A sign for doctors and nurses is pictured across the street from the Abbotsford Regional Hospital in Abbotsford, B.C. Tuesday, April 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Canadians trust their family doctor more than the PM on COVID-19, says poll

Fifty-four per cent said they trusted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadians trust health professionals like their family doctor first and foremost when it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, a new poll suggests.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, asked respondents to rate their level of trust in various institutions, including public health officials and politicians.

Health professionals like doctors and nurses had the highest level of trust in Canada, with 92 per cent support. Public health officials, generally, followed close behind at 81 per cent, while 72 per cent of respondents said they trusted chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

That’s no surprise, said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of Leger. He said most people trust the people they’re closest to.

“I was expecting more of a gap between those who you interact with versus those that you see,” he said.

The World Health Organization, which has faced criticism, including from the Conservatives, for how it responded to the novel coronavirus in China, was trusted by 68 per cent of Canadians. Fifty-four per cent said they trusted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

At the lower end of the spectrum, only 50 per cent of Canadians said they trust the media, though that has been the case for a long time and has not changed as a result of the pandemic, said Bourque.

The trust Canadians show in their institutions ranked much higher than those of respondents from the United States in most categories, although President Donald Trump had the support of 12 per cent of Canadians compared to 38 per cent of respondents in the U.S.

The poll, conducted April 17-19, surveyed 1,504 adult Canadians and 1,001 adult Americans randomly recruited from Leger’s online panel. Internet-based surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they are not considered random samples.

Bourque said that trust in institutions may be why Canadians have been so faithful about abiding by physical distancing measures over the last several weeks.

The number of people who feel the worst the pandemic is yet to come is shrinking, from 56 per cent last week to 39 per cent this week.

Fear of contracting the virus appears to have peaked in early April, when 76 per cent said they were afraid of catching COVID-19. That number has now dropped to 69 per cent.

Still, the vast majority of Canadians said they are continuing to abide by all public health advice.

“We’ve sort of turned the corner,” said Bourque, “yet we still remain extremely disciplined in social distancing.”

Seventy-three per cent of respondents in Canada said they follow all physical distancing measures and public health advice, compared to only 34 per cent in the U.S.

Nearly 80 per cent of Canadians working from home said the experience was positive, even though 40 per cent described it as hard.

Concern now seems to revolve around long-term care and seniors’ residences, Bourque said.

Tam confirmed that outbreaks in long-term care homes are driving the rising number of deaths in Canada, even as the number of confirmed cases has started to slow

“People are saying that’s the real crisis now,” Bourque said.

While the poll suggests the level of concern was high for people with senior relatives living on their own (72 per cent), or with family (77 per cent), it was much greater for people whose relatives are living communally with other seniors (85 per cent).

Even in the midst of that concern, Canadians’ satisfaction with the response from their federal, provincial and municipal governments has remained high for the last several weeks.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The most recent council meeting was streamed via Zoom on Oct. 20. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
District of Sparwood revisits support for no-cost contraception

Representatives from Sparwood Contraception Access Advocates brough the matter back to council

COVID-19 test tube. (Contributed)
test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
Interior Health launches online booking for COVID-19 tests

Testing is available to anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

STA members and non-members alike are encouraged to send in photos of their trail adventures. (Photo contributed by Scott Tibballs)
Sparwood Trails Alliance fundraises for Lunch Loop

Trail adventurers are invited to submit photos of their adventures for an STA calendar

BC ELECTION
Voters hit the polls early

17 per cent of Kootenay East voters have already voted, with four days to go until the election

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Volunteer registered nurse Stephanie Hamilton recieves a swab from a driver as she works at a Covid-19 testing site in the parking lot at Everett Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
13 more COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

There are 624 cases in the region since the start of the pandemic

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Most Read