Today, Innovative Research Group Inc. released its latest tracking on how Canadians feel about COVID-19 and their governments’ response to the pandemic. The online survey of 1,316 Canadians was conducted from December 30th to January 5th.
The growing levels concerns we saw earlier in December that Canadians themselves and their vulnerable friends and family will catch COVID plateaued at the end of the month. Personal fear of catching COVID grew marginally from 58% to 60% while fear for friends and family slightly declined from 73% to 71%. Intensity of these views grew again in both cases.
While the general trend in government approval on managing COVID-19 is down, the pattern of change is now varying significantly across Canada:
British Columbians responded positively to their government’s announcement of increased restrictions with a 9-point gain from earlier in December to the New Year’s weekend.
Quebec and Ontario both saw further declines in the 4 to 5-point range.
Alberta was essentially flat and remains stuck in the basement with just 24-point approval.
The federal government also saw a marginal two-point decline.
Canadians continue to be more likely to see provincial public health restrictions as too loose (37%) than too tight (25%).
Consistent with the government approval, BC has seen a large 10-point increase in the number who say the restrictions are about right.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, even more in Ontario say restrictions are too loose (a 6-point increase to 43%.
Albertans are also a little more (4% increase to 38%) say restrictions are too loose with a 5-point decrease (to 25%) in those who say restrictions are too tight.
Quebec is running against the tide seen elsewhere with more saying restrictions are too tight (33%) than too loose (25%).
While public assessments of their governments’ COVID performance are moving in response to government actions, most Canadians blame the virus rather than government mistakes for the current wave.
42% of Canadians agree that the ongoing waves of COVID are the direct results of governments not taking the right steps.
60% agree that governments may have made some mistakes, but the primary reason for ongoing waves of COVID is the nature of the virus.
67% agree that no matter what we do in Canada, we will continue to face new variants until people across the world are fully vaccinated.
Canadians continue to judge their governments on their responses to COVID. Right now, most of those judgements are harsh. But while people may feel government can do better, they do not believe Canadian government alone can stop the virus. They understand that viruses are tough opponents, and that Canadians will not be safe until people around the world are safe.