Almost Half of Canadians Expect COVID-19 Pandemic to Worsen

Public support for requiring all customers to wear a mask or face covering when they are indoors reaches 85% across the country.

Vancouver, BC [September 8, 2020] – Canadians hold a gloomier view of the COVID-19 pandemic than they did two months ago, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 46% of Canadians think the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak is “definitely” or “probably” ahead of us, up 11 points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in June. The proportion of Canadians who think the worst of COVID-19 is “behind us” dropped from 49% in June to 37% in September.

On a regional basis, British Columbians are more likely to believe that the worst of the pandemic lies ahead (61%) than residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (50%), Alberta (45%), Quebec (44%), Ontario (40%) and Atlantic Canada (42%).

Nine-in-ten Canadians (90%) agree with two regulations that have been in place for weeks: keeping the border with the United States closed to non-essential travel, and placing all travellers arriving to Canada into a mandatory 14-day quarantine or isolation period.

Public support is also extremely high (85%) for requiring all customers or visitors entering an indoor premise to wear a mask or face covering while inside. When Research Co. posed this same question to Americans this month, 90% were in favour of this guideline.

A majority of Canadians (51%) agree with allowing K-12 students to go back to in-class learning in their province, while two-in-five (42%) disagree.

Satisfaction with the way provincial governments have handled the COVID-19 pandemic fell by six points since late June to 69%. The rating remained at 83% in British Columbia, but fell in Ontario (68%, -8), Quebec (67%, -2) and Alberta (57%, -5).

Just under two thirds of Canadians (64%, -6) are satisfied with the way the federal government has managed COVID-19. The rating is the same (64%, -6) for municipal governments.

There has been an extraordinary increase in the proportion of Canadians who say they are wearing a mask every time they go out. This month, 70% of Canadians say they are behaving this way, up from 48% in late June and just 14% in May.

“Women are more likely to be wearing a mask every time they go out (75%) than men (65%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Canadians aged 18-to-34 are also more observant of this practice (74%) than their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (70%) and those aged 55 and over (66%).”

More than seven-in-ten Ontarians (81%), Quebecers (73%) and Albertans (71%) say they are always wearing masks outside. The proportion is lower for residents of Atlantic Canada (65%), British Columbia (56%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (53%).

A third of Canadians (33%, -7) say they clean the groceries they buy to prevent infection, and 22% (-1) are not ordering food from restaurants at all because they fear infection.

Almost one-in-four Canadians (23%, -6) say they are overeating or eating more than usual at home. The figures are stable on Canadians drinking more at home (17%, -1) and losing their temper more often (15%, -1).

Across the country, three-in-four Canadians (74%, -1) say they are willing to take a vaccine against COVID-19 if one ultimately becomes available.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from August 30 to September 1, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.