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A Better Canada

 Findings from a research report on an August 2020 survey by the Environics Institute for Survey Research and the Vancity.  

The level of optimism varies noticeably by age group. On most issues, both younger and older Canadians are more likely to say the country will make real progress over the next decade, while middle-aged Canadians are less likely to hold this view. 

Canadians are much more optimistic than pessimistic about the role of new technologies in addressing disease, as well as climate change. In the case of the impact of technology on unemployment, however, opinions are more divided and lean toward pessimism.

"Canadians are also much more optimistic than pessimistic about the role of new technologies is addressing climate change; 55 percent think that new technologies will one day provide solutions to climate change, compared to only 10 percent who think new technologies will make the problem worse (34% adopt a neutral position or do not offer an opinion)."

"Opinions on whether citizens, working together, could change their government’s mind vary in some ways across the population. The most significant difference is by age group. Younger Canadians are much more optimistic about the power of citizens, while those in the middle-aged group, rather than older Canadians, are most pessimistic. Thus, 69 percent of those age 18 to 24 think that citizens can get the government decision changed, compared to only 43 percent of those age 35 to 44 – but 58 percent of those age 55 and older also take the more optimistic view."

Immigrants are also more optimistic about the prospect of influencing government than are non-immigrants, but the main difference is between recent immigrants and all other groups. Four in five (81%) recent immigrants say that citizens working together could get the government decision changed, compared to 56 percent of established immigrants, 55 percent of second-generation Canadians and 53 percent of those who are third generation-plus. R

Christine Bergeron, Interim President and CEO, Vancity:

“The past year has been fraught with political, environmental, and social change. And in a climate where many may have felt despair, many envision a brighter future. The public’s unyielding desire for a better society is evident in this research and it’s up to governments and businesses to build the kind of society Canadians want, one that is greener and more just.”

Michael Adams, founder and president, Environics Institute for Survey Research:

“Our survey shows that a majority of Canadians are optimistic about making progress on racism and discrimination, but fewer say it’s likely that the country will make real progress in addressing the standard of living of Indigenous Peoples, or economic inequality, over the next decade. The economic recovery, when it comes, will be an opportunity to address these long-standing challenges, and give Canadians more reasons to be hopeful.”

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