BREAKING: Canada at populism, trust crisis tipping point

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals almost half of Canada's general
population distrusts key institutions

TORONTO, Feb. 14, 2017 /CNW/ - The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer confirms that Canada can no longer count itself immune from the global trend of populism and sinking institutional trust. For the first time since Edelman started tracking the general population, Canada finds itself among countries who distrust their institutions. Trust in business, media and government is in trouble.

Edelman's international study on public perception of institutions and their leaders also exposes a growing divide between the informed public (educated, upper-quartile income earners) and the rest of Canada. A 15-point gap exists between institutional trust among informed public and the mass population. This gap is nearly twice what it was last year. It is the biggest recorded gap noted between these two groups and is approaching the gaps in countries like the U.S., U.K. and France (21, 19 and 18 respectively).

"Canada is not immune from the impact of the global trust crisis. In fact, we're seeing similar trend lines as our neighbors in the United States," says Lisa Kimmel, President and CEO, Edelman Canada. "Canadians are telling us they are worried about their futures and don't trust our institutions to fix their concerns."

Importantly, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals emerging concern and fears among Canadians in key areas that commonly underpin populist outcomes. One in two people surveyed agree with the statement that the influx of people from other countries is damaging Canada's economy and national culture. 80% of people think the elites who run institutions are out of touch with regular people. And, 61% of people do not have confidence that Canada's current leaders will be able to successfully solve Canada's challenges. 48% also agreed that globalization is taking us in the wrong direction.

The study also offers startling information about how Canadians feel about facts and information. One in three told us they would support politicians who can make their lives better even if they exaggerated the truth. 55% told us they don't listen to people or organizations they disagree with and that they are more than 3.5 times more likely to ignore information that supports a position they don't believe in. Canada is experiencing the echo chamber effect which is magnifying the crisis in trust.

"Canada needs to confront its challenges head on with an appreciation for the fundamental shift that has occurred in influence, from elites to populist power," added Kimmel. "Economic challenges, globalization, technological change and information echo chambers are undermining trust. The imperative to regain trust in Canadian institutions has never been greater."

2017 Edelman Trust Barometer – Fact Sheet

Headlines

  • For the first time since Edelman started tracking the general population, Canada finds itself among countries who distrust their institutions.
  • Less than half (49%) of Canada's general population trust key institutions – government, media, business & NGOs.
  • The gap between trust among informed public and the mass population is nearly twice what it was last year (15 points, versus 8 points last year). This is the biggest gap ever recorded between these two audiences. The next largest gap was 11 points back in 2013.
  • For context, the trust gap in countries where we have seen growth in populist sentiment: 21 points - U.S., 19 points - U.K., 18 points - France.
  • Statistical bright light: Canadian businesses have a trust advantage over businesses headquartered in other countries, being most trusted along with Swedish businesses.

Institutional Trust

  • Trust in government: Down 10 points. 63% of people blame government for our problems. 66% hold them responsible to fix it.
  • Trust in Media: Down 10 points. 60% told us they are more likely to believe a search engine compared to 40% trusting a human editor. More than half of people said they trust their own research and assessment of issues.
  • Trust in Business: Down 6 points. 53% of Canadians agree that the pace of change in business is too fast, 48% are worried globalization is taking us in the wrong direction. Trust in CEOs at an all-time low, dropping 12 points to 25%.
  • Trust in NGOs: Down 2 points. Trust in NGO spokespeople down 3 points.

Emerging Canadian Concerns & Fears

  • 1 in 2 people agree that an influx of people from other countries is damaging Canada's economy and national culture.
  • 40% of Canadians agree they are denied access to education and opportunities to get ahead.
  • 80% of people think the elites who run institutions are out of touch with regular people.
  • 61% of people do not have confidence that Canada's leaders will be able to successfully address Canada's challenges.
  • 2 in 5 say Canada shouldn't enter into free trade agreements because they hurt Canadian workers.
  • 69% say we need to prioritize Canadian interests over the rest of the world.
  • 69% agree government should protect jobs and local industries even if it means the economy grows more slowly.
  • Issue: Corruption (52% concerned, 23% fearful)
  • Issue: Globalization (67% concerned, 30% fearful)
  • Issue: Eroding Social Values (54% concerned, 25% fearful)
  • Issue: Immigration (52% concerned, 28% fearful)
  • Issue: Pace of Innovation (53% concerned, 23% fearful)

To review 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer for Canada visit Edelman.com.

About Edelman
Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world's largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014; six Cannes Lions in 2015; and the Grand Prix in the Titanium category in 2016. The firm was named "2016 Global Agency of the Year" by the Holmes Report, and one of Advertising Age's "Agencies to Watch" in 2014. In 2015, Edelman was among Glassdoor's "Best Places to Work" for the fourth time. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Intelligence (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency. Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.

About the Edelman Trust Barometer 
The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm's 17th annual trust and credibility survey. The survey was done by research firm Edelman Intelligence and consisted of 25-minute online interviews conducted on October 13thNovember 16th, 2016. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer online survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents consisting of 1,150 general population respondents ages 18 and over and 500 informed public respondents in the U.S. and China and 200 informed public respondents in all other countries across 28 markets. All informed publics met the following criteria: ages 25-64, college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week

SOURCE Edelman Public Relations Worldwide

For further information: For more information or to book an interview, please contact: Sophie Nadeau, National Media Lead, Edelman Canada: Sophie.nadeau@edelman.com, 416-910-0890. Samantha Campana, Account Manager, Samantha.Campana@edelman.com, 289-242-6455. Max Mosher, Account Executive, max.mosher@edelman.com, 647-888-6453.

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