New report examines Canadian democratic attitudes in a pandemic

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Happening Now Wednesday, October 28, 2020 View Count = 933

New report examines Canadian democratic attitudes in a pandemic

Times of emergency put unique strain on democracies. They can erode trust and shatter social cohesion, or they can actually bring citizens together.

At the Samara Centre for Democracy, we have been monitoring how Canada’s democratic institutions have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about Canadians them­selves?

In our new report, Temperature Check: Canadian democratic attitudes in a pandemic, we examine how the crisis has altered Canadians’ views toward their democratic system, public institutions, political leaders, and fellow citizens, using data from the Consortium on Electoral Democracy.


Drawing on national public opinion surveys from 2019 and 2020, the data show a clear and consistent shift:

  • Canadians’ satisfaction with democracy reached new highs;
  • Canadians gained more trust in government, and in one another; and
  • Canadians became somewhat less cynical about political leaders, less nostalgic for the past, and considerably less likely to express populist sentiments.

While governments in other countries have also experienced increases in trust and satisfaction during the pandemic, comparative data show that this trend has been particularly strong in Canada.

But despite these positive changes in public attitudes, Canadians were no more likely to feel that they have a say in what governments do.

The report concludes by calling on political leaders to trust Canadians in return, and to give them a greater role in designing the post-pandemic society.

Explore our complete findings and recommendations at

Help us amplify this research by sharing Temperature Check on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks!

blue-10.png  Watch the virtual launch of Whipped

Do political parties give Canadian parliamentarians enough freedom to do their jobs? Last week, we were pleased to present the exclusive launch of award-winning author Alex Marland’s new book, Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada. Former Member of Parliament Megan Leslie joined Alex to discuss Whipped and to answer questions from our audience. Didn’t get a chance to tune in? Watch the full recording on YouTube or Facebook.


blue-10.png  Join the democracy team at Ryerson University

Are you passionate about building a vibrant and inclusive democracy? Do you have exacting attention to detail, and experience organizing events and implementing creative communication campaigns? Our friends at the Democratic Engagement Exchange are hiring a Research Assistant/Project Coordinator to work remotely on contract. Applications are due by November 6th. Find the job description and application details here.

blue-10.png  Support the Samara Centre for Democracy

This has been a challenging year for small charities like the Samara Centre, but our mission is as important as ever. There is great uncertainty about how the pandemic and events south of the border will shape the future of democracy worldwide. If you value the kind of democracy-boosting research and programming highlighted here, please consider supporting our work by donating today. (Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $25.)

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