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A COVID State of Mind: What Canadians are Thinking Right Now

A COVID State of Mind: What Canadians are Thinking Right Now

As we start to see provinces re-opening their economy, one question that continues to pop up is whether or not people will actually re-enter the economy after it re-opens. For the past two months, marketing research leader David Coletto  and his team at Abacus Data have  been tracking Canadian perceptions and attitudes around the pandemic. What they’ve learned is that just because the economy is “re-opening”, doesn’t mean people feel comfortable doing the things they used to pre-COVID.

For almost 15 years, David has been exploring why Canadians think and act the way they do. Interviews and survey responses of over 400,000 Canadians can teach a lot about what to expect, maybe even predict how people will react or respond to events. But the past eight weeks has shown him that relying on previous assumptions can be dangerous right now.

So much can change overnight and how businesses, organizations, and team leaders respond to the pandemic and its impacts, could have long-term implications for their reputations, brands, and ability to achieve goals. Now, more than ever, it’s important to listen to Canadians.

As a result, Abacus Data has interviewed more than 25,000 Canadians to track their opinions, reactions, anxieties, and intended behaviours on all things related to COVID-19 and the global pandemic.

At the end of April, they found that 83% of Canadians wanted policymakers to go slow and err on the side of caution when making plans to re-open the economy and that concern about getting the virus was still a primary driver for overall worry about the pandemic.

So, while people are anxious about the economic impact of the pandemic, their personal health and safety remain top of mind.

To summarize some of David’s research, they’ve found that:

  • Canadians are deeply concerned about contracting the virus and the risk of a second spike in infections.
  • They are feeling anxious, lonely, and worried about what the future will look like, and are impatient to get back out and hug their friends and family and experience the world in person again, but they also don’t want to go too fast and risk repeating it all over again.
  • Their day-to-day lives today are very different. They are developing new habits, discovering new services and brands, and rethinking the value of those they interacted with in the past.
  • 12% of those currently employed say they are comfortable enough all ready to go back to an office, but almost 1 in 5 (17%) say they won’t be comfortable going back to an office until there’s a vaccine.
  • The remaining 71% of those employed have some conditions — 66% want surfaces to be cleaned regularly, 60% want there to be enough room to distance themselves from others, while 47% want to see a reduced number of people allowed into the office. 37% want to see mandatory facemasks.
  • Canadians trust public institutions in ways they did not before the crisis. They recognize how essential strong, secure, and reliable leaders are.

In short, Canadians are reconsidering much of what they thought to be normal. They are open to new information, new experiences, and new solutions, which presents both immense risk and unbelievable opportunities those who see this.

See more data in the photo gallery below:


With a unique perspective on what Canadians are thinking as one of Canada’s leading pollsters, David Coletto delivers strategic advice and research design expertise geared towards his audiences. His presentations are not only information and data-packed, but also engaging with stories and case studies from his years working with some of Canada’s leading companies, brands, and leaders.