2019 Proof CanTrust Index Shows A Significant Drop In Canadians’ Trust In Major Institutions, Organizations, Leaders & Many Sources Of Information

After three years of stability, the 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals a significant drop in Canadians’ trust in major institutions, organizations, leaders and many sources of information. Overall, the study saw a decline in the average trust score for all institutions from 45 in 2018 to 39 in 2019.

Organizational trust declines

Trust in organizations declined from 2018 to 2019 in every category measured. Trust in the news media fell from 51 per cent to 40 per cent and large corporations from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. Not-for-profits, governments and small/medium-sized businesses saw declines of eight, five and nine per cent, respectively.

Two of the most fundamental democratic institutions also saw a significant decline in trust. Trust in the court system/judges dropped four per cent to 51 per cent. Canadians’ trust in the election system dipped to just 47 per cent. New to the study this year was a measure of trust in Parliament, which received a score of only 39 per cent. Trust in the police remains relatively strong, with local police services holding steady at 64 per cent and trust in the RCMP dipping just slightly to 62 per cent.

The main street of mistrust: politics and geography

The Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals that while trust levels are lower across the board, the trust deficit is most pronounced along political and geographic lines.

Specifically, the data show that Conservative-leaning respondents – and to a lesser extent, NDP-leaning respondents – are less trusting in almost every institution and system measured in the CanTrust Index. Conservative trust in news media stands at 33 per cent compared to 40 per cent among the overall population. Trust in governments is 36 per cent among Canadians, but only 21 per cent among Conservative-leaning respondents. Only 30 per cent of Conservative-leaning respondents believe that overall, people can be trusted, compared to a 40 per cent average among Canadians overall.

In contrast, Liberal-leaning respondents have higher than average trust levels: 43 per cent trust news media, 63 per cent trust governments and 50 per cent say that overall, people can be trusted.

With an election around the corner, low trust levels should concern leaders attempting to connect with unaffiliated voters. Finding a means of connecting is all the more difficult with fewer than half of Canadians saying that they trust independent news media to contribute to an honest debate about candidates’ positions on issues of the day.

Geographically, Albertans demonstrate lower levels of trust in most institutions, including private enterprise and government. Only 16 per cent of Albertans trust large corporations versus 20 per cent of Canadians and 32 per cent of Quebecers. Only 22 per cent of Albertans trust governments, compared to 36 per cent of Canadians overall and 39 per cent of Ontarians.

Newcomers a bulwark…for a time

For the second year in a row, newcomers who have been in Canada for fewer than 15 years are more likely to trust everything from leaders and institutions to brands and content. However, at the 15-year mark, the CanTrust Index reveals that this window of trust closes and their trust levels decline to those seen among naturally born Canadians, or even lower.

CEOs and senior bosses lose ground to Mayors; trust in Premiers remains lowest

When it comes to trust in the leaders in their lives, for the first time, Canadians scored their own CEO or most senior boss (45 per cent) lower than their local Mayor (52 per cent). Following is the Prime Minister at 40 per cent, down six per cent. Once again, Premiers ranked last at 34 per cent, pulled down significantly by Ontarians at 22 per cent despite a change in government since the 2018 study.

Distributing trust

In terms of getting the message to Canadians, familiarity breeds trust – recommendations by someone you know or word of mouth (76 per cent) and sampling a product or service oneself (75 per cent) remain the most trusted sources of information. Despite falling trust in news media organizations, editorial content or stories in media like newspapers, TV, radio or online news sites remains the third most trusted source of information, with a trust score of 51 per cent.

Arresting the decline

For organizations, the top three trust builders are creating jobs/investing in local communities (73 per cent), leadership that is accessible and openly communicates (70 per cent), and standing for causes and values that a person believes in (69 per cent). For leaders, Canadians rank honesty (73 per cent), integrity (61 per cent) and transparency (43 per cent) as the three most important traits that drive trust.

About the Proof Inc. CanTrust Index

The Proof Inc. CanTrust Index is an annual study of trust levels of Canadians and the features that make up Canada. We study and analyze topics, events and population segments unique to Canada – Quebec residents, newcomers to Canada, seniors, political party supporters and where people reside (large city versus small town). The 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index, based upon an annual online survey of a sample of 1,543 Canadians 18+ years of age, was conducted February 7 – 24, 2019. It is nationally representative by region, age and gender. For more information, visit CanTrustIndex.ca.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: