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The Proof Strategies 2021 CanTrust Index has uncovered the impact of this pandemic on trust levels and the many unique aspects of trust and Canadians. The past year has seen uncertainty, tragedy and turmoil, racial inequalities at a boiling point, political scandal and economic hardship for many.

May 2021 Pandemic Update

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted public health, with new COVID-19 variants, hospital overcrowding and the mass roll-out of vaccinations across the country. Canadians are watching closely and looking for action, with smart, equitable solutions in the battle against COVID-19. Trust shifts quickly in a crisis, and this new research tracks the trends since our main report was released in mid-February 2021. As a third wave update, the Proof Strategies CanTrust Index surveyed Canadians on their trust levels in elected leaders, scientists, doctors, journalists and vaccines from May 1-3, 2021. 

Our results show that trust in vaccines is up 10 per cent since January, although trust is not shared equally between the four main brands. An overall boost in trust for the vaccine occurred in all regions of the country, including 11-point increases in Ontario and the Prairies.  

There’s a lot of trust, but not enough vaccines. Gen Z and lower income households are below average in trust, so special effort is needed to reach them. Governments need to be more creative and aggressive in vaccine roll-out plans. We need to better target skeptical communities and higher risk communities. This pandemic will eventually become an endemic, so let’s invest and get creative.  

Download the CanTrust Index Third Wave Update to learn more about how Canadian trust levels have changed.  

Fuel for Mistrust or an Opportunity to Build Trust 

Like any Canadian conversation, there are differences and similarities among our citizens. A very high number of Canadians agree they trust experts such as scientists and doctors, and also their own friends and family. These are some of the highest levels of trust in our six years of study.

Canadians are telling us very clearly who they trust to get us through the pandemic, and the advice they want comes from labs not legislatures and medicine not management. 

Canadians are telling us very clearly who they trust to get us through the pandemic, and the advice they want comes from labs not legislatures and medicine not management. 

Download the full February 2021 Proof Strategies CanTrust Index
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Across the country, Canadians want information based on facts, positive for a healthy democracy. Fully 85 per cent of Canadians think it is important to have access to fact-based journalism.

But a trusting future can’t be taken for granted. Gen Z Canadians are the least trusting of any age group. It is generally believed that trust increases with age and life experience. The question is will social and economic inequity change that fact and if so, how will this affect the future of Canada.

Employers are losing ground. Trust in the workplace needs serious work. Overall, employees give employers a D grade for building trust in January 2021, down from a C- in January 2020.

There is also a regional dimension to trust in Canada. Trust is stable or even growing in Ontario and eastward. The three Prairie Provinces have lost trust and are pulling down the national average. Economic and political alienation are taking a toll.

The good news for Canadian organizations is trust can be built – or rebuilt – with dedication and a focus on what Canadian’s value most: employee wellbeing and health (67 per cent), holding values similar to your employees (67 per cent) and communicating openly from the highest levels (63 per cent).

We track trust so that all Canadians can be aware of its importance and how to sustain and build it. We are pleased to share the study hope you will download the full report available above.

Trust and the Pandemic - May 2021 Update

2021 Proof Strategies CanTrust Index

Past Reports