The winding down of COVID-19 restrictions has begun in most of the country, and it’s being met with both confidence, and concern.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, finds Canadians divided about the swiftness of public health measure reduction, and open to keep key restrictions in place for longer if necessary.
Indeed, large numbers say that removal is happening too quickly (36%), at the right pace (38%), or too slowly (22%). Significant regional differences define the overall findings, as people in various parts of the country react to the situation where they live and gauge the changes through the lenses of their own realities.
Nationally, 73 per cent say they would support continuing masking requirements in public spaces while 64 per cent support proof of vaccination at places like restaurants and theatres in their community.
These data help to underline an emerging trend as governments shift responsibility to Canadians to decide which health measures to continue to follow. While official requirements may soon no longer be in place, many are ready to continue with the habits they have formed over the past two years. Two-thirds (64%) will continue sanitizing their hands in addition to washing, three-in-five will maintain the practice of social distancing, and fully half say – at least for the time being – they will avoid large crowds (53%) and continue to wear a mask in public (50%).
As premiers and public health officials make announcements about the plan for spring, they do so with varied public opinion profiles. In Atlantic Canada, B.C., and Quebec, premiers are perceived as having handled the previous two years well. A majority also say that Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has done a good job (56%). On the other end of the spectrum, residents in Manitoba and Alberta are overwhelmingly critical of what they have seen from their premiers since the pandemic began.
More Key Findings:
Canadians are equally likely to say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done a good job (48%) and a bad job (48%) of handling the pandemic over the past two years.
Past Liberal voters are near unanimous in their praise (88%), while two-thirds of past NDP voters agree that Trudeau has acquitted himself well (67%).
Conversely, 84 per cent of past CPC voters, and three-in-five past Bloc voters (62%) say he has done a bad job.
Majorities in every region of the country say sanitizing will be part of their routine for the foreseeable future and at least half say so of keeping extra space between themselves and others.
Awkward moments have been common in Canadian households over the past two years.
More than half (56%) say that they have had a conflict with someone in their close friend circle or family about vaccination since the pandemic began, while 45 per cent have had awkward moments after they turned down invitations to events because of restrictions.
The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.