Few Canadians Think Marital Infidelity is Morally Acceptable

Across Canada, the moral acceptability of gambling and physician assisted death dropped since 2021.

Vancouver, BC [May 17, 2022] – Only one-in-six Canadians have no moral qualms about the existence of infidelity in a marriage, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample asked Canadians whether they considered 21 different issues as “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong.”

Only 16% of Canadians think married men and/or women having an affair is morally acceptable, down two points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in April 2021.

“Across Canada, more than one-in-five men (22%) think affairs involving married persons are morally acceptable,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Only 10% of Canadian women share the same view.”

More than two thirds of Canadians think four other issues are morally acceptable: contraception (75%, -1), divorce (73%, -4), sexual relations between an unmarried man and woman (69%, -3)  and having a baby outside of marriage (also 69%, =).

More than half of Canadians believe sexual relations between two people of the same sex (59%, -3), abortion (55%, -2) and medical research using stem cells obtained from human embryos (also 55%, =) are morally acceptable. The proportions are lower for four other issues: pornography (31%, =), prostitution (30%, -3), polygamy (19%, =), cloning humans (12%, =) and paedophilia (4%, -1).

On issues related to animals, more than a third of Canadians (36%, -2) say buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur is morally acceptable, while fewer feel the same way about medical testing on animals (25%, +1) and cloning animals (19%, =).

Two-in-five Canadians (40%, -1) believe the death penalty is morally acceptable. Significantly fewer hold similar views on using illegal drugs (18%, -2) and suicide (also 18%, =).

Just over three-in-five Canadians (61%, -4) consider physician-assisted death as morally acceptable. Canadians aged 55 and over are more likely to feel this way (66%) than those aged 35-to-54 (58%) and aged 18-to-34 (57%).

Canadians of European descent are significantly more likely to say that physician-assisted death is morally acceptable (71%) than their counterparts whose origins are East Asian (49%) and South Asian (38%).

Just over half of Canadians (52%, -5) think gambling is morally acceptable.

Quebec is the only province where fewer than half of residents (48%) refer to gambling as morally acceptable. The proportions are higher in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (51%), Alberta and Ontario (each at 53%), Atlantic Canada (54%) and British Columbia (58%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 9, 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] mario.canseco@researchco.ca