Black Canadians and Trust: Shared Values are Key, but there is Room for Improvement
35 per cent of Black Canadians say “most people can be trusted,” compared to 49 per cent of the general population
April 12, 2022 – Toronto, ON – According to the new CanTrust Index Study of Black Canadians, a first-of-its-kind study, only 35 per cent of Black Canadians believe that most people can be trusted compared to 49 per cent of the general population. This is driven by lower trust levels among the youngest group, with less than a quarter (24 per cent) of young Black Canadians aged 18-34 agreeing that “most people can be trusted.”
The corporate sector has considerable room for improvement. An almost unanimous 90 per cent of Black Canadians agree that corporations have a responsibility to address racism while only 38 per cent trust that corporations are doing it.
“Building trust with Black Canadians starts with understanding and validating the Black experience,” said Bunmi Adeoye, Senior Vice President, Proof Strategies. “As communicators, our goal is to tell these stories and get specific about ways to combat anti-Black racism. This study gives us the opportunity to put Canadian data to what many Black Canadians have felt or experienced over the years. Black people are certainly not a monolith, but this study demonstrates that there are fundamental differences and alignments in the levels of trust on certain topics. This is even more pronounced when you look at the levels of trust in young Black Canadians. They are skeptical, and it shows that we have much work to do to gain their trust.”
Black Canadians trust brands and companies that commit to inclusion and diversity
Commitments to diversity are more important to Black Canadians. According to the study, 70 per cent of Black Canadians say they are more likely to trust brands and companies that commit to diversity and inclusion policies, compared to 54 per cent of the general population. Additionally, 76 per cent of Black Canadians are more likely to trust companies with similar values to them, compared to 66 per cent of the general population.
“Black Canadians have told us very clearly that leaders need to ensure that EDI policies exist and are authentic,” said Sabrina Clarke Duffy, President of On Point Insight, the Black-owned and operated research firm commissioned to craft the study. “To build trust with Black employees, these policies need to be woven into the fabric of every organization.”
When asked about Canada’s performance as a country, 48 per cent of Black Canadians believe that Canada is living up to the value of diversity, compared to 59 per cent of the general population. Additionally, 44 per cent believe that Canada is inclusive, compared to 50 per cent of the general population; and 42 per cent believe that Canada is prioritizing fairness, compared to 48 per cent of the general population.
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion policies must be clear and tangible,” said Bruce MacLellan, President & CEO of Proof Strategies. “We are committed to researching the unique story of trust in Canada. Our results show there is a pathway to building trust if leaders are willing to put in the work.”
Black Canadians are aligned with the general population on the industries that they are willing, and unwilling, to trust. Hospitals are trusted by 66 per cent of Black Canadians in comparison to 64 per cent of the general population. Furthermore, oil and gas companies are trusted by 27 per cent of Black Canadians compared to 28 per cent of the general population.
Black Canadians are more trusting of government and public leaders
Black Canadians are almost twice as likely to trust the institution of government. 41 per cent of Black Canadians said that they do, compared to 22 per cent of the general population. At the time of the study, the Prime Minister is trusted by 41 per cent of Black Canadians, compared to 33 per cent of the general population. This trust varies by age group. While 33 per cent of Black Canadians aged 18-34 trust the Prime Minister to do the right thing, 50 per cent of Black Canadians aged 55 and older do.
Black Canadians also put more trust in government leaders to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of Black Canadians, at 50 per cent, trust the Prime Minister to provide them with reliable information about COVID-19. This is compared to 40 per cent of the general population.
“This speaks to the immigration status of the Black community. While many have been here for 15 or more years, Canada has been a safe haven and given us the opportunity to build a new life,” said Clarke Duffy “We are less critical of the government because we have different expectations.”
50 per cent of Black Canadians trust fact-based journalism
While exactly half of the Black Canadians surveyed (50 per cent) trust the traditional news media to do what is right for Canada compared to 35 per cent of the general population, there is certainly work for media to do across all groups to build confidence and credibility.
“I trust most mainstream media outlets. They don’t have to prove points; they just report the facts,” said one survey respondent.
While Black Canadians do place higher trust in traditional media, 58 per cent of respondents said that they trust “word of mouth from people they know” for reliable information. This is compared to 50 per cent of the general population.
“Family and close friends have no reason to provide unreliable information,” said another survey respondent.
Alignment in trust of doctors and scientists
More than three-quarters of Black Canadians, at 76 per cent, trust medical doctors to provide them with reliable information. The Canadian healthcare system is the most trusted institution by Black Canadians, at 61 per cent. Scientists are trusted by 73 per cent of respondents.
This is similar to the general population, where 78 per cent trust doctors and 75 per cent trust scientists to provide them with reliable information.
Other Survey Findings
- The Canadian Red Cross is the most trusted brand by Black Canadians, at 67 per cent. This mirrors the results from the General Population Survey, where 61 per cent of respondents said that they trust the Canadian Red Cross to do the right thing.
- 77 per cent of Black Canadians have experienced racism, either firsthand or as a witness, this number jumps to 86 per cent when talking about those born in Canada.
- 54 per cent of Black Canadians trust charities and not-for-profits, compared to 47 per cent of the general population.
About the Proof Strategies CanTrust Study of Black Canadians
For seven years, Proof Strategies has measured Canadian trust levels in government, sources of information, institutions and more. In 2022, Proof Strategies engaged On Point Insight, a Black-owned and operated research firm, to conduct a separate trust survey of 311 Black Canadians from January 4-13, 2022. The sample used is representative of population statistics by region, age and gender.
About Proof Strategies
For leaders responsible for managing, protecting, and building organizations and brands, Proof Strategies is a public relations, government relations and communications partner that “asks better questions” to create insight, grow trust and support clients. Founded in 1994, the independent agency has earned more than 300 awards for client work and industry leadership, including Best Workplace in Canada in 2010 by Great Place to Work™, Agency Team of the Year in 2020 by the Canadian Public Relations Society and Caring Company Certification in 2022 by Imagine Canada. Proof has been carbon neutral since 2008. Follow Proof at getproof.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @get_proof.
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