The year in review—18th Annual Report on Government of Canada Public Opinion Research Activities
In the 2018 to 2019 fiscal year, 147 public opinion research (POR) projects were contracted at a total cost of $15.3 million. This includes syndicated research studies shared among departmentsFootnote 1.
The benefits of public opinion research explain its usage. This research helps open up discussion on important issues and gives Canadians the opportunity to add their input. The information is used to measure the effectiveness of programs, assess service delivery performance, and guide the development of policies or communications strategies. It is all part of the larger effort to strengthen existing services and to deliver on the government’s agenda.
The government has taken measures to support equality and growth in Canada, to build an innovative economy and to advance Canadians’ shared values. Here are a few examples of public opinion research projects undertaken by the government in 2018 to 2019 in support of these goals.
Helping Canadian businesses start-up, scale-up and export
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) conducted research for an advertising campaign to increase awareness of the programs and services that support Canadian businesses looking to start-up, scale-up and export. The campaign was designed to drive small and medium-business owners and entrepreneurs to Innovation.Canada.ca where they can access information on programs and services targeted to their situation.
In addition, the study was designed to help ISED improve the effectiveness of its communications, marketing and outreach efforts in support of mandate to help businesses innovate, thrive and continue to contribute to the success of the Canadian economy.
Reference: Advertising Campaign Innovation for Success (registration number: POR 086-18)
Improving services at the Canada Revenue Agency
Canada Revenue Agency tested new versions of the Canada Child Benefit application forms which were designed to be easier to understand and complete. The Agency also engaged in client-centred service design in examining enhancements to its digital services, and meet taxpayers’ expectations of its call centre services.
References: Canada Child Benefit Application Form Testing (registration number: POR 036-18), Digital Services Modernization Study (registration number: POR 039-18) and Canada Revenue Agency Call Centre Service Expectations (registration number: POR 009-18)
Exploring challenges to access post-secondary education
To assist policy development aimed at supporting access to post-secondary education, Employment and Social Development Canada held focus group discussions with 16 to 25 year old Canadians. This study identified barriers to inform strategies to provide more equitable access to education opportunities.
Reference: Exploring Challenges to Accessing Post-Secondary Education for At-Risk Youth (registration number: POR 062-18)
Providing guidance on privacy-related issues
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, given its mandate, needed to understand the extent to which Canadians are aware of and understand their privacy rights and issues. The survey focused on knowledge and concerns related to privacy and opinions on issues related to privacy and personal information management. The survey also examined privacy issues in 4 priority areas. These included: the economics of personal information; government surveillance; reputation and privacy, and the body as information (that is data collected by facial or voice recognition software, genetic results from ancestral research, etc.).
Reference: 2018 Survey of Canadians on Privacy (registration number: POR 055-18)
Addressing the opioid crisis and preparing for the legalization and regulation of cannabis
Health Canada conducted research in support of 2 key Government of Canada priorities: responding to the opioid crisis and the legalization and regulation of cannabis use in Canada.
Opioid campaign creative concepts were pre-tested to determine if they were credible, relevant, memorable, utilized the right tone, and motivated the audience to take personal action. Following the campaign, a separate study evaluated which specific campaign elements the audiences recalled and what attitudinal changes resulted.
The 2018 Canadian Cannabis Survey collected information on cannabis knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among those who use and do not use cannabis. This follow-up survey built on a 2017 baseline survey so that year-to-year changes could be monitored and thus provide insight into the impact of cannabis legalization and regulation in Canada. The 2019 Canadian Cannabis Survey is ongoing.
References: Focus Testing of Opioids Public Education Campaign on Stigma (registration number: POR 034-18), Pre- and Post-Opioid Campaign Evaluation (registration number: POR 045-18) and The Canadian Cannabis Survey 2018 (registration number: POR 006-18)
Did you know
A small sample of things we learned through listening to Canadians this year.
Consultation on Canada’s large telecommunications carriers’ sales practices
Canadians experienced these practices from telecommunications providers:
- 55% experienced salespeople pushing telecommunications products or services they were not interested in
- 32% experienced rebate/discount offers where terms differ from the original information provided
- 31% experienced salespeople providing details of telecommunications products or services which end up being false
Reference: Consultation on Canada’s Large Telecommunications Carriers’ Sales Practices (registration number: POR 028-18)
Perceptions of health risk behaviours
Perception of risk when each of the following activities are done on a regular basis:
- 95% smoke tobacco
- 82% use e-cigarettes with nicotine
- 78% drink alcohol
- 72% smoke cannabis
Respondents chose their answers from a progressive scale of responses: no risk, slight risk, moderate risk, and great risk. This bar graph shows the percentage of respondents who chose either “moderate risk” or “great risk” responses. Smoking tobacco is seen as the riskiest behaviour.
Reference: The Canadian Cannabis Survey 2018 (registration number: POR 006-18)
Opinions on the ability to drive a vehicle under the influence of cannabis
Opinions on whether cannabis use impairs one’s ability to drive or operate a vehicle
“Yes” responses from those who used cannabis in the past 12 months and those who did not, broken down by age group:
People who did not use cannabis:
- 16 to 19 years old: 85%
- 20 to 24 years old: 82%
- 25 years and older: 87%
People who did use cannabis:
- 16 to 19 years old: 57%
- 20 to 24 years old: 54%
- 25 years and older: 63%
Those who do not use cannabis are more likely to think that cannabis use impairs one’s ability to drive.
Reference: The Canadian Cannabis Survey 2018 (registration number: POR 006-18)
Views on autonomous transportation
Canadians’ awareness of and confidence in automated vehicles
Transport Canada undertook a survey to better understand Canadians’ awareness and confidence in automated vehicles.
- 16 to 34 years old: 48%
- 35 to 54 years old: 39%
- 55 years old and older: 29%
Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with the following statement: “I would be comfortable riding in a fully automated vehicle.” This data shows the ‘strongly agree’ and ‘somewhat agree’ answers combined, compared amongst different age groups. Those aged 16 to 34 years old reported being the most comfortable.
Reference: Canadians’ Awareness of and Confidence in Automated Vehicles (registration number: POR 073-18)
Project details are listed in Appendix II: List of custom research studies by department of this report. Final reports for all completed research studies can be found on the Library and Archives Canada website.
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