Metro Vancouverites Angered by Litterers and Lazy Dog Owners

Other frustrations include drivers who use hand-held cell phones and those who park in handicapped spots without a decal.

Vancouver, BC [November 8, 2019] – At least seven-in-ten residents of Metro Vancouver are angry after witnessing four specific illegal behaviours, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Metro Vancouverites, 73% of residents say they become upset when they see a person littering and when dog owners decide not to pick up dog waste.

Animosity towards negligent dog owners rises with age, from 70% and 72% among Metro Vancouverites aged 18-to-34 and 35-to-54 respectively, to 82% among those aged 55 and over.

More than two thirds of Metro Vancouver residents are also angry when they see someone using a hand-held cell phone when driving (72%), parking in a handicapped spot without a decal (70%) and throwing cigarette butts on the ground (67%).

Two other driving violations make more than three-in-five Metro Vancouverites upset: speeding on a municipal road or street (65%) and not wearing a seatbelt when driving a car or riding in a car (61%).

Women are more likely to become upset after witnessing a driver speeding (71%) or a person inside a car who is not wearing a seatbelt (66%) than men (59% and 55% respectively). 

Smoking in a patio, or within 5 metres of doorways, open windows, or air intakes has been illegal in British Columbia for more than a decade. A majority of Metro Vancouverites (59%) are angry when they witness this particular behaviour.

“Residents of the City of Vancouver are more likely to become enraged by the actions of smokers,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion of Vancouverites who are upset is higher than in other municipalities when it comes to people lighting up in places other than designated areas.”

Fewer than half of Metro Vancouverites are angered after witnessing four other behaviours: riding a bicycle on the sidewalk (46%), riding a bicycle without a helmet (45%), watering the lawn outside permitted hours (40%) and jaywalking (38%).

Almost three-in-four Metro Vancouverites (73%) consider that most of the residents of their city “definitely” or “probably” follow existing laws and by-laws, while one-in-five (21%) believe most people “definitely” or “probably” do not.

Residents of Vancouver are more likely to deem most inhabitants as law-abiding (80%) than those who live in Burnaby (70%), Surrey (68%) and the remaining municipalities (72%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from October 24 to October 27, 2019, among 700 adults in Metro Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Metro Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.