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Mutual funds continue to outperform other financial products by wide margins when it comes to investors’ confidence in the product’s ability to help them reach their financial goals – at 89%, this is an all-time high.
  • 85% of people who purchase mutual funds continue to do so through an advisor.
  • Investors continue to place a strong value on advice and have high levels of trust in their advisor. 76% of mutual fund investors report having used their advisor in the last year for either investment planning, financial planning, or retirement planning.A vast majority agree their advisor is worth their fees and that they encourage them to have better saving and investing habits.
  • The majority of investors with advisors continue to prefer their advisor is paid through mutual funds fees. This proportion has increased slightly from 53% last year to 59% this year – the highest level seen since tracking on this question started in 2013.
  • Usage of and interest in online tools such as robo-advisors continues to be low, with 23% of mutual fund investors aware of robo-advisors and 3% having used one.

As in previous years, Pollara conducted a live-interviewer telephone survey with a reliable, randomly-selected, representative sample of N=1,000 mutual fund holders aged eighteen years of age or older who make all or some of the decisions regarding mutual fund purchases in their household.

This press release is available in English and French.

The full research report is also available in English and French.

More information about the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) as well as additional research on this and related topics can be found on the IFIC website and research portal.

Sign-up for Pollara’s e-newsletter to stay updated on our latest insights.