Canadians Agree with Supreme Court on Carbon Tax Decision

More than three-in-five Canadians (62%) say they are personally concerned about climate change.

Vancouver, BC [April 9, 2021] – The recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that upheld the federal government’s carbon tax plan is supported by a majority of the country’s residents, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 57% of Canadians agree with the court’s decision, while 29% disagree and 13% are undecided.

The Supreme Court stated that the federal government is free to impose minimum pricing standards due to the threat posed by climate change. 

Support for the Supreme Court’s ruling is highest in Quebec (64%), followed by British Columbia (58%), Atlantic Canada (also 58%), Ontario (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (50%) and Alberta (47%).

Across the country, 45% of Canadians say that the carbon tax has negatively affected the finances of their household. This includes majorities of men (51%), Albertans (58%) and Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 federal election (65%).

Canadians are divided on whether the introduction of a carbon tax has led people to be more mindful of their carbon consumption and change their behaviour. While 42% of Canadians believe this to be the case, 44% disagree and 15% are not sure.

“The notion of a carbon tax modifying the habits of Canadians is more prevalent among those who voted for the Liberals (71%) and the New Democrats (70%) in the last federal election,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Only 32% of Canadians who voted for the Conservatives share this point of view.”

The survey provided respondents with a list of 10 different environmental issues. More than three-in-five Canadians say they are personally concerned about four different matters: air pollution (64%), the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs (62%), global warming or climate change (also 62%) and the pollution of drinking water (61%).

Fewer Canadians are personally concerned about six other environmental issues: the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste (53%), the extinction of plant and animal species (52%), deforestation or the clearance of naturally occurring forests (51%), the loss of tropical rain forests (50%), the depletion of fish stocks through overfishing (44%) and the maintenance of the supply of fresh water for household needs (also 44%).

Almost half of Canadians (47%) think the federal government is not paying enough attention to the environment—a proportion that rises to 54% among Atlantic Canadians and 50% among both Quebecers and British Columbians.

Similar proportions of Canadians also think their provincial government (51%) and their municipal government (48%) are not focusing on the environment as much as they should.

Results are based on an online study conducted on April 2 and April 3, 2021, 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 plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.