Province’s Name is Fine for Most Residents of British Columbia

Just under one-in-five residents are upset by the absence of an acknowledgment to Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.

Vancouver, BC [August 30, 2021] – A majority of British Columbians believe the time is not right to consider a change in the province’s name or flag, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 60% of British Columbians disagree with changing the name of the province to acknowledge its Indigenous heritage, while 26% agree and 14% are undecided.

“The debate over British Columbia’s name finds very different positions from a generational standpoint,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While more than a third of residents aged 18-to-34 (37%) would welcome a change, the proportion falls to 30% among those aged 35-to-54 and to just 14% among those aged 55 and over.”

The proposal does not find a significant variation by political allegiance, with 30% of BC Green Party voters in the 2020 provincial election supporting a name change, along with 29% of those who cast ballots for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) and 26% of those who supported the BC Liberals.

The notion of changing the provincial flag to remove the Union Jack resonates with 30% of British Columbians, but practically half (49%) are opposed and 20% are not sure.

British Columbians aged 35-to-54 are more likely to be in favour of this change in the provincial flag (37%) than their counterparts aged 18-to-34 (33%) and aged 55 and over (23%).

Two thirds of British Columbians (67%) say that nothing upsets them about the name of the province. Just under one-in-five (18%) say they are bothered by the absence of an acknowledgement to Indigenous peoples, while fewer are upset at the “British” (15%) and “Columbia” (8%) components of the name.

Residents of Northern BC are significantly more likely to be upset with the absence of an acknowledgement to Indigenous peoples in the province’s name (26%) and with the “Columbia” component (16%) than their counterparts in other regions.

The Queen Charlotte Islands were renamed as Haida Gwaii in 2010. More than half of British Columbians (56%) agree with this decision, while 20% disagree and 24% are undecided.

More than three-in-five residents of Vancouver Island (64%) and the Fraser Valley (63%) agree with the decision to rename the islands as Haida Gwaii, along with majorities of those who live in Southern BC (55%), Metro Vancouver (53%) and Northern BC (52%).

Results are based on an online study conducted from August 7 to August 9, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 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.


Photo Credit: CPG1100