Anger Grows Across Canada as COVID's Third Wave Takes Hold: INNOVATIVE Research Group Launches Comprehensive Website Tracking the Canadian COVID Experience over 2020/21
TORONTO, April 22, 2021 /CNW/ - Over a year after the onset of the global pandemic, Canadians are less fearful of contracting COVID-19 and more angry at their governments, new research shows. INNOVATIVE Research Group has conducted more than 53,000 interviews with Canadians over 23 separate surveys since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Today, these results are available on INNOVATIVE's newly launched COVID-19 tracking website. The site https://innovativeresearch.ca/covid-19 is updated every two weeks for up to the minute results that can inform businesses and government decision makers how best to support Canadians through this crisis. INNOVATIVE has tracked a wide variety of topics from the beginning, and the comprehensive results are organized under four key questions:
- How are Canadians experiencing COVID-19?
- What are the implications for governments?
- What are the implications for business?
- What are the implications for public health?
INNOVATIVE has looked at many aspects of Canadians' personal experience with COVID-19, including attention, experience with the disease and, in the most recent survey, emotions. Canadians have always felt a limited sense of threat from COVID-19. While 36% of Canadians reported often or always feeling afraid in March 2020, that has been reduced to 27% in April 2021. "For many people, the serious effects of the disease - field hospitals and fatal symptoms, are something they view on television but do not experience in their everyday lives" noted Greg Lyle, President of INNOVATIVE Research Group. "While that is good news in some respects, it creates challenges in public health."
Canadians were surveyed on how COVID-19 has impacted their behaviour – results which reveal underlying causes of this health crisis. INNOVATIVE finds that despite the greater threat of the third wave, Canadians are more likely to engage in social behaviours that might be described as "moderately risky" today than in either the first or second waves. For instance, looking at moderate risk activities such as visiting friends or family in their home or your own, 24% reported that behaviour in Wave 1, 32% in Wave 2 and 42% today.
Is Canada at a breaking point?
"Since March 2020, we have seen several trends emerge in our ongoing tracking, some counter to common assumptions," said Lyle. "We've consistently found that, on average, Canadians are not experiencing more stress than they were at the outset of the pandemic and feel as able to keep up the effort to combat COVID-19 as they did last spring. There has, however, been a recent decline in confidence around access to healthcare services and a need for improved communications from Public Health. While most Canadians say they have a clear idea of what they have to do to protect each other, they remain confused by mixed messages from various levels of government."
While Canadians generally are not experiencing exhaustion or greater levels of stress, there are communities where results consistently show increased hardship.
"Where we do see a marked difference in the Canadian COVID experience is in marginalized communities – our research specifically in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities revealed a stark contrast in that these communities are experiencing a disproportionate impact across the board from financial confidence to mental health," notes Lyle.
INNOVATIVE has also found, as Canadians experience the third wave, they are angrier at their governments. A year ago in March 2020, 26% reported feeling angry at government responses to COVID-19 all the time or often. Today that is up to 35%. That increased anger is found primarily in Alberta (rising from 32% to 46%) and Ontario (rising from 26% to 42%).
Looking at implications for business, public appetite remains strong for tighter lockdowns, which creates a major financial challenge in many sectors. Despite economic challenges, tracking has consistently revealed that household financial confidence is generally higher than at any point since 2008, even though 38% of households are reporting a negative impact on their employment or business. "There was an initial dip in confidence at the beginning of the pandemic, but it rebounded quickly, and has remained high since" Lyle said. "This confidence is directly tied to people's knowledge of and access to government programs."
While personal financial confidence is achieved as a direct result of positive perceptions of government support programs, overall support of governments in Canada has recently declined. Most Canadian governments enjoyed strong approval ratings in the spring, and again in the fall. INNOVATIVE's latest survey results show that numbers are slipping with the federal government approval at its lowest (44%) since mid-March 2020, and approval of provincial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic also declining with a sharp drop of 6 points this week to 30% in Ontario while Alberta sits at only 33%.
Results are based on research conducted between March 2020 and April 2021. The surveys for this project are online surveys. Most waves are part of INNOVATIVE's monthly Canada This Month study, but some are standalone surveys dedicated to COVID-19. Each report, available at https://innovativeresearch.ca/covid-19 includes detailed methodologies for the studies the report is based on.
"We are pleased to make this wealth of information available to the public and to all decision-makers looking for insights into how we can move through this in the most healthy and economically sound way possible," said Lyle. "The data reinforces the incredible resiliency and hopefulness that we have seen time and again across this country, but also highlights growing concerns and behaviours that must continue to be curbed to reduce climbing case counts."
About INNOVATIVE Research Group
Innovative Research Group is a full-service public opinion research and consultation firm. From our offices in Toronto and Vancouver, we provide clients with strategic insights using a full-range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. At INNOVATIVE, we are about more than just collecting data. We have thought deeply about how opinion forms and changes both generally and in terms of specific challenges. We are focused on applying insights in the real world. We thrive on challenges and have the track record to prove it. For more information or to get in touch, visit innovativeresearch.ca.
SOURCE Innovative Research Group