Most Canadians Call for Public Inquiry into COVID-19 Response

The proportion of Canadians who are “anxious” about the end of pandemic restrictions and mandates increased to 56%.

Vancouver, BC [April 22, 2022] – A majority of Canadians believe a thorough review of the performance of various levels of government during the COVID-19 pandemic is warranted, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample, 66% of Canadians support holding a public inquiry into the way the COVID-19 pandemic was managed by the federal government, while 23% are opposed and 12% are undecided.

The Government of the United Kingdom has announced a public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic. The terms of reference intend to cover preparedness, the public health response, the response in the health care sector and the economic response. 

Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party in the 2021 federal election are more likely to endorse the call for a public inquiry into Ottawa’s pandemic management (77%) than those who voted for the Conservative Party (67%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (66%).

More than three-in-five Canadians believe that public inquiries into the way COVID-19 was handled by their provincial governments (64%) and their municipal governments (61%) are in order.

“More than two thirds of residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (70%) and Ontario (68%) are in favour of holding a public inquiry into how their provincial governments managed the pandemic,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Support is slightly lower in Quebec (64%), British Columbia (61%), Alberta (also 61%) and Atlantic Canada (59%).”

This month, 82% of residents (+1 since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in March 2022) believe COVID-19 is a real threat. In addition, 62% of Canadians (-10) believe that the worst of COVID-19 is “behind us”.

Satisfaction with the way the federal government is handling the pandemic fell by four points to 57%. The rating is exactly the same for provincial administrations across Canada (57%, +1) and slightly higher for municipal governments (60% =).

Among the four most populous provinces, satisfaction is highest in British Columbia (61%, -2) and Ontario (also 61%, +4), followed by Quebec (59%, -4) and Alberta (37%, =).

There is little movement on the satisfaction of Canadians with the performance of the federal chief public health officer (61%, -2) and their provincial health officer or chief medical officer (60%, -1).

Most Canadians (56%) acknowledge feeling “very anxious” or “moderately anxious” about the end of COVID-19 restrictions and mandates in their community, up four points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in March 2022.

Three-in-five Canadians (60%, -5) plan to continue wearing a mask or face covering when entering an indoor premise in the next fortnight, while 45% (=) will do so every time they leave their home.

The proportion of Canadians who intend to visit relatives or friends in person over the next two weeks remains at 58%. Just over two-in-five Canadians are planning to have dinner (44%, -1) or lunch (43%, +4) at a sit-down restaurant in the next fortnight.

Fewer than one-in-four Canadians are planning to attend the theatre or cinema (22%, +1), a live sporting event as a spectator (11%, =) or a live concert as a spectator (also 11%, +2). 

While 22% of Canadians are planning to travel by car for an overnight stay in the next two weeks, only 13% are currently willing to travel by airplane.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from April 16 to April 18, 2022, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. 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.

778.929.0490 [e]